Known as the “Racing Capital of the World,” Indiana is full of extraordinary beauty that you won’t find in other states! From the sands of the Dunes to the Caves of Hoosier National Forest, there are plenty of places to visit that will surely provide a new appreciation for the unique allure of the state. Following are some of the coolest natural wonders near Syracuse that you should drive to, from fossil beds, canyons, and caves to waterfalls and wildlife:

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Less than a two hours’ drive from Syracuse in Chesterton, Indiana is a rare gem along the shores of Lake Michigan. Stretching 15 miles along the lake is the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and National Park, which make up arguably one of the most gorgeous areas in the entire state. If you’ve never been to visit, you owe it to yourself to make the short trip to one of the most breathtaking Indiana experiences of all time. Many Indiana birding trail enthusiasts come to the area for the trails along the dunes and forests, not to mention the Nature Center, which has an area to view hundreds of wild birds outdoors from the comfort of the indoors.

Cataract Falls

If you’re looking for a bit of a longer road trip, head southwest of Indianapolis to Cataract Falls. About a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Syracuse, the Upper Cataract Falls area is located in Owen County. It’s just one of the many gems of southern Indiana. By volume, this is the largest of many waterfalls throughout the state.

The Seven Pillars of Peru

Just an hour and a half south of Syracuse, you’ll find the Seven Pillars of Peru. Also commonly known as “The Cliffs” locally, this historical landmark is located along the Mississinewa River in Peru. Made of limestone that was eroded by wind and water, the natural features here were once considered to be holy ground by the Miami Indians. When you visit Indiana, be sure to not miss the Pillars.

Williamsport Falls

Just a bit southwest of Lafayette is Williamsport, home to Williamsport Falls. The waterfall here is less than a three-hour-drive from Syracuse and is more than 90 feet tall, making it the highest free-falling waterfall in the Hoosier State. It’s easily viewed by car or on foot, and you can park close to the falls, too.

Jug Rock

Jug Rock is a neat little wonder in Indiana that is 60 feet tall; it’s one of the most unique free-standing rock formations in the entire United States. It’s hundreds of millions of years old! Located in Shoals, Indiana, Jug Rock is perfect for those who are looking to make it part of a longer road trip. It’s in the northern part of Hoosier National Forest, north of French Lick and about 5 hours’ drive from Syracuse.

While these are just five natural wonders in Indiana you can visit, there are literally hundreds of excellent places in the state that are unique and beautiful. You may want to make an entire road trip around the state to visit many of them – all kinds of natural elements can be found in every county of the state! Additional wonders you may want to visit include the Quilt Gardens in Elkhart County, Falls of the Ohio State Park, Marengo Cave, Garfield Park Sunken Gardens in Indianapolis, Salamonie River State Forest in Lagro, Indiana, and Mounds State Park.