South of Michigan City is the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore's Heron Rookery. Here in the spring, nesting pairs of herons raise their young. The dense tree tops hids their nest and it takes time and a trained eye to see them.
Don't let the lack of finding birds send you away, there are acres of spring wild flowers to enjoy.
The Rokkery is west of town off US 20 (either take US 20 west from Franklin [US 421] or US 12 west to 520 in The Pines to US 20. West of The Pines take Country Road 500 E, south across the tracks (careful on the tracks, trains and it's a bad intersection/crossing [US 20, 550 E, and the railroad]. Road changes to Brown Rd (still 500E). At 1400 North, the road ends, go left (east) to 600 East. South about a mile. The parking lot is on the right (westside) of the road.
Wanatah is a crossing on US 30 and US 421. It grew out of a crossing of the Monon Railroad and the Pennsylvania Central Railroad. While it is not particularly famous, it is one of the locations that the Lincoln Funeral train stopped for a brief moment on it's way from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, IL.
Wanatah Chamber of Commerce
Wanatah Scarecrow Festival
New Carlisle lies east of Michigan City on U.S. 20. Don't be fooled into taking U.S. 12, at the junction 5 miles outside of town. US 12 becomes the bigger road as continues east towards South Bend. U.S. 20 turns north (left) and narrows to 2 lanes that wind eastward. It's worth the trip. In New Carlisle, you'll find the Village Shops, a collection historic street front buildings filled with holiday home furnishings and gifts. If all you spend is an hour, you'll find it well worth the trip.
See my New Carlisle page (web site listed below) for more information on the shops and restaurants in New Carlisle.
At the end of the pier lies the new lighthouse. You cannot go inside, but people fish or simply hang out on the rocks. The spot also offers some nice views of Mount Baldy to the east and the Michigan shoreline to the west. Be careful not to fall of the ledge.
The only lighthouse in Indiana and constructed by the federal government in 1858, this building now houses a museum dedicated to local history. There is an exhibit about Miss Harriet Colfax, who served as lightkeeper from 1861 until 1904, when beacon lights were installed. Her cousin, Schuyler Colfax later served as Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant.
The museum is open 1 pm to 4 pm everyday except Monday.