- Dunes 101 Video Series
- Beaches & Lake Michigan
- Indiana Dunes Activities
- Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I get there?
- What are the hours, and is there an entry fee?
- Is alcohol allowed?
- Are personal motorized watercraft, dune buggies or kayaks allowed?
- Are pets allowed?
- Do you close the beach when high waves are present or E. coli levels are high?
- Can I climb the dunes? Do all trails involve steep climbs?
- Is there camping? Lodging? Dining?
- Do you have regularly-scheduled education programs, and do you do special programs for groups?
- Can visitors earn a patch for completing activities?
- How can I volunteer at the state park?
- Where can I get more information?
- Can I bring my own firewood into the park?
- Can I grill at the beach?
How do I get there?
Take State Road 49 North from from Interstate 94 or the Indiana Toll Road. It leads into the park.
What are the hours, and is there an entry fee?
The park is open 7am-11pm daily and the entrance fee is $7 for in-state vehicles and $12 for out-of-state vehicles. Annual passes are available. Admission is free weekdays between November and mid-April.
Is alcohol allowed?
Are personal motorized watercraft, dune buggies or kayaks allowed?
Kayaks can be put in the far west side of the park. Personal motorized watercraft and dune buggies are not permitted.
Are pets allowed?
Pets are not allowed on the swimming beach. However, if they are on a six-foot leash, they can be on other parts of the beach and anywhere else in the park.
Do you close the beach when high waves are present or E. coli levels are high?
If dangerous rip currents or high E. coli levels are present, Indiana Dunes State Park will bar people from entering the water, although they can still enjoy the beach. Signs alerting the public about closures are placed at the main gate at 11 a.m. on the day of the closure — that is the time closure decisions are made.
In addition, the park advises people to visit ripcurrents.noaa.gov and click on Chicago, IL and Northern Indiana, IN for rip current conditions along Lake Michigan, and to visit in.gov and click on BeachGuard Online Monitoring System for E. coli closures and advisories.
Can I climb the dunes? Do all trails involve steep climbs?
There are various trails that involve climbing the dunes and others that are easy. The park has 16.5 miles of trails and is home to Mt. Tom, which is the tallest sand dune in Indiana, towering 192 feet above Lake Michigan.
Is there camping? Lodging? Dining?
The park has a state-of-the-art campground with water and electrical hookups. Make your reservations as early as possible (call 866-622-6746 or visit camp.IN.gov). There is a concession stand in the pavilion during the summer and a campground store. But there are no lodging facilities.
Do you have regularly-scheduled education programs, and do you do special programs for groups?
The park offers programs seven days a week in the summer, and on weekends the rest of the year. A schedule is posted at the park. For more information, or to arrange a private program for a group, call 219-926-1390.
Can visitors earn a patch for completing activities?
The park has a Pin Program, and people can earn a pin by completing different activities. For more information, call 219-926-1390.
How can I volunteer at the state park?
People interested in volunteering can visit in.gov or call 219-926-1390 for more information. The tasks volunteers can do include pulling unwanted plants, beach cleanups and weekend Nature Center staffing.
Where can I get more information?
Visit in.gov or call 219-926-1952.
Can I bring my own firewood into the park?
The state has a new policy which states campers and picnickers who live in Indiana can bring their own firewood as long as the bark has been removed (since the larvae of invasive insects live under the bark). Federal quarantines prevent people from other states from bringing their own firewood to Indiana. Firewood can also be brought in if it is purchased from a store and has a USDA compliance stamp; if it is purchased from a local firewood vendor with a state compliance stamp; if it is kiln-dried scrap lumber; or if it is purchased from an on-site vendor. Regardless of where it is obtained, people should burn all of the wood at their campsite and not leave it for the next camper. Visit firewood.dnr.IN.gov for more information.
Can I grill at the beach?
The State Park allows grilling only at the pavilion in the grills provided. Grilling on the beach is not allowed.