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Things to Do In Elkhart, IN: RV Capital of the World!

Things to Do In Elkhart, IN: RV Capital of the World!

Elkhart, IN is often referred to as the “RV Capital of the World” and indeed it is that… and so much more. Elkhart, Indiana is a charming Midwestern city in northern Indiana with a rich cultural heritage and a wide range of activities to offer to its visitors.

Elkhart is nestled in the heart of Amish Country. This means that the area’s rich industrial history is blended with the extraordinary tranquility and beauty of the rural life of the Amish.

Whether you’re an avid RVer, a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just a traveler looking for an interesting place to visit, Elkhart has something for you.

We’re featuring enjoyable things to see and do in and around Elkhart County, a culturally and industrially rich region filled with surprises.

What’s There to Do In Elkhart, IN?

You may choose Elkhart as a travel destination for its deep connection to the RV world, but once you’re in the area, you may wish you’d planned to spend a little more time there. Let’s take a look at what there is to do in and around Elkhart, Indiana:

RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum

It’s only fitting that the “RV Capital of the World” is home to the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum. As the name implies, this attraction is dedicated to the area’s abundant history of the recreational vehicle and manufactured housing industries.

You can explore a fascinating collection of vintage RVs and memorabilia, and learn about the pioneers who shaped the RV industry. Some of the RVs in the museum are over 100 years old!

A 1974 GMC motorhome

As a visitor to the museum, you can tour vintage RVs like this 1974 GMC motorhome. (Photo credit: RV/MH Hall of Fame)

The museum is self-guided, but each unit has an information sheet. Videos in various places provide much additional history and information. Most of the RVs are open for touring, though some are blocked off due to their age, rarity, and/or fragility. You can also check out the RV Hall of Fame, honoring those who’ve contributed to the RVing world.

In 2022, the Scoular MH Museum officially opened on the grounds. This 21,000 sq. ft. facility offers a walk-through of the evolution of the manufactured housing industry.

There are RV sites with electricity on the property’s east side. You can camp there for $40 a night, with sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In addition, members of the Harvest Hosts program and other museum guests are also welcome to boondock for 1-2 nights at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum. Dump stations are available for a fee. If you’re interested in staying for more than two nights, they ask that you contact the museum’s front desk for more information.

Explore Amish Culture

Because Elkhart is located in the heart of Amish Country, you can immerse yourself in the unique culture and traditions of the Amish community.

You can take a guided tour of the countryside, visit Amish farms, and learn about their way of life. You can also purchase handmade crafts and homemade treats.

An Amish horse & buggy

The horse & buggy is a common sight around the Elkhart area, indicating the presence of Amish culture. (Photo source: Elkhart County CVB)

Unfortunately, after 50 years of providing insight into Amish culture, “Amish Acres” (also known as “Amish Acres Historic Farm & Heritage Resort”) closed and sold at auction in 2020. But the beautiful Amish buildings remain on the property, and the business has been rebranded as “The Barns at Nappanee.”

Roughly 16 miles from Elkhart in the city of Nappanee, Indiana, The Barns at Nappanee is now home to a professional theatre, a 400-seat restaurant, shopping, live music, and various scheduled events.

Also in Nappanee, you’ll find the factory and service center of Newmar Motorhomes.

PRO TIP: If you’re visiting the Nappanee area and you like ice cream (who doesn’t?!), you must stop at Rocket Science Ice Cream. It’s really good (and believe us, we know ice cream). You can order one of their fantastic flavors, or design your own, and then watch them mix it up and create your personal ice cream, right in front of you, using liquid nitrogen.

That’s right – every bowl is made fresh to order! Check out one of our visits to Rocket Science Ice Cream:

Wellfield Botanic Gardens

Located in the heart of Elkhart at the north end of the Gateway Mile, Wellfield Botanic Gardens are beautifully landscaped, offering an escape from the hustle & bustle of the city. You can stroll through themed gardens to enjoy a variety of plant collections, water features, and sculptures.

You’ll need good footwear (it’s required for entry), and your entire visit will be outdoors, so dress for the weather. The Wellfield Botanic Gardens also hosts various events and educational programs throughout the year.

Ruthmere Mansion

The most prominent historic residence in Elkhart, IN, Ruthmere Mansion is a public museum, as is its neighbor on the same campus, the Dr. Havilah Beardsley House.

Built in 1910, Ruthmere Mansion is a historic building that also houses a world-class art collection and a performing arts venue.

A room in the Ruthmere Mansion

The interior of Ruthmere Mansion is filled with world-class art and opulent furnishings that’ll take you back in time as you explore its truly magnificent architecture. (Photo source: Ruthmere Mansion)

Visiting Ruthmere will take you back in time to explore its Beaux-Arts architecture. You can take a guided tour, and many cultural events occur throughout the year.

The Gateway Mile in Elkhart, IN

Located in the heart of downtown Elkhart, the Gateway Mile features everything from the Wellfield Botanical Gardens to beautiful parks and the scenic Elkhart Riverwalk. There are shops, restaurants, interesting architecture, and several events and festivals.

The Elkhart RiverWalk scenic trail follows the St. Joseph and Elkhart Rivers. The river walk offers beautiful views and plenty of wildlife. It’s a well-maintained trail that’s great for walking, jogging, and biking.

There are a number of parks along the walk where you can stop and have a picnic or just relax and take in the scenery.

Scene along the Gateway Mile in Elkhart, IN

A scene along the Gateway Mile in Elkhart, IN. It includes a number of parks with plenty of space to walk, run, or bike. (Photo credit: The Gateway Mile)

The parks within the Gateway Mile offer every kind of recreational opportunity imaginable, (depending on the season), including pools, playgrounds, a beach, a spray park, and sports fields & courts.

Midwest Museum of American Art

Also located in the center of downtown Elkhart, Indiana, the Midwest Museum of American Art is located in a renovated neo-classical style bank building.

The museum is a showcase of 19th through 21st-century American art. It houses a significant collection of hand-signed lithographs by Norman Rockwell (over 6,000 in all with 900 on display at any given time).

Linton’s Enchanted Gardens

Linton’s Enchanted Gardens is a family-owned garden center and so much more. In addition to the garden center that includes a gift shop and a charming cafe, Linton’s is actually a fun family destination with several attractions enjoyable to young and old alike.

A map of Linton's Garden Centre

Linton’s Garden Centre is so expansive, and there’s so much to do, that a map is required to get around. (Photo credit: Linton’s Garden Centre)

There’s the “Enchanted Express Train” that’ll take you on a tour through the garden center, Japanese Koi feeding, pedal go-karts (for adults and kids), a hand-pedal train for kids, gemstone mining, a kids’ tree house, a free petting zoo and bird aviary, a swan paddle boat, and more.

Is Elkhart, Indiana Worth Visiting?

Whether you’re interested in Elkhart, IN as the RV capital of the world or not, Elkhart is an interesting and fun place to visit.

There’s a mix of history and natural beauty, Amish culture, and plenty of things to see and do. Elkhart has something for everyone and is well worth visiting if you’re in the region or ready for a road trip.

And don’t forget the ice cream!

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Will B.

Sunday 24th of September 2023

For eating, we HIGHLY recommend "The Chubby Trout". Some excellent sushi, excellent beer selection and excellent service!

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