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BIRDING THE DUNES HAS NEVER BEEN SO AFFORDABLE!

Birders receive 25% off when staying at Inn at Aberdeen, Inspiration Wood or Songbird Prairie (just be sure to mention Indiana Dunes Tourism).

Great Birding

Few places in the Midwest rival Indiana Dunes Country for great birding. More than 350 bird species live or migrate through here—drawn to the open water of Lake Michigan and to a landscape of beaches, dunes, woodlands, wetlands, and prairie.

Amazing Accommodations

A true birder needs more than one day to explore. Check out these inspiring lodging options to make your stay all the more memorable.

Read More Watch Videos Inspiration Wood Songbird Prairie Inn at Aberdeen

These Hot Spots are the Tops

While you can watch birds at dozens of natural areas within the Indiana Dunes region, a few of these sites offer truly outstanding viewing. In this guide, we’ve detailed the birding opportunities at the region’s top three birding hotspots.

Wait, There’s More!

Click here to read what experts say about Indiana Dunes Country being one of the top birding spots in the Midwest. For personal advice, stop by our Visitor Center for some face-to-face time. If you’re into social media, share your adventures by promoting #DunesBirding. And when it’s time to take a break from birding, explore Indiana Dunes Country.

Backpacks for Birders

This program allows beginners or experienced birders traveling light to have the equipment and information they need to enjoy birding in and around the Indiana Dunes. And the best part is it’s free!

Learn More

Photographs Copyright: Lynea Hinchman, Brad Bumgardner, Christine Livingston

Cowles Bog

Cowles Bog

Don't miss the chance to see Cowles Bog, one of the great natural areas in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Remnant of a once-widespread wetland system, Cowles Bog encompasses a marsh surrounding a small fen, where a stand of tamaracks and white pines grows on a floating mat of peat moss. ... More

T: 219-395-1882 | W: View Website

Hammond Lakefront Park and Bird Sanctuary

Hammond Lakefront Park and Bird Sanctuary

Though just 16 acres in size and surrounded by industry, the park provides a critical stopover for neotropical migrant birds, which funnel through the Hammond Lakefront Park and Bird Sanctuary in astonishing numbers. That’s why birders have long referred to this site as “The Migrant Trap.” ... More

T: 219-659-7841 | W: View Website

Indiana Dunes State Park

Indiana Dunes State Park

While thoughts of sunbathing and swimming in Lake Michigan might first lure you to this beautiful state park, there's so much more to do at Indiana Dunes State Park. The park encompasses 2,182 acres of beach, dunes, marshes, swamps, hardwood forests, and white pine groves. These varied habitats ... More

T: 219-926-1952 | W: View Website

Jasper Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area

Jasper Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area

This gem of a wildlife area conserves 8,062 acres of wetland, upland, and woodland habitat, providing an ideal stopover for migratory birds. Beginning in August, sandhill cranes, Canada geese, ducks, and occasionally even federally endangered whooping cranes gather here. By mid-November—peak ... More

T: 219-843-4841 | W: View Website

Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area

Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area

Designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, 4,199-acre Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area is part of the Grand Kankakee Marsh region (see sidebar, page 39). A single-lane gravel road follows the levee along the south side of the Yellow River and offers excellent wildlife ... More

T: 574-896-3522 | W: View Website

Kankakee Sands

Kankakee Sands

Kankakee Sands conserves more than 7,000 acres of prairie, savanna, and wetlands—habitat for some of the fastest declining bird species in North America, including northern bobwhite, grasshopper sparrow, and American bittern. Kankakee Sands is also home to several bird species that are ... More

T: 219-285-2184 | W: View Website

Lake View Picnic Area

Lake View Picnic Area

While Lake View can be filled with beach-goers in summer, it’s a good place to picnic and watch for birds in spring and fall. Ducks, loons, grebes, jaegers, and gulls regularly gather along the lakeshore during migratory seasons. The National Audubon Society has designated the area between the ... More

T: 219-395-1882 | W: View Website

Marquette Park

Marquette Park

In 1921, the United States Steel Corporation donated lakefront lands along Gary's eastern boundary to the City to provide recreational access to Lake Michigan. The Gary Parks Department developed this area into the first lakefront park in Lake County. In 1932, Lakefront Park was renamed ... More

T: 219-866-7099 | W: View Website

Miller Woods

Miller Woods

Birders consider this 75-acre natural oasis amid the industry and urban environs of Gary among the best birding sites in the region. Black oaks dominate savanna woodlands that are home to 287 recorded species of plants and animals, including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. ... More

T: 219-926-7561 | W: View Website

Port of Indiana: Burns Harbor

Port of Indiana: Burns Harbor

Why include a major industrial site among the best cultural and natural sites in the Beyond the Beach region? Because this site offers a captivating look at both the nature and culture of this region. Twelve steel processors dominate the port landscape, and the site’s protected waters attract ... More

T: 219-787-8636 | W: View Website

Taltree Arboretum & Gardens

Taltree Arboretum & Gardens

Situated atop the Valparaiso moraine, Taltree offers 360 acres of woody plant collections, formal gardens, wetlands, woodlands, and prairies. Damien and Rita Gabis, who founded Taltree in 1997, envisioned it as a place where people could come to be refreshed and restored, find inspiration and ... More

T: 219-462-0025  | E: info@taltree.org | W: View Website