Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Travel Guide

  • springtime
    springtime
    by Toughluck
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Toughluck
  • Lake George (Hobart)
    Lake George (Hobart)
    by Toughluck

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Things to Do

  • Hiking - Portage Lakefront

    A new trail - mostly open and best on a sunny, but cooler day, i.e., 70 degree's F is the Portage Lakefront trail along the Burns Waterway. One half is through dune blowouts and the other is on a boardwalk along the Burns Waterway. It's a view of any boats going to and from the lake and the side of the Burns Harbor Steel Coating Plant of US Steel.

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  • West Beach (a family beach)

    Each beach along the Indiana coast line has a unique flavor. West Beach, with a picnic ground, bathhouse, vending machine, and beach assistants makes this a great place for families and many do visit. Busiet by mid-day, you'll find late afternoons and early evenings best if you want fewer people. You'll hear Spanish as well as English on this and...

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  • Miller Woods Trail

    The last stop of the day. This is a trail which gives you a few options - either you can do about a half mile loop, which cuts across a pond on a raised boardwalk, or you can circumnavigate the whole pond, tacking on another half mile. The trail was flat and easy to follow. We decided to cut it short, as we were running on empty, and I am satisfied...

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  • Inland Marsh Overlook

    I'm including this stop for posterity, as there isn't that much to do. There's a very small parking lot, adjacent to a short raised boardwalk, which ends on an overlook above the marsh area with a few placards describing the scene. You can take a walk through the marsh via the Inland Marsh Trail, which has a trailhead about a half mile east of...

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  • Kemil Beach

    Across the way from our stop at the Calumet Dune Trail, we decided this was the beach we would check out. The first thing to be aware of is that the only parking to speak of is a pretty decent sized lot, but it is about a quarter mile away from the entrance to the beach...so there is a small hike ahead of you (also note there are no sidewalks, and...

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  • Calumet Dune Trail

    This is a short (0.8 mile) hike that starts at the Calumet Dune Interpretive Center (the former Visitor Center of the park, now closed to the public.) Despite the name, the actual hike is through a serene wooded area. The trail itself is accessible - paved the whole way. Some areas are a little on the narrow side, which means you have to watch for...

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  • Heron Rookery

    Since the promise of a sunny April afternoon never quite materialized, we decided to take a hike on one of the shorter trails in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore just in case it started raining. We had a bit of an adventure getting there, the road to the Rookery was blocked off but a helpful Hoosier said not to worry, just go around the...

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  • Bailly Homestead & Chellberg Farm Trail

    We were a little early for the fall colors, some of the trees had begun to change into the glorious reds, yellows and oranges but most of the trees were still sporting green leaves thanks to the mild fall we've been having.The Bailly Homestead & Chellberg Farm Trail is an easy 2.1 mile trail that takes you by some restored historic buildings

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  • Hiking - Little Calumet River trail...

    The Little Cal (as it's locally called) trail is a great trail to walk several times a year. You can watch the seasons change. In the fall, the cool crisp air, is dry and the colors of the leaves are like a Monet painting. Winter brings cold biting air and a prelude to the spring mud. You can see through the forest and really see the bluffs and the...

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  • Hiking - Miller Woods Trail (1.5)

    The Miller Woods Trail takes you through the inter-dunal wetlands and the Black Oak Savanna that surround them.To really enjoy the trail, you'll have to take you time and learn to sit quietly. You'll hear the birds, see small creature scurry through the undergrowth. In spring, the wild flower can carpet the rolling hills. All with a background hum...

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  • Hiking - Dune Succession Trail Loop...

    The Dune Succession trail is a loop that runs from the parking lot through the dunes on the east to the beach and then back along the bathhouse road to the parking area. While short (0.9 miles - 1.5 km), it climbs to the top of the dunes along the route.The trail is unique in that it takes you through the changing dune environment. Beginning in the...

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  • Porter Beach - Where Indiana comes to...

    Porter Beach is located right next to the State Park Beach, but it's outside that park. The beach can be very crowded on summer afternoons. That's why, it's become a favorite for the evening.Park is located off Waverly Road (it's name changes in the last stretch to the beach, but there are few if any road signs). On the right is the overflow...

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Restaurants

  • Good place to eat in the east end

    Pleasant restaurant set along side US 20. It's convenient, pleasant and one of a few places in the east side of the lakeshore to get a meal. Any of the Pulled Pork meals/sandwiches

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  • Don't miss Chesterton & Porter for good...

    Don't miss the listings for these two towns. They are at the center of the National Lakeshores and provide a wide array of services. Some great places to look up include: Samples: Hooligan's in Chesterton,George's Gyros in ChestertonWagners in PorterLeRoy's Hot Stuff in PorterQuick links for more details Chesterton Restaurants Porter...

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  • Lot's of Choices

    Indian Boundary is the center of all services for the national lakeshore and the state park. You'll find Applebees', Thai, Family food (Lakeshore), Oriental (Jade Garden), fast food (McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Long Johns'), pizza (Pizza Hut, Gelsasomos), a bagel shop and others The Thai place is excellent and different than the others....

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Nightlife

  • Toughluck's Profile Photo
    Sunset over Lake Michigan 3 more images

    by Toughluck Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Are you looking for the perfect moonlit walk? Try the beach at Lakeview or Kemil Road (East State Park Road). At sundown, on a warm evening, you'll find many couples and some families walking through the 'surf' or sitting in the sand. The sun sets over the City of Chicago, but you'll not hear nor barely see any signs of the city.

    Dress Code: Swimsuits to formal attire can be seen here in the evenings. During prom season, young couples can be seen taking their 'formal' pictures here dress in their finest. Just down the beach will be a family swimming and splashing.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Family Travel

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Transportation

  • Dunes Relief Road (US 20)

    While US 12 (The Dunes Highway) is the scenic route from end to end, US 20 (Dunes Relief Road) is the quicker road and provides most of the services (gas, food). It touches the southern boundary of the park and provides easy access to all the main features of the park. From US 20, useGary1. Lake Street to reach the Douglas Center for Environmental...

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  • The Dunes Highway - Scenic Drive (US 12)

    The Lakeshore is traversed by several major highways. The most scenic is US 12, which runs from the west end of the park in downtown Gary to Michigan City in the east. It offers the widest variety of things to see. Along the drive, there is the commercial district of Miller in Gary, West Beach access, Inland Marsh overlook and trails, Long Lake...

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  • Interstates (I-94 and I-80/90)

    I-94 is the quickest way to get to the park. There are 2 interstates I-80/90 (Indiana Toll Road) and I-94. I-94 is closest to the park. Both have exits on Indiana 49, which leads directly north to the visitor center at the US 20 & IN 49 interchange, then north to the State Park and the National Lakeshore.

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Shopping

  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    by Toughluck Written Mar 9, 2007

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    Located in the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center is the Eastern National Parks Bookstore. Here you'll find books for all ages about the dunes. There are also games, hiking sticks, patches and other mementos of your visit to the dunes.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Warnings and Dangers

  • Poopy Water (ecoli)

    Natural lakes and streams offer a variety of recreational opportunties. But they all come with a risk Surface waters like Lake Michigan are the home of many varities of fish. It's a great place (apparently) to go fishing. But it's also the place where the fish leave their body waste, including dead bodies when they die. But the visible stuff is not...

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  • Shelf Ice

    It looks so inviting, hills of crushed ice, mounded high. Peaks to conquer and crevasses to plunge down into. What a place for kids to play. DON't Let THEM. While it looks inviting and the peaks are only a few feet up and the crevasses look to be a foot or two deep. This is a treacherous landscape.Hidden beneath the frozen surface are caves and...

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  • Poison Ivy

    'Rhus radicans', better known as Poison Ivy can be a low growing leafy plant, a vine growing up a tree or a fence post of a taller, large leafed plant in field grass or along the edges of wetlands.It's characteristic 3 leaf grouping is cause for staying away. Whether the leaves are jagged edged or smooth edge. The leaf wil often be shiny, but may...

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Tourist Traps

  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    by Toughluck Updated Nov 6, 2006

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    Much of the National Lakeshore beaches are accessible in Beverly Shores. This is a small lakefront community that can be inundated with vehicles on warm summer days. Parking in town is limited and cars without permits will be ticketed or towed at your expense.

    Unique Suggestions: Please do visit Lakeview Beach, Kemil Beach and the Century of Progress homes, all located in Beverly Shores. Be sure to park in marked areas. Don't park along any street unless a sign specically allows parking. Don't park in the town lot at the intersection of Lakefront Drive and Broadway. It's a towing offense.

    Fun Alternatives: Parking is available at the Kemil Road Lot (west end of town, Dunbar parking Lot (nr Century of Progress Homes) and Lakeview Plaza (pull in parking) near Broadway.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Beaches

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Off The Beaten Path

  • Mnoke Prairie

    Mnoke Prairie is a restoration project that has been going since the turn of the century. High School Students and younger students have collected seed, pulled intrusive plants and monitored the prairie. Since then, the trees have decreased and the grasses and forbes have increased. Trail access is on the Little Calumet River Trail. Most hikers...

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  • Hobart Prairie Grove

    Another distant patch of the National Lakeshore. This prairie is a grove. Personally, I'm still looking for the Prairie. Located west of Lake George in Hobart. The area is a rolling woodland that has been badly eroded by off road vehicles. On a warm summer day, it is cool under the canopy of the oaks. Because of the damage by off-road vehicles, the...

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  • Great Marsh

    The Great Marsh stretches the entire length of the shoreline. Some has been drained, some filled, some just not easily seen. The best area of the Great Marsh to see is in Beverly Shores. Visit my travelogue for more images.

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Favorites

  • White Oak

    'Quercus alba' or White Oak is a hard wood. It's used for making barrels, especially for aging whiskey's. It's the acorn tree in many areas.

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  • Shagbark Hickory

    'Carga ovata' or Shagbark Hickory is a nut producing tree, most notable for the shaggy bark. The hickory leaf is composed of 5 leaflets with 2-pairs along the stalk and a single leaflet at the end.

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  • Sugar Maples

    'Acer saccharum' or Sugar Maple is a predominant tree in the Beech Maple Forest of the lower Great Lakes. The maple leaf is distinctive in that it is somewhat shaped like an out streatched hand. The Sugar Maple is identified by the 'U' shaped notch/lob between the points.The Sugar Maple gets it's name from the practice of boiling the spring sap...

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Explore Deeper into Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Heron Rookery
Off The Beaten Path
Visitor Center
Things to Do
Special Exhibits at the Visitor Center
Things to Do
Hoosier Prairie
Off The Beaten Path
Checkout Indiana Dunes State Park
Favorites
Check out Porter
Favorites
Check out Chesterton
Favorites
Cowles Bog
Off The Beaten Path
Swedish Historic District
Things to Do
Bailly Cemetery
Things to Do
Bailly Homestead
Things to Do
1933 Worlds Fair came to Indiana
Things to Do
Bike through the park
Transportation
The South Shore Railroad
Transportation
Autumn Colors
Favorites
Spring Flowers
Things to Do
Rip Currents
Warnings and Dangers
Quality food on the east end
Restaurants
Map of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

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