Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Quick Facts

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Indiana

(219) 926-7561

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, authorized by Congress in 1966, is located approximately 50 miles southeast of Chicago, Illinois in the counties of Lake, Porter, and LaPorte in Northwest Indiana. The national lakeshore runs for nearly 25 miles along southern Lake Michigan, bordered by Michigan City, Indiana on the east, and Gary on the west. The park contains approximately 15,000 acres, 2,182 of which are located in Indiana Dunes State Park and managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Miles of beaches, sand dunes, bog, wetlands, woodland forests, an 1830's French Canadian homestead, and a working 1900 era farm combine to make the national lakeshore a unique setting for studying humans and their impact on the environment. Dr. Henry Cowles conducted his landmark ecological studies in the Indiana Dunes. Indiana Dunes is ranked 7th among national parks in native plant diversity. Research conducted over the last two decades has revealed 1,418 vascular plant species within park boundaries, of which over 90 are on the state of Indiana's threatened or endangered list.

Map of Indiana Dunes

Latitude, Longitude: 41.654564, -87.060148

READ MORE

Activities

  • Boating

    Boaters must stay 500 feet from marked swimming areas, even when beaching. Nearby communities offer boat-launches. Personal watercraft are prohibited. The national lakeshore has no boat-launches.

  • Bicycling

    Bicycles are permitted on the main roads, the Long Lake Trail between Long Lake Parking lot and Ogden Dunes, and the Lake Michigan shore line from Lake Front Drive to Central Beach. Bicycles are not allowed off-trail or on sand dunes. Additionally, there are two bike trails within the park, Calumet Bike Trail and Marquette Trail. No bikes are availible for rent within the park.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Most of the lakeshore can be accessed via driving on Highway 12 or 20.

  • Camping

    The Dunewood Campground is the only campground located within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. There are 79 sites, 54 drive-in and 25 walk-in; four sites are fully accessible, all of which are first come, first-served. The campground is open April 1 through October 31 and provides full restroom facilites with showers. There is no limit on vehicle lenth, however no electric hookups are availible.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is allowed under federal, state, and local laws. You need an Indiana Fishing License and trout-salmon stamp. Watch for drop-offs in creeks and along beaches. The Little Calumet River has dangerous currents.

  • Hiking

    A wide variety of hiking trails, many open all year, traverse the various habitats of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The varying lengths and difficulty levels make it easy to choose the trail that's right for you; from a short easy stroll to a challenging all-day trek. Trail maps are available at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center.

  • Horseback Riding

    The Ly-co-ki-we Trail is the only horse trail. Horseback riding is prohibited on all roads. There is no horse rental concession. The trail is open to horses from March 16 through December 14, unless there is sufficient snow cover for cross-country skiing. In the parking lot and picnic area, all horse excrement must be bagged, removed from the area, and disposed of appropriately.

  • Picnicking

    Tables are provided at Mount Baldy, Inland Marsh Overlook, West Beach, Bailly-Chellberg Visitor Center, Tremont parking area, Ly-co-ki-we parking area, and Lake View parking area. Cooking fires are permitted in the provided grills or approved grills in all picnic areas except Mount Baldy and Inland Marsh Overlook. Charcoal must be cooled and safely disposed of in a noncombustible container with an enclosed bottom and enclosed sides with a minimum depth of 2 inches or removed from the area. Shelters and restrooms are located at West Beach, Bailly-Chellberg Visitor Center, Lake View, and Tremont areas.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming is one of the most popular summer activities at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Swimming, with restroom facilties and parking is availible at Mount Baldy, Central Beach, Lake View Picnic Area, Dunbar Beach, Kemil Beach, Porter Beach, and West Beach. The only beach with lifeguards and showers is West Beach where there is a fee from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Leashed pets are permitted on from Memorial Day through Labor Day at Mount Baldy and Central Beach. Please note that beach parking fills up very quickly in the summer; some parking lots fill up as early as mid-morning. It's best to arrive early or wait until late afternoon when parking spots become available as visitors depart. Scuba diving is also permitted. Please call the office for more information.

  • Winter Sports

    Hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are popular. Visitors must bring their own snowshoes and cross-country skis, as there are no rentals available. The best option for cross-country skiing is the 6.4 mile Ly-co-ki-we Trail, which can be accessed from either the Calumet Dune Interpretive Center or the nearby Ly-co-ki-we Trailhead parking lot. The three mile Inland Marsh Trail is a good choice for advanced skiers. There are some difficult hills that can be tricky to navigate. A six-inch snow base is recommended for skiing. Trails are not groomed. Hikers and visitors using snowshoes are asked to walk to the right of the cross-country ski tracks whenever possible.

Seasonality/Weather

The national lakeshore's weather is greatly affected by Lake Michigan and can change quickly. Summers are warm and humid with high temperatures generally in the mid-80sºF and low temperatures in the mid-60sºF. There are about 15 days per year above 90ºF. Sunshine is abundant in summer. Highs in winter are usually in the low to mid 30sºF ) with low temperatures in the low 20sºF. There are about 15 days per year below 0ºF. Winters tend to be cloudy except for periods of extreme cold when skies are clear.

Park Partners

Eastern National

(215) 283-6900

Directions

Driving

Visitors can access the national lakeshore via I-94, the Indiana Toll Road, I-80/90, U.S. Highway 20, Indiana State Highway 12, and various state roads. The Visitor Center is located off of Indiana Highway 49 between U.S. Highway 20 and Interstate 94, Chesterton, Indiana.

Flying

The surrounding communities are serviced by the Gary Regional Airport, South Bend Airport, and Chicago's Midway and O'Hare Airports.

Public Transportation

The Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad stops at four stations throughout the park: Dune Park Station, Beverly Shores Station, Ogden Dunes Station and Miller Station. Several park facilities are located within two miles of each station.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(219) 926-7561

Links