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Dunes

Visitors are often surprised to discover the Indiana Dunes have a 15-mile coastline with beaches for splashing, playing and relaxing. They’re even more surprised to discover the treasures that lie just beyond the sandy shore - where hikers can strike out along more than 70 miles of trails, birders can watch more than 350 migratory species take wing and anglers can drop their hooks. Peruse the sites below and learn more about the many opportunities to explore the Indiana Dunes that await you.

Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm

Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm

These two historic sites sit nearly side-by-side within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Honore Gratien Joseph Bailly de Messein, the first known non-native resident of northwest Indiana, set up a fur trading post here in 1822. The main house has been restored to its 1917 appearance and is ... More

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Central Avenue Beach Access

Central Avenue Beach Access

During the spring and summer, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore's shoreline near Central Avenue is a great place to watch bank swallows flying to and from their nest burrows in the dunes. Spring and fall offer great shorebird and waterfowl viewing. Just past the gate on the entrance road, you'll ... More

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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

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Dunewood Campground Make a Reservation

Dunewood Campground

The campground is just over a mile south of Lake Michigan and offers modern accessible restroom and showers and wooded sites. It is first-come, first-served.

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Glenwood Dune Trail

Glenwood Dune Trail

Two trail heads and a series of loops, up to 6.4 miles. Horseback riding permitted March 16 through December 14. Trail winds through climax black oak forested dune ridges, wetlands, and reclaimed prairie. Pets are prohibited. The linear Ly-co-ki-we extension will add 1.2 miles.

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Great Marsh Trail

The newest trail in the national lakeshore is a birder’s paradise. Just a short stroll to an accessible observation platform provides a great view of this recently restored wetland. Wading birds like herons and egrets and song birds such as warblers and red-winged black birds are again ... More

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Heron Rookery trail

Heron Rookery trail

For more than 60 years, herons nested here along Little Calumet River. Though the heron rookery is no longer active, the 1.6-mile trail is a good spot for viewing other bird species. The oak savanna habitat near the abandoned rookery is also home to Karner blue butterflies, federally listed as ... More

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Indiana Dunes State Park

Indiana Dunes State Park

Enjoy 2,182 acres of beach, marshes, swamps, forests and dunes. It’s home to Mt. Tom, a sand dune which towers 192 feet above Lake Michigan. The park provides camping, picnicking, showers, snack bar, camp store and, in the summer, a gift shop. Interpretive programs also offered. Hike some of ... More

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Little Calumet River Trail

Little Calumet River Trail

The Little Calumet Trail, located in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, is part of a 3.9-mile network of hiking trails through dune woodlands and prairies that connect the Bailly Homestead, Chellberg Farm, and the Dunes Learning Center. Pick up a trail map at the trailhead or the Indiana ... More

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Mount Baldy

Mount Baldy

THIS SITE IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED. The view from Mount Baldy is spectacular and there is access to the beautiful shoreline, but beach goers will need to hike to get to the beach and there are no lifeguards. At roughly 125 feet tall, Mount Baldy is the largest "living" dune in Indiana Dunes ... More

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Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk

Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk

Formerly an industrial site, this 57-acre lakefront site, jointly managed by the National Park Service and the City of Portage, features an enclosed pavilion with seasonal food service, restrooms, a handicap-accessible trail, and fishing pier. A breakwater, with handrails, provides easy access ... More

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Porter Beach Area

Porter Beach Area

A popular gathering spot for splashing in the water, playing beach sports and catching some rays. Bathrooms and small foot wash. Limited parking. No lifeguards.

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Shirley Heinze Land Trust

Shirley Heinze Land Trust is a vibrant partnership of volunteers, donors, professionals, business and industry, working together to preserve, protect and restore significant natural areas in northwest Indiana. Our mission is also to educate, inspire and invite the public to experience the ... More

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Tolleston Dunes Trail

Tolleston Dunes Trail

In just 2.6 miles, this trail in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore traverses a number of different, beautiful, and wildlife-rich habitats, including black oak savanna, Tolleston Dunes, and remnants of the Great Marsh. Black oak savanna along the trail hosts plenty of wild lupine—the sole ... More

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West Beach

West Beach

A bath house nestled among dunes and a wide sandy beach makes this a popular spot for enjoying Lake Michigan. From the beach, hike the Dune Succession Trail that includes a boardwalk and 250 stairs to a spectacular overlook of the lake with Chicago on the horizon. Covered picnic shelters and ... More

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