National Lakeshore

Frequently Asked Questions

Firewood Rules

How do I get to the beach?

The National Lakeshore’s 15 miles of beach are accessible from the following access points, most of which you can access right from U.S. 12.

  • North of U.S. 12 and County Line Road (Mt. Baldy)
  • North end of Central Avenue
  • Lake Front Drive at Lake View
  • Intersection of Lake Front Drive and Dunbar Avenue
  • North end of East State Park Road
  • North end of Waverly Road (Porter)
  • Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk (from U.S. 12, take IN 249 South and follow park signs.
  • North on North County Line Road (West Beach). West Beach has 600 parking spaces; other lots have limited parking.

What are the hours and is there an entry fee?

7 a.m.-dusk. The fee is $6 at West Beach. Other sites are free.

Is alcohol allowed?

Alcohol is allowed only on the beach sites from Kemil east to Mount Baldy, but remember that glass bottles are prohibited. Alcohol is not allowed from West Beach to Indiana Dunes State Park.

Are personal motorized watercraft, dune buggies or kayaks allowed?

The park does not have a boat launch and personal motorized watercraft and dune buggies are not allowed. Kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft can be launched at locations other than West Beach.

Are pets allowed?

Pets on leashes are allowed on the beaches at the access points east of Indiana Dunes State Park and on all trails except Glenwood Dune, Great Marsh and Pinhook Bog. For people with horses, the Glenwood Dune trail at US Highway 20 and Schoolhouse Road is open for riding March 16 through December 14.

Do you close the beach when high waves are present or E. coli levels are high?

No. The national lakeshore does not close its beach regardless of water conditions. Risks are inherent in all natural areas. During summer months, lifeguards are stationed at West Beach. Lifeguards are not present at other locations of the beach.

Call 219-926-7561 followed by prompt #2 for information regarding E. coli levels.

Do all trails involve steep climbs?

There are trails or varying difficulty at various spots that people can use. Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is one place where people enjoy Lake Michigan views on a handicap accessible trail.

Is there camping? Lodging? Dining?

Dunewood Campground, located at U.S. 12 and Broadway, near Beverly Shores, is open April 1 to October 31 and has 78 campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis. The restrooms have showers. There are no electrical hookups, but there is a dump station (call 219-395-1882 or visit nps.gov/indu). Alcohol is prohibited. There are no lodging facilities or restaurants.

How do I reserve an environmental education program?

Teachers and youth group leaders should call Christy Gerlach at 219-395-1885 to arrange for a free ranger-led program. These programs are conducted at the park’s Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education located in Gary/Miller, Indiana, and focus on the park’s resource issues.

Do you have a Junior Ranger Program?

Yes. Stop by the park’s visitor center on Ind. 49, just south of U.S. 20, and ask a ranger to help you select the junior ranger program that best fits your visit. A Beachcombers program is popular with families spending just a few hours on the beach. A more comprehensive program is a favorite among those camping in the park. Other junior ranger programs are offered during special events. All programs are free. Children completing the junior ranger program earn a Junior Ranger patch. Program materials are available at the visitor center and are downloadable at www.nps.gov/indu/forkids. If you encounter a roving ranger on the beach, ask him or her about the program. Rangers often carry junior ranger booklets and patches with them for your convenience.

How can I volunteer at the national lakeshore?

The National Lakeshore is looking for volunteers to help maintain trails and do some landscaping around buildings. We also have volunteer openings at the visitor center in Porter and at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education in Gary/Miller. Go to www.volunteer.gov/gov and click on Indiana. Our volunteer opportunities are listed there. If you do not have access to the internet, leave a message with Lynda Lancaster, the Volunteers-In-Park program manager at 219-395-1682.

Where can I get more information?

Call 219-395-1882, visit nps.gov/indu or watch for informational park signs.

Can I grill at the beach?

The National Park has designated certain areas of some access points for grilling, where you can use the grills provided or bring your own. These grilling areas are found at Bailly Homestead, Glenwood Dunes, Lake View Picnic Area (Bring your own only), Tremont, and West Beach. Grilling on the beach is not allowed.

Firewood Rules

Can I bring my own firewood into the park?

The National Park advises visitors to use firewood from local suppliers to prevent the spread of invasive insects. There is a general store near the Dunewood Campground which sells firewood and there is another firewood seller near the campground. Federal quarantines prevent people from other states from bringing their own firewood to Indiana.