Indiana Dunes National Park is one of the newest in our National Park system. It is on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan about 30 minutes from Michigan City, Indiana. Part of the park was closed when we were there due to scheduled maintenance. There’s still enough to see at Indiana Dunes National Park that it made the trip worth it. For starters, this was my first view of Lake Michigan and the dunes. Both were impressive. For me, it was more like visiting the seashore than a lake.
A couple of things to know about the park is that there is no entrace fee for the national park. However, it is next to Indiana Dunes State Park which does have a $7.00 entrace fee. Both parks have camping (when available). Also, the West Beach at Indiana Dunes National Park does have a $6 parking feel from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The fee is not covered by the passes offered by the National Park Service. However, there is a 50% discount for Senior and Access passes. Dunewood Campground also gives a discount for the senior pass and access pass. It’s open from April 1 – Nov. 1. Reservations are made online.
We were there for two days during the off-season and barely scratched the surface. We’ll allow 4-5 days next time. You’ll want to add another day if you plan on going to Chicago. There is easy rail access from outside the park. It takes about 1.5 hours each way.
General activities that are available include enjoying the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, hiking, biking, beach access and swimming. You can step into the visitor center to look at the museum and see a short film. Birdwatchers can see migrating hawks (seasonally), water fowl and wetland birds. There are historic structures and national landmarks and many other activities.
We had a great time! We just didn’t get to stay long enough. Here are a few photos and a video for you to enjoy. The “cat crossing” sign was in a historic area. I’ve never seen one of these before. Have you?