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Lake Michigan Adventures Draw Water Lovers To Michigan City

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Picture a postcard-perfect scene of fishing charters heading out from marinas along the shore and pleasure craft skimming blue Lake Michigan waters. Add to the panorama a sublime stretch of sandy beach bordering the lake, where swimmers dive in and kitesurfers float above the waves. An iconic pier and lighthouse stand guard over the whole scene. You’ve arrived at Michigan City, Indiana, a gem of a community centrally located in the heart of the Midwest just an hour from Chicago, with every type of adventure on and in the water you can imagine. 

In a town known as the Coho Capital of the World, visitors experience the thrill of reeling in the big ones on fishing adventures operated by licensed captains. Gleaming excursion boats offer all types of outings, some with entertainment and others with special features such as a chance to watch a magnificent Lake Michigan sunset while you cruise. Bringing your own boat or coming to town by boat? Marinas rent slips for a day, week, or more.

For vacationers bent on adventure, high-speed powerboat jaunts, kiteboarding, and kayaking rule. Back on shore, the sandy perfection of two-mile-long Washington Park Beach creates a haven for swimming, sunning, strolling, and sunset viewing. 

charter fishing

Attention all anglers! For those who dream of reeling in some gargantuan fish, a day on Lake Michigan with a licensed captain will make those longings a reality. Some 15 charters operate out of Michigan City, taking groups on excursions to catch the big ones – Coho, Trout, King Salmon, Steelhead, and more. The seasoned professionals who operate the charters show passengers just what to do and provide all the equipment – bait, licenses, lures, poles, plus cleaning the catch at the end of the trip.  

fishing tourneys

What would catching Lake Michigan’s prize Coho and other large fish be without sharing your stories and even participating in some friendly competition? The Hoosier Coho Club has one branch for adults and another for youth 13 to 18 years old, with tournaments scheduled throughout the season (upcoming May 25, July 13, and August 17 in 2024). The group is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of Lake Michigan sport fishing. People can join by mail for $25 a year. 

boat tours

Get out on Lake Michigan with a wide range of options from Harbor Country Adventures that will definitely “float your boat.”

Classic Lake Tour – Hop aboard the sleek Emita II for a gentle, scenic cruise on Lake Michigan where you can take in breathtaking views of the sandy shoreline and towering Indiana Dunes from the water. 

Riding with a Ranger Tour – Nature lovers rave about this 90-minute jaunt, perfect for families. An Indiana Dunes National Park Ranger fills you in on the natural world of both lake and shore. Kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge as well. 

Sunset Cruise – The sun setting on Lake Michigan is an incredible sight that draws numerous people to the shore for the nightly show. Watching from the water makes for an even more magnificent experience and a super way to end the day.

Sea Rocket Adventures – For those with a need for speed, this fast-paced ride is the speediest of its kind on Lake Michigan. Watch the sights fly by from this gleaming powerboat. 

Saturday Night Party Cruise – Party on with dancing, a DJ, and full bar. 21 and over only.

Fireworks Cruises – Thrill to watching Independence Day fireworks from the water on special cruises July 3 for the show up the shoreline in New Buffalo, Michigan, and July 4 for Michigan City’s own display. 

Water Sports

Kayaking – For those whose passion is paddling, hitting Indiana’s 75-mile portion of the 1,638-mille Lake Michigan Water Trail is a must. The trail stretches entirely around the Great Lake, with Indiana’s portion extending from just south of Chicago to the Michigan border. The route features scenic views of sandy beaches, towering dunes, and forested bluffs. You can rent a kayak from Harbor Country Adventures in Michigan City and access the trail at Washington Park. 

Kiteboarding – Got a taste for some windblown action above the waves? Kiteboarding, also known as kitesurfing, lets participants ride the waves and then rise above them on a surfboard powered by wind and a kite. Kiteboarders are attached to a large steerable kite by a harness, allowing them to safely zoom up and away. Stoke Riders, with a main office now a few miles away in St. Joseph, Michigan, will meet you in Michigan City and provide both equipment and lessons.  

Jet Skiing – For a great adrenaline rush, nothing beats setting your own speedy pace with a wave runner. Zooming along the shore and out into the deep puts you at one with Lake Michigan. Harbor Country Adventures rents Yamaha Wave Runners, as well as standup paddleboards for a more placid experience. 

Beaching It – Sometimes vacationers just need a break from the action. Washington Park’s lakeside beach in Michigan City provides a perfect place for lolling away a warm summer day. Two miles of powder-soft sand invite swimmers, sunbathers, beachcombers, and sandcastle-builders to the Lake Michigan shore. Adding to the summertime scene, the 1904 East Light stands like a guardian just offshore, and strollers love to walk the long pier for a first-hand view. Tree-shaded Washington Park backs the beach with picnic tables, concessions, and activities. 

Marinas

Whether vacationers are arriving by boat or bringing their boat along, they will have no problem docking them when it’s time to go ashore to take advantage of the many tourism opportunities Michigan City offers. 

The Michigan City Port Authority welcomes both pleasure boaters and the fishing community to three marinas, open April through October – Washington Park, Trail Creek, and Sprague Point. The Washington Park and Trail Creek marinas offer overnight and monthly rentals, while Sprague Point features monthly rentals only. All three feature fueling docks and a free pump-out with a fill. Washington Park has a laundry facility, and both Washington Park and Trail Creek contain modern, air-conditioned bath houses. 

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