Top 13 Things to Do (& EAT!) in Elkhart, IN

 Top 13 Things to Do (& EAT!) in Elkhart, IN

From unique eateries to the nation’s best flea market, there are so many great things to do in the RV Capital of the World – Elkhart, IN!

We visit Elkhart, IN a lot. That's where most of the RVs sold in North America are built. Most of the major RV suppliers are also located there.

And we're not alone. Thousands of everyday RVers also visit there, to tour the RV factories, attend many of the RV-related shows and exhibitions that happen there, and to get repair and warranty work done on their rigs.

So when you find yourself there and are looking for things to do in Elkhart, check out our list of places to visit and places to eat.

From gorgeous gardens to diners featured on a famous TV show, Elkhart has something for everyone. 

For starters, check out the video below on Michiana, the area that includes Elkhart. We show you where to camp and visit a couple of our favorite places. Then keep scrolling down in this article to see our list;

Here's the Top 13 things to see, do, and EAT in Elkhart!

Things to Do in Elkhart

1. DeFries Gardens: New Paris

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Elkhart County Parks (@elkhartcountyparks)

Discover and explore 13-acres of native plant and ornamental flora collections!

Nestled within the River Preserve County Park, this gorgeous garden reminds us of our connection to the environment. That is why I included it on my list of top things to do in Elkhart! 

This site was once a private homestead, complete with an 1880s Victorian-era home surrounded by woodland plants and perennial gardens. 

The garden goes by the four-season Calendar Garden, featuring several gardens throughout the year. The one-acre showpiece is a large circular garden and features a flowering calendar.

2. Shipshewana Flea Market

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Visit Shipshewana (@visitshipshewana)

Check out Shipshewana Flea Market, one of the truly unique things to do in Elkhart. 

Named one of the best flea markets in the country, Shipshewana Flea Market features over 700 vendors!

They bring their best art, home decor, fresh produce, antiques, landscaping, furniture, purses, jewelry, crafts and so much more! 

Or, come see the thrilling live antique auction with 6-10 auctioneers selling simultaneously. This is featured every Wednesday, year-round. 

There are also weekly livestock and horse auctions to help add to the excitement. Go check them out!

3. Davis Mercantile: Shipshewana

Davis Mercantile houses four floors, with 21 stores, to meet all your shopping, eating and relaxation needs!

Originally built as a hotel in 1891 by Hezekiah Davis, the complex accommodated those traveling through town. Its location near the train station served them well!

Check out their wide range of shops, from fabric stores to eateries. If puzzles or furniture is more up your alley, you can find it there! They even have a carousel to entertain the kids. 

4. Organized Obie: Elkhart 

Elkhart is the home base of one of RV Lifestyle's valued partners, Organized Obie. They're the ones who turned us on to visiting Elkhart and provided many of these great suggestions. 

So, while in Elkhart, check out the Organized Obie website… it's a one-of-a-kind shop selling everything you need to organize any space. You can find unique items to help you organize your RV, boat, home, garage, warehouse, and cargo trailer!

(With limited space in my RV, I can always use an organizational helping hand!)

We are such fans we created a whole video all about them — check it out! If you use the promo code RVLIFESTYLE they'll give you 5% off the cost of your order.

5. RV Hall of Fame Museum: Elkhart 

Did you know that there is an RV hall of fame? There is! It was built to preserve and honor the history of RVs. And it is number five on my list of things to do in Elkhart. 

The museum features exhibits to showcase the pioneers of the RV world. The individuals that made significant contributions to both the RV and manufactured housing industries. 

You can also find displays in the RV Founders Hall that showcase photos, trailers and other memorabilia reaching back to the 1920s. The museum is organized chronologically, presenting advancements in technology in the industry from before WWII to present day. 

Enjoy a video we did while visiting Elkhart. President Darryl Searer gives us a tour of all these wonderfully restored, historical, and luxury RV models. Would you believe, RVs are over 100 years old?

RV Lifestyle Gear

rv lifestyle clothing

What better way to visit the RV Hall of Fame than showing off RV lifestyle gear? Check out our Boondocker, Rule 330, Small House Big Yard, and other great clothing collections.

6. Pumpkinvine Nature Trail: Goshen Hiking and Nature Trail

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Elkhart County Parks (@elkhartcountyparks)


Located on the former Pumpkinvine railroad corridor, this 16-mile trail is a linear park and greenway. This is one of the best things to do in Elkhart for fitness lovers! 

The trail features both asphalt and packed limestone surfaces. That makes it suitable for narrow-tired bicycles. Walkers, runners, and rollerbladers also enjoy the trail as they move through small towns, urban areas, and agricultural communities.

Places to Eat in Elkhart

7. Simonton Lake Drive In: Elkhart Old Fashioned Root Beer Drive-In 

Check out one of the coolest venues in town! This 1950s throwback features delicious homemade root beer, friendly carhops, and yummy diner food. 

Check them out on one of their specialty nights. They have a Bike Cruise-In, Import Car Night. Classic Car Cruise-In, and 4×4 Cruise-In. Go see what the fun and food is all about! 

8. Nelson’s Golden Glow 

For more than 50 years, Nelson’s has been known for its unique and delicious barbecue! They cater large corporate events, social gatherings, weddings, and fundraisers. 

9. The Chief Ice Cream: Goshen 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by The Chief (@the_chief_ice_cream)

What is Better than hand-dipped ice cream? Premium, homemade, hand-dipped ice cream!

The Chief began as a little ice cream shop in 1962. Over time, it has grown into a community favorite where friends and family gather to enjoy a sweet treat. 

This sweet shop is locally and nationally recognized, being ranked by Thrillist as one of the Top 31 ice cream shops in the nation! That is why I was sure to include it on my list of things to do in Elkhart.

10. Rise and Roll Donuts: Elkhart 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Mike & Jen's RV Lifestyle 🚘 (@rvlifestylemike)

Known to the locals as “Amish crack,” this bakery offers more than just donuts. Baked goods, candies, and Amish products are all offered at this beloved bakery.

Eating a sweet treat from this local favorite is definitely one of the best things to do in Elkhart!

They are especially known for their preservative-free wholesome treats. But it's their famous Cinnamon Caramel Donut that has earned their local “Amish crack” title. Some even call it “addicting!”

11. Das Dutchman Essenhaus and Bakery: Middlebury 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Das Dutchman Essenhaus (@dasdutchmanessenhaus)

Built by Bob and Sue Miller, the Essenhaus is more than a dining establishment. It is a story of “growth, commitment, and genuine hospitality!”

Their restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then stop by the bakery for a sweet treat. (They even offer a gluten-free menu!) And if you see a Raspberry Cream pie… get it. You'll thank me later!

The property also houses an inn, theater, shops, and other activities. 

12. Olympia Candy Kitchen: Goshen 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Olympia Candy Kitchen (@olympiacandy)


Take a stroll to the “sweetest little place in town!” Olympia Candy Kitchen offers an authentic diner experience, as well as sweet treats to please any confection connoisseur.

From handmade caramel apples to delectable charlie chaplins, every candy lover will be able to find something to love. Then enjoy a BLT for lunch, served by their friendly waitstaff. 

13. South Side Soda Shop: Goshen 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by South Side Soda Shop (@thesodashop)

As seen on Food Network Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, this family-run restaurant is a retro diner with a modern twist!

Originally built in the early 1900s, and now owned and operated by the Boyd family, this restaurant makes comfort food with a modern twist. 

Check out their chili “sundae” or spinach salad with an upscale twist. They also offer catering and dessert buffets.

Check them out, but be sure to come hungry! 

7 Day RV Adventure Guide Bundle

Top 13 Things to Do (& EAT!) in Elkhart, IN 2

Get 9 RV adventure guides at one great price! Each guide is packed with suggested itineraries, things to do, places to stay, and much more.

The bundle includes 7-day adventure guides to Yellowstone, Adirondack Park & Finger Lakes, Southern Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Michigan's UP, Florida's Gulf Coast, Florida's Atlantic Coast, and the Florida Keys. Save on My RV Adventure Guide Bundle

Need a FREE RV Packing List?

How many times have you arrived at your destination to realize that you forgot to bring something?

So frustrating - right?

That's why we put together a special RV packing list for you!

Subscribe to become an RV LIFESTYLE INSIDER and we’ll send you an instant download of our packing list. Save it to your computer, print it out and use it for every trip.

First thing every Monday morning you’ll get the latest RV News, bucket list trip ideas, tech tips, DIY projects, and RV videos, and more.

And you'll get our popular DAILY RV Lifestyle updates with the latest post from our (award-winning) podcast and blog!



Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

5 Comments

  • When you travel near Paducah Ky. stop at the Quilt Museum. And check out their flood wall paintings.

  • Amish and Mennonite museum and visitor center is a must in Shipshewana.

  • I signed up in the past, but lost my packing list. Can you send it again? Thanks

  • I would like a packing list, please.

  • […] Source link […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join the RV Lifestyle community!

Subscribe to the newsletter and get a free Packing List for your next trip + free perks, discounts and exclusive RV travel tips!



Join the RV Lifestyle community!

Subscribe to the newsletter and get a free Packing List for your next trip + free perks, discounts and exclusive RV travel tips!