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Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you’re just starting or in the final planning stages, our collection of frequently asked questions might give you a few more things to think about when traveling to the Indiana Dunes area. To help guide you, we’ve compiled a list of questions about our two main attractions: the Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dunes State Park. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

 

Indiana Dunes General FAQ    Indiana Dunes National Park FAQ   Indiana Dunes State Park FAQ

 

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General Indiana Dunes FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center?

The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center is located at 1215 N. State Rd. 49, Porter, IN 46304. It is one mile north of the I-94 interchange (exit 26B), four miles north of the I-80/90 interchange (exit 31), and just south of U.S. Highways 12 and 20.

What are the hours of the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center?

  • The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center is open daily, except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
  • NOTE: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the visitor center is operating on an adjusted schedule. Hours are 9am to 4pm until further notice.
  • 8am to 6pm Central Time, from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the Monday of Labor Day weekend.
  • 8:30am to 4:30pm Central Time for the remainder of the year.

Where can I see live parking availability at Indiana Dunes National and State Parks?

Click here for detailed information on parking availability,

Where can I learn more about the outdoor adventures available in the Indiana Dunes area?

Indiana Dunes Tourism offers an Outdoor Adventures guide, which details the many bicycling, birding, hiking, fishing, paddling, and wandering opportunities available. Or you can stop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, and an Indiana Dunes Ambassador can help you in person.

Where can I learn more about the activities, restaurants, businesses, and accommodations in the Indiana Dunes area?

Indiana Dunes Tourism offers an Activities Guide, which covers the places to eat, play, shop, and stay in the Indiana Dunes area. Or you can stop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, and an Indiana Dunes Ambassador can help you in person.

What events are happening in the Indiana Dunes area?

For a list of all of the exciting activities and events happening in the Indiana Dunes area, visit our Calendar of Events.

Where can I find coupons to use in the Indiana Dunes area?

Visit our Dunes Deal webpage or sign up for the Indiana Dunes Deal Pass on your mobile phone.

What activities are available for kids?

For adventures tailor-made for kids, download the Indiana Dunes Kids Guide, or visit the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center to pick up a physical copy.

Can I get married in the Indiana Dunes?

Both the National Park and the State Park allow weddings on the beaches. To inquire about having a State Park wedding, call 219-926-1952. To inquire about having a National Park wedding, call 219-395-1859.

For general Indiana Dunes wedding information, visit our weddings page.

How can I enjoy the Indiana Dunes safely during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Indiana Dunes area is an outdoor destination that’s a perfect retreat during the COVID-19 pandemic. For information on how to stay safe, watch our safety video or visit our COVID-19 info page.

What is the difference between the Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dunes State Park?

The National Park is owned by the United States Government’s Department of the Interior. The State Park is owned by the State of Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The parks are completely independent of one another and have different rules, regulations, and fees. Both parks do have similar missions in protecting the unique habitats of the Indiana Dunes and providing recreational opportunities for millions of visitors. Both parks also collaborate in many areas such as public programming, prescribed burns, and invasive species control.

The region is fortunate to have two parks that give visitors a broader set of options when coming to the Indiana Dunes. It is recommended that visitors visit both parks to get a more complete understanding of the entire Indiana Dunes area.

Is the National Park going to buy the State Park?

The National Park’s 2019 name change from national lakeshore to national park did not change the National and State Park’s relationship in any way. The National Park has no intention of taking over the State Park.

Indiana Dunes National Park FAQ

General Information

General Information

What are the hours of the National Park?

The National Park is open from 6am to 11pm unless otherwise posted. West Beach and its parking lots are open from 6am to 9pm.

What are the hours of the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education?

  • The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is open every day except for federal holidays.
  • 8am to 5pm from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the Monday of Labor Day weekend unless otherwise posted.
  • 8am to 4pm for the remainder of the year unless otherwise posted.

Are there entry or parking fees?

There are no entrance fees or parking fees to the National Park, with one exception. West Beach charges an amenity fee of $6 per vehicle or motorcycle per day ($30 per bus per day) from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the Monday of Labor Day weekend. The fee is collected from 8am Central Time to no later than 7pm.

Note: A 50 percent discount is available for holders of the following America the Beautiful—The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands passes: Senior Annual, Senior Lifetime, and Access Passes. There is no discount for the following America the Beautiful passes: Annual (non-senior), Military, Volunteer, and Fourth Grade.

Where is the best place to park when going to a National Park beach?

Parking lots can fill up quickly on summer weekend days. Visitors can call 219-395-1003 to hear a prerecorded message about parking availability at each beach parking lot.

Where can I get a passport stamp?

You can get passport stamps at the bookstore in the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Does the National Park sell/have the Senior Pass and other federal lands passes?

Although Indiana Dunes National Park does not have an entrance fee, we can issue all passes available within the America the Beautiful federal lands pass program. The passes include the Annual Pass, Access Pass, Senior Lifetime Pass, Senior Annual Pass, Active Military Pass, Volunteer Pass, and Fourth Grade Annual Pass. The passes are available at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center. Cash, credit, and debit cards are accepted for those passes that must be purchased.

Do the national park passes work at the State Park and vice versa?

The national park passes are not accepted at the State Park or any other non-federal location. The state park pass is not accepted at the National Park.

Does the National Park have wheelchair-accessible locations?

Major sites within the National Park that are accessible with assistance include:

Are pets allowed?

Pets are permitted everywhere, including beaches in the National Park, with the following exceptions:

  • Pets are prohibited on Pinhook Bog (pets are permitted on the nearby Pinhook Upland Trail).
  • Pets are prohibited on the equestrian portion of the Glenwood Dunes Trail (pets are permitted on the other portions of the Glenwood Dunes Trail system).
  • Pets are prohibited in the lifeguarded swim area at West Beach in the summer (pets can be walked through the area to get to another part of the beach).
  • Pets must be restrained on a leash no longer than six feet (two meters).
  • Pet owners are responsible for removing pet waste from the Dunewood Campground, picnic areas, parking lots, roads, and other developed areas.
  • Do not leave bagged pet waste on the ground along trails, etc. Please carry bagged waste out with you.

Is alcohol allowed in the National Park?

Responsible and legal alcohol use is permitted everywhere within the National Park except inside NPS buildings. No glass containers are allowed on the beach.

Where can I find National Park maps?

Visitors can find maps online or by stopping by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

What are the primary Indiana Dunes National Park public sites?

From east to west:

National Park Beaches & Trails

National Park Beaches & Trails

How do I get to the beach?

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, visitors can call the beach parking hotline at 219-395-1003 to hear an automated message with parking availability.

The National Park’s 15 miles of beaches are accessible from the following beach parking lots, most of which you can access from U.S. Highway 12.

Which beaches are open?

Check our beach opening map or follow the Indiana Dunes Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

Where can I park my vehicle when visiting the beaches?

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, visitors can call the beach parking hotline at 219-395-1003 to hear an automated message with parking availability at each beach. The Indiana Dunes State Park has the most parking spaces of all the beaches. Due to its popularity, it often fills to capacity early on hot summer days. An alternative is West Beach in the Indiana Dunes National Park, which has about 600 parking spots and rarely fills to capacity.

What are some of the rules pertaining to the beaches?

  • Pets are permitted and must stay on a leash at all times (six feet or less).
  • Responsible alcohol use is permitted. No glass containers.
  • Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited on the beach. West Beach and Lake View Beach do have dedicated grills in their picnic areas.
  • The removal of natural items such as rocks, shells, and fossils is prohibited.

Are personal motorized watercraft, dune buggies, ATVs, or kayaks allowed?

The park does not have a boat launch, and personal motorized watercraft, dune buggies, and ATVs are strictly prohibited. Non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks and canoes can be launched from the Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk.

The Lake Michigan Water Trail runs along the shore of Lake Michigan. Launch points in the Indiana Dunes area include Central Avenue Beach, Dunbar Beach, the west side of Indiana Dunes State Park, Kemil Beach, Lake View Beach, Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk, Porter Beach, and West Beach.

Power boaters must stay 500 feet from marked swimming areas, even when beaching. Some nearby communities offer boat launches. The National Park has no boat launches. Personal watercraft are prohibited.

Does the park close the beaches when high waves are present, or E. coli levels are high?

No, except for West Beach, when lifeguards are present. The National Park does not close its beaches, regardless of water conditions; however, when lifeguards are stationed at West Beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the National Park will close the West Beach swim area when high waves or high E. coli levels are present. Lifeguards are not stationed at any other location within the National Park.

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

Do all of the trails involve steep climbs?

There are 50 miles of hiking in 14 trail systems with varying difficulty throughout the National Park. See the National Park’s hiking webpage for details. Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is a paved accessible trail where people can enjoy Lake Michigan views. The Calumet Dunes Trail is also paved. The Great Marsh and Heron Rookery Trails are flat.

Is horseback riding allowed on the trails or beaches?

The Glenwood Dunes Trail is the only equestrian trail at the National Park. Horseback riding is prohibited on all roads. There is no horse rental concession. The trail is open to horses from March 16 through December 14 unless there is sufficient snow cover for cross-country skiing. In the parking lot and picnic area, all horse excrement must be bagged, removed from the area, and disposed of appropriately. The parking lot is large enough for horse trailers.

Are e-bikes allowed?

E-bikes are allowed where traditional bikes are allowed. Except where the use of motorized vehicles is permitted, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.

Seasonal Activities

Seasonal Activities

Does the National Park offer any winter activities?

Hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are popular. Visitors must bring their own snowshoes and cross-country skis.

Where are the best places to cross-country ski in the National Park?

Glenwood Dunes Trail has a 6.8-mile trail with a series of interconnecting loops through gently rolling wooded dunes. The 2.9-mile Tolleston Dunes trail is a good choice for advanced skiers. There are some difficult hills that can be tricky to navigate. A 4-6 inch snow base is recommended. Trails are not groomed.

Is snowmobiling permitted in the National Park?

Snowmobiling is not permitted.

Are there sledding hills in the National Park?

Sledding is not permitted except at West Beach within the designated area.

What is shelf ice?

Shelf ice often forms along the edge of Lake Michigan during periods of cold weather. Don’t be fooled! Despite its appearance, the shelf ice is not solid and should not be walked on. Due to the way shelf ice is formed, numerous air pockets exist that cannot be easily seen. It also can be difficult to tell where the beach ends and where the ice starts. Don’t walk on the shelf ice! A person applying even a small amount of weight on shelf ice can easily fall through into frigid water that can quickly kill. Please enjoy the beautiful and unique ice formations from the safety of solid ground.

Camping, Lodging, & Food

Camping, Lodging, & Food

Is there lodging in the National Park?

There are no lodging facilities or restaurants inside the park, but there are many nearby. See listings for nearby lodging and restaurants.

Does the National Park have a campground?

Yes, the Dunewood Campground is run by the National Park and is located just off of U.S. Highway 12 in the Town of Beverly Shores. The campground is open from April 1 through November 1. The following are details pertaining to the National Park campground:

Facilities

  • 67 campsites.
  • Sites 1-54 are conventional drive-in sites for RVs or tents. RV length is limited in some sites.
  • Sites 55-67 are walk-in sites for tent camping only.
  • Sites 15, 30, 41, and 55 are wheelchair-accessible.
  • Restrooms and showers are located in the center of each loop.
  • No electric or water hookups at individual sites. There is potable water located at several locations in each loop.
  • The campground does have an RV dump station.

Fees

  • There is a $25.00 per night camping fee (expanded amenity fee).
  • All sites are reservable online starting six months in advance of the check-in date.
  • Sites are reservable beginning on November 15 for the following camping season.
  • There is a 50 percent discount for the following America the Beautiful—The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands passes: Senior Annual, Senior Lifetime, and Access Passes.
  • There is no discount for the following America the Beautiful—The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands passes: Annual (non-senior), Military, Volunteer, and 4th Grade.

Attractions/Services

  • Lake View Beach on Lake Michigan is located 1.5 miles north of the campground.
  • Do NOT park in the Town of Beverly Shores’ beach parking lot, located just to the east of the Lake View lot. You will get ticketed. The town is very strict.
  • A gas station/convenience store is located ¼ mile north of the campground at the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and Broadway Avenue.
  • The Beverly Shores South Shore Railroad station with passenger service to Chicago and South Bend is located on Broadway Avenue, ¼ mile north of the campground.

Registration Information

  • All sites are reservable online starting six months in advance of the check-in date. Sites are reservable beginning on November 15 for the following camping season.
  • The check-out time is noon. New check-ins cannot occupy your site until noon unless the site is vacant.

Camping Rules

  • Stays are limited to 14 days in a 30-day period.
  • Quiet hours are daily, 10pm to 6am. Please be considerate of others.
  • All tents and equipment must be set up on the camping pad.
  • There is a maximum of eight people per site.
  • All vehicles and RV campers must remain entirely on the pavement.
  • Bikes can be walked to the walk-in sites.
  • Pets must be caged, be in a tent or RV, or be on a leash (maximum length of six feet) at all times.
  • The National Park suggests that visitors use firewood from local suppliers to prevent the spread of invasive insects. There is a general store near the Dunewood Campground that sells firewood, and there is another firewood seller near the campground.

Do you have picnic areas?

Covered picnic shelters with tables are located at the following locations, along with modern restrooms. Cooking fires are permitted in the provided grills or an approved carry-in grill. An approved grill is a noncombustible container with an enclosed bottom and enclosed sides with a minimum depth of two inches. Charcoal must be cooled and safely disposed of in a noncombustible container or removed from the area.

Picnic tables are also provided at the Tolleston Dunes Overlook, Central Avenue Beach parking lot, Porter Beach parking lot, Pinhook Bog parking lot, Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, and the Paul H. Douglas Center. Note that cooking fires are not permitted at these locations.

Is there food available in the National Park?

There are no restaurants inside the park. West Beach has a concession stand inside the bathhouse seasonally. Dig the Dunes Trail Stop operates out of the concession window at Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk and serves pizza, snacks, wine, and beer.

National Park Programs

National Park Programs

Does the National Park offer programs for the public?

The National Park offers nearly 500 free public programs a year covering a wide range of interests and abilities. Upcoming programming can be found by calling or visiting the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center or online at the National Parks’ website and Facebook page.

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 Indiana Dunes Visitor Center or Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education for information and program materials. The Junior Ranger book can also be downloaded online. Other junior ranger programs are offered at special events. All programs are free. Children completing the junior ranger program earn a Junior Ranger badge or sticker.

How can I volunteer at the National Park?

The National Park has many ways to volunteer. Click here to learn more.

  • A Drop-In Volunteering Program is available. The National Park has drop-in volunteer projects on the third Saturday of every month.
  • Trash Trekkers, our litter clean-up program, is available every day. Just drop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center or Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education to get your trash bag and head out to the park. Once you fill your bag, return to the Visitor Center and receive a free Indiana Dunes water bottle as a reward for your service.
  • The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center also has volunteer opportunities. Email the visitor center’s Operations Director at [email protected] to learn more.

National Park Historical Sites

National Park Historical Sites

Are there historical sites the whole family would enjoy visiting?

Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm is a great place for both adults and children. The site includes an 1820s fur trading post and a 1900-era Swedish farmstead. Seasonally, farm animals inhabit the barn. Hiking trails of various lengths are available. The Maple Sugar Festival and Apple Festival take place there in the fall.

Where can I see the 1933 Chicago’s World Fair Century of Progress Homes?

The five homes are all located along Lake Front Drive in Beverly Shores and are within a block of each other. Interpretative signs along the road. Private families or individuals lease the homes and rehabilitate them, so please do not trespass on their properties. A tour of the homes takes place the last week of September. Tickets typically go on sale in August and sell out quickly.

National Park Stats

National Park Stats

What is the size of Indiana Dunes National Park?

  • 15,348 acres (2019).
  • 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.
  • 50 miles of hiking trails.
  • 37 miles of multi-use biking trails.
  • 6.8 miles of equestrian trails.

How many people visit Indiana Dunes National Park?

  • 2,134,285 visitors (2019).
  • Approximately 60 percent of visitors come from outside Indiana.

What makes Indiana Dunes National Park unique?

  • It is the fourth most biodiverse national park (1,960 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and vascular plants).
    • 1. The Smoky Mountains, 2. Grand Canyon, 3. Yosemite
  • There are four National Natural Landmarks
  • One National Historic Landmark
  • There are more than 50 structures on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Fens, bogs, marshes, pannes, creeks, woodlands, savannas, prairies, dunes, and beaches.
  • More than 225 known archeological sites represent 10,000 years of Native American use, the American fur trade, and Swedish immigration.
  • There are 46 species of mammals, 18 species of amphibians, 23 species of reptiles, 71 species of fish, and 60 species of butterflies.
  • There are more than 1,400 species of ferns and flowering plants, 28 species of orchids (more native orchid species than the state of Hawaii).
  • There are more than 350 species of birds that have been seen within the park (top five of all national parks).
  • At least 30 percent of Indiana’s listed rare, threatened, endangered, and special concern plant species have populations within the park.
  • The park shows the industrial juxtaposition of natural preservation and heavy industry. It is one of the few urban parks in the nation. The Indiana Dunes is a natural oasis tucked between industry. Near one of the top metropolitan areas, it is a gateway national park for the Midwest.

Can you tell me some basic facts about Indiana Dunes National Park?

  • Congress authorized the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on November 5, 1966.
  • There have been four land expansions (1976, 1980, 1986, 1992).
  • Congress authorized the park’s name change from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to Indiana Dunes National Park on February 15, 2019.
  • Indiana Dunes National Park is the closest national park to Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, and Milwaukee. It is closer to Detroit than Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.
  • Over 30 million people live within a three-hour drive of the park.
  • The South Shore Commuter Railroad has stops in the National Park: Miller, Ogden Dunes, Dune Park, and Beverly Shores.
  • The park is located very close to Interstates 65, 80, 90, and 94 as well as U.S. Highways 12 and 20.
  • The park has land in LaPorte, Porter, and Lake counties and within 15 cities and towns.

What is the park’s purpose?

The purpose of the Indiana Dunes National Park is to preserve, restore, and protect the outstanding ecological and biological diversity along with the geological features that characterize the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Also, it provides access for a large diverse population to experience natural, scenic open spaces with recreational, scientific, and historic features alongside inspirational and educational opportunities.

Where can I get more information about the National Park and surrounding area?

Indiana Dunes State Park FAQ

General Information

General Information

How do I get to the State Park?

Take State Rd. 49 North from Interstate 94 or the Indiana Toll Road. It leads straight into the park.

What are the State Park’s hours?

The park is open 7am to 11pm daily unless otherwise posted.

Is there a fee to get into the State Park?

The entrance fee is $7 for in-state vehicles and $12 for out-of-state vehicles. Annual passes are available. Admission is free on weekdays between November and mid-April.

Is alcohol allowed?

No.

Does the State Park have a lost and found?

Lost or found items can be reported at the park office.

Does the State Park have wheelchair-accessible locations?

The State Park has a balloon tire sand chair and two all-terrain power chairs that can be reserved from the Nature Center.

Are pets allowed?

Pets are not allowed on the State Park swimming beach; however, if they are on a six-foot leash, they can be on the other parts of the beach and anywhere else in the State Park.

Where can I find State Park maps?

Maps can be found online or by stopping by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Does the State Park have a carry in, carry out trash policy?

Yes. Please comply with the carry in, carry out trash policy. The State Park requests that you bring your trash out with you and dispose of it at home. There are trash receptacles available for overnight guests in the campground areas.

Can I bring my firearm to the park?

Any firearm (except lawfully possessed handguns), BB gun, air gun, CO2 gun, bow and arrow, paint gun, or spear gun in possession in any state park must be unloaded or un-nocked and stored in a case or locked within a vehicle, except when the owner is participating in an activity authorized by a written permit.

Where can I get more information about the State Park?

Visit their website or call 219-926-1952.

State Park Beaches & Trails

State Park Beaches & Trails

Where can I park my vehicle when visiting the beaches?

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, visitors can call the beach parking hotline at 219-395-1003 to hear an automated message with parking availability at each beach. The Indiana Dunes State Park has the most parking spaces of all the beaches. Due to its popularity, it often fills to capacity early on hot summer days. An alternative is West Beach in the Indiana Dunes National Park, which has about 600 parking spots and rarely fills to capacity.

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 visitors from entering the water, although they can still enjoy the beach and trails. Signs alerting the public about closures are placed at the main gate at 11am 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 for more information on rip currents and a local beach forecast map for rip current conditions along Lake Michigan and to visit in.gov and click on BeachGuard Online Monitoring Systems for E. coli closures and advisories. The nearby National Park also has an automated message visitors can access by calling 219-926-7561, followed by prompt #2 for information regarding E. coli levels.

Can I grill on the State Park beach?

The State Park only allows grilling at the pavilion in the grills provided. Grilling on the beach is not permitted.

Can I climb the dunes? Do all trails involve steep climbs?

Trails through the State Park vary in difficulty. 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. Mt. Tom is part of The 3 Dune Challenge, a 1.5-mile trail with 552 vertical feet to climb.

Are kayaks, canoes, or motorboats allowed in the State Park?

Kayaks and canoes can be put in at the far west side of the park. Personal motorized watercraft are not permitted.

Are all-terrain vehicles, motorized vehicles, or dune buggies allowed in the State Park?

No.

Is metal detecting allowed on the beach?

Metal detectors are allowed on the beach from September to May, with written permission from the property manager.

Camping, Lodging, & Food

Camping, Lodging, & Food

Does the State Park have a campground?

Yes, the State Park has a year-round campground with full electric and water hookups. All sites are reservable on the following website. The Indiana Dunes State Park Campground is very popular, and sites must be reserved months in advance for the summer season. There is a campground store. Camping elsewhere in the park is prohibited.

Is there lodging available?

There are no lodging facilities in the State Park, but there are many options available nearby.

Can I bring my own firewood into the State Park?

The state has a new policy that 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 DNR’s website for more information.

Can I gather limbs, brush, or wood for a fire from the surrounding areas?

No. Limbs, brush, and wood help rebuild the natural humus.

Is there food available in the State Park?

There are no restaurants inside the park. Various food trucks are on-site between 11am and 6pm during the summer.

State Park Programs

State Park Programs

Are there regularly scheduled education programs, and are there special programs for groups?

The State Park offers programs seven days a week in the summer and on weekends the rest of the year. A schedule is posted at the State Park. Programs are subject to change due to weather or other safety concerns. 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 State 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 the DNR’s website or call 219-926-1390 for more information. The tasks volunteers can do include pulling unwanted plants, beach cleanups, and weekend Nature Center staffing.

State Park Stats

State Park Stats

What is the size of the Indiana Dunes State Park?

  • 2,182 acres (2019).
  • Three miles of beach shore
  • More than 16 miles of hiking trails.

Where is the Dunes Nature Preserve?

The Dunes Nature Preserve is 1,530 acres and is located within the boundaries of the State Park.

What are some of the interesting natural features in the State Park?

  • Several areas with “living” or “moving” dunes are slowly being blown inland, burying forests as they go. A prime example can be seen on Trail 9.
  • “Tree graveyards” can be seen in the Big Blowout on Trail 10.
  • The State Park and surrounding areas are renowned throughout the Midwest for their birding opportunities. A birding tower is just west of the pavilion.

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