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Paddling & Exploring By Water

Our recipe for the perfect day? Just add coastlines, dunes, trails, and plenty of water. Luckily, there’s no shortage of lakes, creeks, and waterways to satisfy your inner aquaphile. Prepare your arms—and eyes—for mile after mile of majestic water routes, dune-lined shores, and stunning views of the surrounding communities. Take it easy and rent a boat, or bring your own watercraft and embark on an adventure over lake chains and lush parklands. Either way, it’s one of the best ways to get to know the Indiana Dunes area.

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Workout on the Kankakee River

Forget the dumbells and cable machines, the Kankakee River National Water Trail offers 85 miles of shoulder-burning, bicep-making paddling through county, state, and national parks. Feel the burn as you paddle around the bends and curves of this historic river, enjoy views of the surrounding wetland habitat, and stop to rest and refuel at any of the beautiful parks along the way. Whether traveling as a pair or solo, you’ll be in good company—these shores are home to a bounty of wildlife, including beavers, deer, and more.




Relax on the Valparaiso Chain of Lakes

Think of it as floating meditation. Feel your shoulders drop and your stress melt away as you dip your paddle into the serene water of the Valparaiso Chain of Lakes. Located on the north side of the city of Valparaiso, this extensive system of lakes, wetlands, smaller ponds, and streams is the perfect place to take a leisurely paddle between banks of wildflowers, rare migrating birds, and curious wildlife. Placid and private, find a moment (or two) of peace between tranquil Long Lake and the woodland lakes of the 122-acre Rogers Lakewood Park.



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Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm

These two historic sites sit nearly side-by-side. Bailly Homestead is named for Joseph Bailly, the first known non-native region resident, who set up…

618 N. Mineral Springs Rd., Porter

Bass Pro Shops

This 130,000 square-foot store has everything for outdoor enthusiasts, including boats, fishing gear, and hunting equipment. There is also a giant…

6425 Daniel Burnham Dr., Portage

Camp Stop General Store & Beach Stop

Located in the heart of the dunes, this store rents bikes, kayaks, and paddleboards.

2 W Dunes Hwy, Beverly Shores

Campbell Street Access

5502 Campbell St., Valparaiso

Deep River Water Trail

Running 16 miles from Lake George before emptying into Lake Michigan, Deep River’s width and calm current allows for easy navigation and provides…

Hobart, Lake Station, Gary, Hobart

Doyne’s Marine

This marina offers boat storage, docks, slip rentals, and a launch ramp. Launch fee includes parking for your towing vehicle.

1340 N. Crisman Rd., Portage

Dunbar Beach

Parking is limited at this prime spot near the Lake View Picnic Area and the historic Century of Progress homes. Enjoy this beautiful beach in a…

300 W. Lake Front Dr., Beverly Shores

Dunn’s Bridge County Park

You’ll find the only public boat access to the Kankakee River in Porter County at this park. An excellent spot to canoe or kayak, the river is…

500 East and the Kankakee River, Kouts

East Branch Little Calumet Water Trail

With significant stretches in both Indiana and Illinois, the Little Calumet River has helped link cities and towns throughout the Chicago region for…

Little Calumet River, Portage

East Chicago Marina

As one of East Chicago's most popular destinations, the Marina district is home to Boardwalk Grille & Banquet Center and Indiana Harbor Yacht Club.…

3301 Aldis St., East, Chicago

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More Outdoor Adventures


With 15 miles of award-winning shoreline to explore, nine oh-so-swimmable beaches, and many towering dunes, you’ll be enchanted by the magic of the Indiana Dunes.


Some things stick with us forever, just like riding a bike. Unforgettable vacation memories spent cruising miles of paved trail, off-road adventures, and rails to trails journeys are just to name a few.


We’ve been described as “for the birds,” and no, that isn’t an insult. The Indiana Dunes is a birders paradise. After all, where else can you see more than 350 native and migratory bird species in one place?


Fishing season? Try fishing seasons. With this many inland lakes, creeks, miles of shoreline, and deep waters, we’re hooked on the sport all year round.


Need a reason to get outside? We’ve got 15,000 of ‘em. That’s 15,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness to walk, climb, and hike through along old-growth forest floors, centuries-old paths, and starkly beautiful wetlands.


Take the time to wander and let your senses take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the Indiana Dunes. Explore gardens, parks, and other natural areas with serene settings.

Tales from the Dunes

The Indiana Dunes Blog

Did you know the Indiana Dunes has a 15-mile coastline with sandy beaches, more than 70 miles of hiking trails and more than 350 species of birds? Explore the latest and greatest tales from the dunes.


Dunes 101: How to Stay Safe in the Dunes

Check out these safety tips and guidelines about how to be a responsible visitor when enjoying the Indiana Dunes.


Accessible Adventures in the Indiana Dunes

Whether you’re looking to hike, bird, paddle, or just wander and take in the scenery, the Indiana Dunes area has many accessible adventures to offer.


More Things to See & Do

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