One of our close to home spots to explore in Bloomington is Car Top State Recreation Area (SRA) on Lake Monroe. This is our go-to spot for launching our kayaks and Karlie always enjoyed snooping and exploring the shore. This park is just what it sounds like – a place to launch boats that can be transported there on the top of or in the back of a vehicle. The boat launch is not accessible via vehicle so all boats must be carried from the parking lot to the water. This distance isn’t very far, making it a great place to launch. It also makes it a quiet place to launch a boat.
The shore is partly wooded with a short trail. Total walking distance along the shore and in the woods is about half a mile. Karlie always enjoyed it because you can get into the water, but also be in the woods. There is a small gravel parking lot that can accommodate 10 or more cars. We rarely encounter more than one or two other vehicles, but we generally go during the week and in the morning. It likely is busier on the weekends.
Karlie loved Car Top State Recreation Area. Not because it’s a great place to hike, but because she loved to kayak. For kayaking we rate Car Top 3.5 out of 4 paws up. The only downside is you can only kayak one direction from this launching spot. There are some inlets to explore, but it’s mostly the same trip each time. For hiking, it’s 2.5 paws up since you really can’t go that far. It was great when Karlie started to struggle and I wanted an easy hike. Sunny also thinks Car Top SRA is pretty fantastic. She’s learning to kayak and enjoys snooping around shore after being out on the boat.
How do I get there?
Car Top SRA is on Stipp Road in at the northern end of Lake Monroe. Follow Stipp Road until it bends and right in front of you is the park. The parking lot is just gravel on the side of the road. Park along the fence, but remember not to block the opening so others can enter. There is no restroom or trash cans at this area.