No trip to Indiana Dunes Country is complete without a stop in the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, where you can pick up information about the area, chat with rangers of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and get introduced to the wonders of the national park by watching two informational videos. Be sure to ask for your free souvenir postcards.
The Indiana Dunes
Head to Indiana Dunes State Park, with vast and varied trails, a large lakefront beach, Nature Center, and the new 3 Dune Challenge. Can you hike the three biggest dunes?
Have box lunches provided by a variety of great local restaurants in downtown Chesterton: Third Coast Spice Cafe, Good to Go, Tonya’s or Popolano’s, and eat at the state park’s big picnic area, or picnic on the beach.
Or dine in downtown Chesterton, which has a number of great local restaurants to check out while walking around the downtown area. If it’s a Saturday, don’t miss Chesterton’s European Market.
Drive to West Beach, home of the Dune Succession Trail, which includes 250 stairs nestled among large dunes and provides one of the best views in the area, or to Cowles Bog, an excellent site for bird watching.
Head to Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk to watch the sun set over Lake Michigan from the comfort of its green-constructed visitor center, or from its adjacent boardwalk.
More outdoor adventures
Take a tour of Taltree Arboretum, with more than 300 acres of woodland, wetland and prairie walking trails, native wildflowers, scenic waterfronts and formal gardens, and an incredible railway garden.
Visit Broken Wagon Bison Farm to see over 100 bison and purchase a range of bison products.
Sample local wines at Anderson’s Vineyard and Winery, where you’ll find a great selection of various fruit wines, fresh cheese and produce in season, and local jams and jellies.
Have some fun at Zao Island, a land of fun that includes go-karts, miniature golf, laser tag, an arcade, batting cages, live alligators and a great pizza pub.
Grab your swimsuits and spend some time at Seven Peaks Duneland, which features water slides, a wave pool, and plenty of places to lay in the sunshine.
Experience the great outdoors from inside Bass Pro Shops, which boasts over 2,000 taxidermist-preserved creatures from fish to moose.
Head to downtown Valparaiso for your choice of amazing local restaurants for dinner.