Kemil Beach Aerial An aerial view of blue water along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan. Beyond the sand are green trees.

The Indiana Dunes Entry Fees Explained

 

Two Parks. One Destination.

The Indiana Dunes is made up of two different parks—the Indiana Dunes National Park and the Indiana Dunes State Park. The Indiana Dunes State Park spreads over 2,000 acres with a swimming beach, nature center, and over 16 miles of hiking trails. The Indiana Dunes National Park is located on both the east and west sides of the state park. It’s a 13,000-acre preserve stretching 15 miles along the coast of Lake Michigan. The park has hiking trails, beaches, and some pretty amazing historical sites. Each park requires a different entry fee or pass to visit. We know it can be confusing, so we’re going to explain the different pass options in the blog below.

The Indiana Dunes National Park Fees ExplainedIndiana Dunes National Park

The Indiana Dunes State Park sits in the middle of the Indiana Dunes National Park, which is only partially shown on this map.

Indiana Dunes National Park Entry Fees

Starting March 31, 2022, the Indiana Dunes National Park will have an entrance fee at all beaches, trails, and other park sites. The national park system’s current annual pass, the America the Beautiful Pass, will be accepted, but there are a variety of other cheaper options as well.

  • Indiana Dunes National Park Pass: $45/year
  • America the Beautiful Annual Pass (entrance to over 2,000 federal recreation sites): $80/year
  • Walk-in, bike-in, boat-in 1-7 day pass: $15 individual/$25 family
  • 1-7 day vehicle pass: $25 per carload/$20 per motorcycle
  • Commerical bus: up to $100

Indiana Dunes State Park Entry Fees

The Indiana Dunes State Park charges a daily fee, but an annual state park permit can be purchased as well. The state’s annual permit gives access to any of the 32 Indiana state parks that have a gate fee.

  • In-state annual pass (entrance to all Indiana State Park sites): $50
  • Non-resident annual pass (entrance to all Indiana State Park sites): $70
  • In-state daily pass: $7
  • Non-resident daily pass: $12

 

Map and fee structure of the Indiana Dunes National Park

Still not sure which Indiana Dunes National Park pass is right for you?

Still wondering which pass you should buy to visit the Indiana Dunes National Park? Here are some scenarios that may help you decide which option is best for you.

If you want to visit multiple national parks throughout the year:

We recommend the America the Beautiful Pass for $80 a year. This can be used at over 2,000 federal recreation areas, including the over 420 national parks across the country. The pass is available for purchase now at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, Paul H. Douglas Center, or online. During the summer, the pass will also be available for purchase at West Beach. If you purchase the pass in person rather than online, the funds will go directly to supporting the Indiana Dunes National Park!

Car driving down a curvy road with water in the background. A road trip sign is visible in the front.

If you’re only interested in visiting the Indiana Dunes National Park this year:

If you’re absolutely sure you won’t be visiting any park besides the Indiana Dunes National Park, we recommend the cheaper option—the $45 Indiana Dunes National Park Annual Pass. This pass can be used at all of the Indiana Dunes National Park beaches, trails, and other sites. The pass will be available for purchase starting March 31, 2022, at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, Paul H. Douglas Center, or online. During the summer, the pass will also be available for purchase at West Beach.

A view of the water from a sandy hill

If you’d like to visit the Indiana Dunes National Park for just a day:

We recommend one of the 1-7 day passes. If you walk, boat, or bike into the park, it costs $15 for an individual or $25 for a family. If you drive into the park, the cost is $25 per carload and $20 per motorcycle. You can visit as many Indiana Dunes National Park sites as you’d like with these passes and they are good for up to seven days.

Couple sitting on the beach near the water

If you’d like to visit the Indiana Dunes National Park for more than one day:

We recommend one of the 1-7 day passes. If you walk, boat, or bike into the park, it costs $15 for an individual or $25 for a family. If you drive into the park, the cost is $25 per carload and $20 per motorcycle. You can visit as many Indiana Dunes National Park sites as you’d like with these passes and they are good for up to seven days.

Several young people are sitting in lawn chairs in front of a tent

If you are 62 years of age or older:

We recommend the national park service’s lifetime Senior Pass. This pass can be used at all national park sites in the country. You can purchase the lifetime Senior Pass at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

An older man and women sitting on the beach under a colorful umbrella

If you’re visiting on a commercial bus:

There is a special commercial bus pass that costs is up to $100.

What if I already have a different pass not listed above?

There is no new entry fee if you hold one of the following passes:
  • Veterans, Military, and Gold Star Family Pass
  • 4th Grade Pass
  • Access Pass (for permanent disability)
  • Volunteer Pass

See the Indiana Dunes National Park website for more details on the new fees.

Have more questions?

Lorelei Weimer sat down with Bruce Rowe, Supervisory Park Ranger at the Indiana Dunes National Park to ask about the new entrance fees.

Hopefully, this has helped explain the different fees at the two Indiana Dunes parks. We can’t wait for you to visit and hope to see you on the beaches and trails soon!