Multimodal optimization amounts to finding multiple global and local optima (as opposed to a single solution) of a function, so that the user can have a better knowledge about different optimal solutions in the search space and when needed, the current solution may be switched to a more suitable one while still maintaining the optimal system performance. Niching particle swarm optimizers (PSOs) have been widely used by the evolutionary computation community for solving real-parameter multimodal optimization problems. However, most of the existing PSO-based niching algorithms are difficult to use in practice because of their poor local search ability and requirement of prior knowledge to specify certain niching parameters. This paper has addressed these issues by proposing a distance-based locally informed particle swarm (LIPS) optimizer, which eliminates the need to specify any niching parameter and enhance the fine search ability of PSO. Instead of using the global best particle, LIPS uses several local bests to guide the search of each particle. LIPS can operate as a stable niching algorithm by using the information provided by its neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are estimated in terms of Euclidean distance. The algorithm is compared with a number of state-of-the-art evolutionary multimodal optimizers on 30 commonly used multimodal benchmark functions. The experimental results suggest that the proposed technique is able to provide statistically superior and more consistent performance over the existing niching algorithms on the test functions, without incurring any severe computational burdens.