Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Overview

Fifteen miles of Lake Michigan's southern shore are nestled by the ever-shifting Indiana Dunes, where 15,000 acres of wild land and 45 miles of hiking trails invite visitors to explore, learn, and get some exercise in the process. Designated a U.S. National Lakeshore in northwest Indiana, the park is uniquely distinguished and split into 15 disconnected portions of wetlands, forests, rivers, and prairies. A mixture of native, flowering plants, and thriving, invasive flora has achieved a unique equilibrium among the bogs, marshes, fens, swamps, savannas, forests, and audibly "singing sands" of the signature dunes.

Information

The park and the Dunes Learning Center (DLC) provide many professional development workshops for Kindergarten through Grade 12 teachers during the academic year. Public programs like exploring the Miller Woods with park rangers, making maple sugar in the style of Native Americans, and spring wildflower "hunts" are on offer throughout the year. Field trips like "A Grain of Truth," "Habitat Hike," "Indians and Fur Traders," and "Winter Exploration" take students through vast swaths of history, the radical changes brought on by seasonal shifts, and how natural erosion shapes the park's eponymous dune

Price range

Camping Fee for Dunewood Campground is $18 per day. User Fee for West Beach is $6 per car per day, $30 per bus per day. Annual Passes range from Free to $80, depending on age, physical impairments, volunteer activities, and other factors.

Best time to visit

Spring and fall are generally safer times of year for visiting the park, because winter can include shelf ice from the cold winds blowing in off Lake Michigan, and summer brings rip currents from the same body of water, which can be dangerous to swimmers.

Near by POI

The Valparaiso Moraine forms a gigantic "U" around the Lake Michigan basin, with glacial till and sand forming interesting geographical features for sightseers. The ancient Calumet Shoreline of Lake Michigan provides a glimpse into the distant past for those fascinated by the ways that water shapes the land around it

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