CHESTERTON, Ind. — The soft sand and blue water makes a
journey to Indiana Dunes State Park feel more like a tropical getaway.
The park is home to more than 70 miles of trails to hike, 15
miles of coastline to explore and dozens of dunes that look like small mountains
rising up from the sand.
“It’s location on Lake Michigan makes it unique (from other
state parks),” said Brad Bumgardner, interpretive naturalist. “A lot of people
don’t think of Indiana as a maritime state, but we have some of the largest
dunes, one nearly 200 feet tall.”
In 1925, the Dunes State Park opened its doors to the
public, making it the fourth state park in Indiana. The park has grown to
include wheelchair-accessible pathways and other modern conveniences, while
still keeping the focus on nature and preserving it.
More than a million people visit the park annually.
Visitors can swim at the beach from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., climb
up the dunes and explore hiking trails throughout the park.
A modern campground facility is available for those who want
to experience nature at night. During the day, guests can stop by the Nature
“Our Nature Center has a full-time educational program,”
Bumgardner said. “It’s a good one-stop destination to get any information about
natural and cultural resources in the park.
“There’s new displays, a bird observation deck in the back
and we can answer questions about bird sightings and hike recommendations. The
Nature Center is a good jumping point for the trails — they all start near
If you’re looking for a weekend retreat within the borders
of your home state, the park is a great option. Do some research by visiting
www.indianadunes.com, a website that includes planning tools and answers
“There’s endless opportunities of things for folks to do,”