Indiana is home to a variety of small towns, each with its own charm, but only one of those can now boast the title of "Best Hidden Gem Destination."

Growing up in southwest Indiana, I've got to experience a lot of what the Hoosier State has to offer. Whether it was attending local festivals, visiting museums, or even kayaking along the Patoka River, there was certainly a lot of fun to soak up year-round. The same is still true today; only now I'm old enough to enjoy and appreciate much more of it. The best part is that a lot of the things I enjoy don't require a trip to another big city or state. In fact, one small Hoosier town is now considered a "hidden gem" destination.

Cheapism recently broke down the best hidden gems by state, and when it comes to Indiana, I think their choice is spot on. This small Indiana town has a population of just 2,600 people but is home to an assortment of attractions with fun on tap for all ages. So, without further delay, I'll tell you that the best hidden gem in the entire state of Indiana is none other than Santa Claus, Indiana.

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Spencer County Visitors Bureau /
Spencer County Visitors Bureau /

Santa Claus, located in Spencer County, Indiana, is not only home to the famous Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari but also Santa's Candy Castle, which was dedicated in 1935. The vintage-looking castle houses a large selection of old-fashioned candy, hand-made confections, 35 flavors of cocoa, frozen hot chocolate, and more. Santa Claus is also near the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and the Lincoln Pioneer Village and Museum. If you like history, both are must-sees. Additionally, this small town is in the same county as Lincoln State Park, which offers 10 miles of hiking trails, scenic lake views, and an interpretive center.

If you haven't ever experienced any of the above attractions firsthand, I highly recommend you give them a go. But if those aren't enough, you can catch a flick at the Holiday Drive-In Theatre or play some golf at the Christmas Lake Golf Club and the Rustic Golf Course. Plan to top off your visit with a photo in front of the Santa Claus post office with the big guy himself. Learn more about Santa Claus, Indiana, here.

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