Indiana Dunes State Park

To most Chicagoans, "a weekend at the Dunes" means a trip to this popular Indiana State Park, about a half-hour drive from the Illinois border. Visitors usually spend time relaxing on the beach or traversing a 1.5-mile trail that allows you to climb atop the three tallest dunes in the park. Campers have a couple of options: the small 66-site Dunewood Campground just south of the park or the larger Indiana Dunes State Park Campground, which is within a mile of the beach. There’s no shortage of things to do at this expansive national park. By day, you can scale 250-foot tall dunes, then dive into Lake Michigan. The park’s varied terrain makes it a popular spot for a diverse assortment of birds, so bring binoculars. Come nighttime, watch for stars, and toast marshmallows at your electricity-accessible and dog-friendly site.

This national park’s 15,000 acres of federally protected Hoosier landscape offers the best of both worlds: beautiful forests and picturesque, monumental sand dunes. Campers can find solitude in 50 miles of hiking trails crisscrossing over sand dunes and through wetlands, prairies, rivers, and forests. Crash at one of the lakeshore campgrounds, either in the national park or nearby state park. Both the national park’s Dunewood Campground, which offers reservable wooded campsites, and the Indiana Dunes State Park Campground near the Lake Michigan shoreline give campers the perfect place to soak up all the outdoor vibes from trail hiking to beach lounging. When you're done testing your strength and endurance by tackling the park's 3 Dune Challenge, cool down with a dip in the lake, or continue on your fitness journey via the area's many hiking and biking trails. Later, escape to a 69-acre farm-turned artists’ residence or park yourself at the seasonal vintage drive-in movie theater for some much-needed R&R.

Location: 600 N 25 E, Chesterton, IN 46304, United States

Google Rating: 4.7/5

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