Indiana Dunes National Park

The Chicago area's only national park which stretches from Gary, Indiana in the east to Michigan City, Indiana in the west, features 15,000 acres of pristine undulating dunes, oak savannas, forests and clear Lake Michigan waters with steel mills visible in the distance. More than 250 species of birds live or migrate through the national park. Notable migrations include hawks in the spring and sandhill cranes in the autumn. Ranger led tours, including seasonal cruises from Michigan City, Indiana (cost $30), are highly recommended. In season camping at Dunewood Campground in Beverly Shores and a lifeguarded swimming beach and bathhouse at West Beach in Ogden Dunes are featured.



Generally, north of Highway 12 from Gary in the east to Michigan City in the west. An area map is available here.


Distance from Downtown Chicago

From the center of town 36 miles to Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education in the west and 58 miles to Mount Baldy in the east

How To Get There

Bike, Walk, Drive, South Shore Line Commuter Rail


Information on accessible features may be found here. The Indiana Dunes National Park Visitor Center and the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education are accessible. There are accessible parking spaces and restrooms throughout the park. The picnic areas at West Beach, Bailly Chelberg, Tremont, Glenwood Dunes, Lake View Beach and Tollestone Dunes Overlook are accessible. At Dunewood Campground, sites 15, 30, 41 and 55 are accessible. The Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk featuring a paved hiking trail and a fishing pier are accessible.

Things To Do

Beach Activities, Biking, Birdwatching (blackbirds, cardinals, crows, finches, flycatchers. grebes, hawks, herons, jays, sandhill cranes, sandpipers, sparrows, swallows, vireos, warblers, waterfowl, woodpeckers, wrens), Boating, Camping, Cross-Country Skiing, Fishing, Hiking, Historic/Cultural Interest (Bailly Homestead, 1933 World’s Fair Century of Progress Homes, Chelberg Farm, Good Fellow Youth Camp), Horseback Riding, Jogging, Other Features (Ranger Led Activities Including Cruises in Season from Michigan City, Indiana), Picknicking, Running, Swimming, Visitor Center (visitor and education centers), Watchable Wildlife (white-tailed deer) and Wildflowers

Fun Facts

Indiana Dunes National Park is one of the nation’s newest national parks, having been so designated in 2019. Previously it was a national lakeshore. The 1885 Chellberg Farm was part of a Swedish-American settlement. The Bailly Homestead got its start in 1822 as a fur trading post.

Other Information

Restrooms, water fountains and parking areas are available in various locations in the park. An orientation video may be viewed at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center located at 1215 North State Road 49, Porter, Indiana. There is a fee of $6 ($3 for National Park passholders) to visit West Beach.


For a reasonably priced tasty breakfast try Northside Diner, 100 N Calumet Road, Chesterton, Indiana. Lucrezia Café located at 428 S Calumet Road in Chesterton, Indiana serves tasty Italian fare.

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Nearby Public Lands Worth Visiting

Best Time To Visit

All year

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