The beaches and dunes along Lake Michigan are a great place to spend summer weekends with loved ones. Whether you want to soak up the sun on a beach towel or climb a 200-foot tall dune, there are many ways to enjoy the park.
The beaches and dunes along Lake Michigan are a great place to spend summer weekends with loved ones. Whether you want to soak up the sun on a beach towel or climb a 200-foot tall dune, there are many ways to enjoy the park.
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 Center.

“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 there.”

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 questions.

“There’s endless opportunities of things for folks to do,” Bumgardner said.