12 Best Beaches & Sand Play Areas in Indianapolis

12 Best Beaches & Sand Play Areas in Indianapolis

Growing up so close to Lake Michigan, I definitely took for granted the beautiful beaches and being able to play in the sand almost daily in the summertime. Now that I have little ones in Indy, I’m always looking for beaches and sand play areas for them in between vacations! They just love playing with sand and could do it for hours on end. Sometimes, no beach is needed! Just a pit with sand, buckets, and shovels!

Play in Sand in Indianapolis

12 Best Beaches & Sand Play Areas

There are many great places in Indy where you can play in the sand, whether on a beach or in a sandbox. Here are the 12 best beaches, parks, museums, and destinations with sand play areas in and around Indianapolis where your little ones can dig and pour to their heart’s desire.

two babies are sitting in a sandbox. one is wearing a sun hat and holding a bucket and blue shovel.

Beaches In & Near Indianapolis

Morse Beach

19777 Morse Park Lane, Noblesville
Located on Morse Reservoir in Noblesville, Morse Beach is the perfect destination for a beach day. The large sandy beach will provide for hours of sandcastle-building fun. The water is swimmable with a large roped-off area on the lake. There are restrooms and a playground at the entrance to the beach. There is even a dock if you’re arriving via boat! Morse Beach is open on weekends from Noon to 6:00 p.m. The admission fee is $6 for those 2 and older.

Saxony Beach

13358 Pennington Road, Fishers
Saxony Beach is a unique place to visit if you love a sandy beach and non-motorized water sports. The small 20-acre lake in Fishers has a 300-foot beach. It is surrounded by apartment buildings and Saxony Hall, a rentable event hall overlooking the beach. Edge Adventures rents kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and canoes right on the beach (next to the port-a-potty bathrooms). You can even try out the inflatable obstacle course in the water! Saxony Beach is open daily from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m in the summer. Admission is free for Fishers residents and $7 for non-residents.

4 boys play in the Sand on a beach next to the water. in the middle of the lake is an inflatable obstacle course and behind that on the other side of the lake is a hospital building. there are also kayakers in the lake.

Eagle Creek Park Beach

7602 Eagle Beach Drive, Indianapolis
Beautiful Eagle Creek Reservoir also has a beach! Eagle Creek Park Beach offers a small sandy beach and a large, tree-filled shady area. The swimming area includes an enclosed portion of the water’s edge up to 5 feet deep. There’s even a separate, closed-off children’s swimming area that goes up to 3 feet in depth. For those hot summer days, the concession stand is a favorite stop. The concessions structure offers kayak and bike rentals and has free US Coast Guard-approved life vests for families to borrow. Don’t forget to play at the playground while you dry off! Entrance to Eagle Creek Park is $6 per vehicle ($7 non-Marion County resident).

Geist Waterfront Park

10811 Olio Road, Fishers
This 70-acre waterfront property is located in Fishers, east of Olio Road, on the south side of the Geist bridge. The sand isn’t Florida quality, but it is finer and softer than the sand found at Saxony Beach in Fishers and the beach area is about three times larger. Shelling is easy here as we were able to find some really amazing shells while casually walking the beach. There is a unique beachside playscape, where hours of fun in the sand can take place. An outdoor shower feature is close by and is available for rinsing off post-playtime. The beach has a lifeguard stand and the swimming and boating areas will be separated by buoys. Though free for Fishers residents, out-of-town visitors to Geist Waterfront Park will pay $25 per car from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

there is a large sandy beach next to a lake. there is giant connect four in the foreground and in the background behind the lake are trees.

White River at the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple

820 East 67th Street, Indianapolis
At the intersection of the White River and the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple, you will find a bridge that overlooks the river. On either side of the bridge, you can wander all the way down to the river to throw rocks, stomp around in the water, and play with the sand and rocks. If you park near the Indianapolis Art Center, you can walk right down to the river or you can cross the bridge to hike down through the woods. My kids love grabbing the sand and letting it fall through their fingers as the water washes it away. As a bonus, there are also a lot of shells they can collect if they’re into that! Afterward, grab a bite to eat in downtown Broad Ripple!

Parks with Sand Play Areas

Founders Park

11675 Hazel Dell Parkway, Carmel
Founders Park on the east side of Carmel has a great sand play area right in the middle of their playground. It goes from one end of the park to the other with plenty of space to spread out. There are shaded areas of the sand pit which is nice for little ones. There are swings and climbing structures in the playground as well so kids can go back and forth between the playground and sand pit. In addition to the park, there are walking trails, sports fields, picnic table shelters, restrooms, and a shower station to wash off the sand before getting into your car! Founders Park is open from dawn to dusk.

a child is buried in sand up to his head by another child holding a large plastic shovel

Don Challis Park

1100 South 9th Avenue, Beech Grove
Located in Beech Grove, Don Challis Park is a 14-acre park facility. It features a playground, sand volleyball court, picnic tables, a shelter, restrooms, and an open lawn area. Kids love playing in the big open sandbox. Bring buckets, shovels, funnels, and sifters for hours of sand play! Don Challis Park is open from dawn to dusk.

Coxhall Gardens

11677 Towne Road, Carmel
Beautiful Coxhall Gardens in West Carmel is home to walking trails, a fishing pond, an amphitheater, an event center, and a children’s play area. In addition to a mini children’s village and natural playground, there is a large sand play area. Kids love kicking off their shoes and digging in the sand, building castles and moats. There is a restroom and parking adjacent to the children’s play area. Coxhall Gardens is open from dawn to dusk.

two little boys play in a large Sand Play area. there is a creek that they made filled with water.

Destinations with Sand Play Areas

Conner Prairie

13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers
There are so many things to do at Conner Prairie in Fishers! One activity my kids are always drawn to is the sand play area at the treehouse. After exploring the inside of the giant tree, kids love digging up treasures in the sandboxes. They have tools to use and hidden objects for kids to dig up and bury again. On a very hot summer day, you’ll appreciate the tree cover and shade over the sand play area. Conner Prairie hours vary by the season. Summer hours are Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door or reserve online to save $2 per ticket.

Fishers AgriPark

11171 Florida Road, Fortville
Fishers AgriPark is a new 33-acre urban farm featuring public fields and gardens, animal encounters, and a children’s nature play area. The children’s area has a mud kitchen where kids can get imaginative and messy! There is also a giant sandbox with a tire climbing structure in the middle of it. Get your hands dirty at the mud kitchen then put your toes in the sand. Hours vary and they may close unexpectedly due to weather, but generally speaking, they are open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00 a.m – 2:00 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Fishers AgriPark is free to visit and you can take home any seasonal vegetables from the garden for free as well!

at fishers Agripark there is a large Sand Play area. in the foreground are mud kitchens with three sink stations. in the background there are tires to climb on and to jump from one to another.

Indoor Sand Play Areas

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis
On the second floor of The Children’s Museum in downtown Indianapolis is Playscape, a special exhibit just for preschoolers aged 5 and under. A popular experience within Playscape are the sand tables. There are two long tables set at different heights with chairs, scoops, shovels, spinning tables to pour sand on, and fossils to uncover with brushes. This is a great place to play with sand in an air-conditioned space with family bathrooms, changing tables, and nursing rooms just a few feet away. The Indianapolis Children’s Museum is open every day in the spring and summer and closed on Mondays in the fall and winter. Hours are 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door or you can save up to 25% by buying tickets in advance.

Dig Dig for Kids Fishers

12800 Ford Drive, Fishers
Dig Dig for Kids is a giant indoor sandbox in Fishers. It’s Indiana’s largest indoor sandbox, complete with sit-on diggers, construction vehicles, shovels, and other toys. This indoor play place is a wonderful activity for younger kids and operates on a fee-based model for children only. The sandbox is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Sundays are reserved for private parties and birthday parties.

at an indoor Sand box there is a very large Play area filled with Sand, dump trucks, construction vehicles, and other toys. children are playing in the sand. there is seating on the side and a large digger mural on the wall.

Sand Play Essentials

When heading out for sand play, I always prepare by packing extra clothes to change into, a towel to dry off or wipe sand off with, and sand toys such as cups, buckets, shovels, funnels, toy trucks, and sifters. If you’re going to the beach, bring towels and chairs or a blanket to sit on. Sun hats are great and sunscreen should be applied and reapplied if you’ll be out in the sun. Bring a few extra plastic bags for wet clothes and wet toys. Wet wipes are a good idea to wipe off any sand that might get on the kids’ faces and hand sanitizer is a must after touching all of the sand and toys.

Other Ways to Play with Sand

If you are unable to travel to a beach or sandbox, there are options for sand play at home. You can purchase a small sandbox and fill it with sand purchased by the bag from Lowe’s. It doesn’t have to be filled with sand, though. Feel free to fill your sandbox with grains of rice or kinetic sand. Even if you just have a small container, they can run their monster trucks through and make tracks with the tires.

two children play in a sandbox. one is on a sitting digger and the other is on the ground with a red bucket.

Sand is an excellent sensory material for young children to explore. Whether on the beach or in a sandbox, be prepared to stay for a while as your kids create and experiment with sand play!

What are your favorite beaches and sand play areas in Indianapolis? Share your comments and pictures with us below or tag us on social media using #PLAYindy. Follow Indy with Kids on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest for all of the best ideas and things to do with kids in Indy!

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  1. Pingback: Sandbox Play Areas for Kids | Indianapolis Parks and the Suburbs

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