Nestled along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, the Indiana Dunes are a national treasure. The Indiana Dunes National Park and State Park offer something for everyone—hiking scenic trails, relaxing on beautiful beaches, immersing yourself in historical sites, and exploring diverse habitats for birding. Our guide will provide you with essential information to fully enjoy these parks and natural attractions in and around Lake Michigan.


Hiking Trails

Explore the best hiking trails at the Indiana Dunes, perfect for all skill levels and offering stunning views of diverse landscapes.

Cowles Bog Trail

The Cowles Bog Trail is a 4.7-mile route through ponds, marshes, swamps, black oak savannas, and beaches. Steep sand dunes near Lake Michigan add a challenging element to this scenic hike.

An aerial view of Cowles Bog trail

Dunes Succession Trail

Part of the West Beach trail loops, the Dunes Succession Trail (also known as the Diana of the Dunes Dare) is a 0.9-mile path featuring over 270 steps—worth the climb for beautiful beach views from the top.

A scenic view of Lake Michigan is behind an informative sign about Diana of the Dunes

Dune Ridge Trail

The Dune Ridge Trail, which is 0.7 miles long, offers great views of wetlands and forests. This short hike is perfect for bird watching and enjoying fall foliage.

A sandy trail emerges from a woodland. People are hiking toward the trees.

For a full list of hiking spots, visit our Hiking page.



Get to know the beautiful beaches at the Indiana Dunes, each offering unique amenities and perfect spots for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.

Porter Beach

Porter Beach is ideal for swimming, beach sports, and sunbathing. This beach has bathrooms but no lifeguards.

Three young boys play in the sand near the shoreline

West Beach

West Beach, one of the most popular spots, features a large sandy area, a bathhouse, and lifeguards from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It's perfect for swimming and picnicking, with nearby trails for additional activities.

Three people sit at a picnic table. Plates of burgers, corn on the cob, and other food is on the table.

Kemil Beach

Kemil Beach offers a nice stretch of beach and picnic facilities and is close to the Dune Ridge Trail. Note that there are no lifeguards on duty.

Aerial view of the shoreline. The water is a deep blue. The sand changes to beach grass and eventually trees.

For a full list of our beaches, visit our Beaches page.



Discover the unique local attractions at the Indiana Dunes, where history and architecture come to life through fascinating sites and landmarks.

Century of Progress Architectural District

Located in Beverly Shores, The Century of Progress Architectural District features five homes from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, showcasing modern architectural styles and “new” (for the time) technologies.


Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm

Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm are two historical sites featuring 19th-to-early-20th-century buildings within walking distance. Explore the nearby restored Mnoké Prairie on the Little Calumet River Trail

A historical home, tan and peach in color, sits in a field surrounded by trees.


Bird Watching at the Indiana Dunes

The Indiana Dunes boasts world-class birdwatching, as our diverse habitats attract a wide variety of bird species year-round.

Birders at Cowles Bog

Beverly Shores

Beverly Shores is a top bird-watching spot. The Great Marsh Trail and beachfront areas attract diverse bird species. During migration seasons, it's notable for Northern Shrikes and Sandhill Cranes.

A Sandhill Crane at Cowles Bog

West Beach

West Beach’s 3-Loop Trail is renowned for bird watching, with habitats attracting winter finches, Long-eared Owls, and various waterfowl. Birding is productive year-round, with fall sparrows and spring migrants being particularly notable.

Tern at West Beach

Heron Rookery

The Heron Rookery is a prime spot for spring birding along the East Arm Little Calumet River. It hosts Yellow-throated Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Barred Owls.

A brown and white owl sits on a tree branch, looking straight at the viewer.

Cowles Bog

Cowles Bog features a 2.5-mile trail circling wetlands, ideal for bird watching during migration seasons. Its diverse habitats attract many rare bird species, making it a hotspot for bird enthusiasts.

A bird at Cowles Bog

Miller Woods

Miller Woods is a crucial stopover habitat for neotropical migratory birds. Birders can spot species like Wood Thrush, Golden-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, and Pie-Billed Grebes.

Black Oak Savanna Miller Woods

For a full list of birding spots, visit our Birding page.


Nearby Communities

After a day on the trail or beach, head to one of our many local communities for a bite to eat, a shopping trip, or a hotel room for the night. You'll find everything from family-friendly activities to spots for a great date night

A family of four play mini golf in front of a yellow building

The Indiana Dunes have something for everyone, from scenic hikes and beautiful beaches to fascinating historical sites and excellent bird-watching spots. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just looking for a relaxing getaway, you’ll find plenty to enjoy. Plan your visit today and experience the natural beauty and charm of this unique destination along the southern shore of Lake Michigan.