Visitors to this surprising corner of Northern Indiana can count on adventures and activities that put LaPorte County in a class by itself. The boundless, shimmering waters of Lake Michigan provide endless opportunities for escapades in, on, and next to the shores of this Great Lake, which laps the Washington Park beach in Michigan City. Inland waters abound to the south in the community of LaPorte, with its distinctive chain of lakes, just made for fishing and watery fun.
When you explore this intriguing destination, you’ll discover so much: lighthouses… sand dunes… lively history… extreme powerboat and jet ski races to watch… loads of unique cottage, cabin, and lodging rentals… all adding up to a vacation like no other.
Lake Michigan BlissSunning, swimming, and sandcastle-building on the two-mile stretch of primo beach at Michigan City’s Washington Park makes for a supreme day. But don’t miss these one-of-a-kind opportunities too!
Hit the LakeCharter Fishing – Reel in Coho or Chinook salmon, Lake Michigan’s prize catches, on a full- or half-day jaunt with a professional captain who provides all the equipment and teaches you all the tricks.
Cruises – Leisure cruises, high-speed adventures, or a full-fledged onboard dance party are in store on one of the numerous Lake Michigan outings from Harbor Country Adventures in Michigan City.
Kayaking – Paddling Indiana’s 75-mile portion of the Lake Michigan Water Trail provides astonishing views of soft sand beaches, towering dunes, and forested bluffs. Access the trail from Washington Park.
Kitesurfing – Get stoked to skim the water and soar above Lake Michigan with a surfboard at your feet and a kite at your back. Take a lesson and rent equipment from Stoke Riders in Michigan City for a go at this extreme sport.
Explore the ShoreMichigan City East Light – Walk the long pier to this 1904 beauty, Michigan City’s most famous icon and the only operating lighthouse in Indiana.
Old Lighthouse Museum – Visit the tower/lantern room, see a Fresnel lens up close, and learn all about famous shipwrecks at this fascinating museum housed in an original 1858 lighthouse.
Washington Park Zoo – Visitors interact with some 90 different species of animals at this beloved zoo next to Lake Michigan. Kids love watching otters swim by in a see-through tunnel and visiting the petting barn. Climb to the WPA tower for sweeping views.
Love the LaPorte Lakes
The unique Lakes of LaPorte Water Trail in the community of LaPorte provides endless options for recreation, including swimming, fishing, paddling, and all types of water-related activities. Here’s a breakdown:
Pine Lake – The lake is known for its great fishing and clear-water swimming. Soldiers Memorial Park adjoining the lake features a beach, lifeguards, and playground. Marinas rent pontoons, fishing boats, jet skis, and more.
Stone Lake – Swimmers love the clear water and sandy bottom of this lake, also a great spot for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.
Smaller Lakes – Anglers ready to drop a line for crappie, bluegill, and more head for the quieter, more undeveloped lakes – Fishtrap, Hudson, Horseshoe, Lily, Clear, Lower, Orr, and Crane. The waters are popular with kayakers and canoers too.
Rev Up for the Races
Grab a seat on the shore for some high-speed races across the waves that set hearts thumping and fans cheering.
XINSURANCE Great Lakes Grand Prix, Aug. 2-6, Washington Park, Michigan City – Powerful offshore boats zoom across the waters at incredible speeds in one of the few and largest offshore boat races on the Great Lakes. On shore, live entertainment, a boat parade, and more activities round out the weekend.
Michigan City AquaX Grand Prix, Michigan City, July 8 and 9 – P1 AquaX jet skiers zoom across Lake Michigan waters just off Washington Park as top riders battle. Also enjoy food, brews, and bands.
LakeFest LaPorte AquaX Grand Prix, July 28-30, LaPorte – Watch exciting jet ski racing in both stand-up and sit-down competitions on Stone Lake, then stick around on the beach for live music and fireworks.
Sand Dune ExtravaganzaJust west of Michigan City, Indiana Dunes National Park and neighboring Indiana Dunes State Park offer unparalleled opportunities to get in touch with a wonder of nature – the spectacular Indiana Dunes, where mountains of sand rise from blue Lake Michigan waters. Get ready for a host of novel activities:
Climb Mt. Baldy – Park rangers lead excursions up this 126-foot tall peak, known as a “living dune” because it shifts and moves every year. The sweeping view of Lake Michigan from the top makes the climb worth the effort.
Hike forested trails – Some 50 miles of hiking trails meander through the dunes and inland to deep woodlands, marshes, meadows, and bogs. The park is known as one of the nation’s top birding spots.
Beach It – Spend the day lolling on one of eight beaches within the park and relishing swims in Lake Michigan. Mt. Baldy Beach and Central Beach are popular.
Camp Out – Make the national park’s Dunewood Campground your home base. With 66 sites, including drive-in, walk-in, and handicapped accessible, the campground features modern restrooms and showers.
Flash from the PastRailroads and racy cars, a murdering missus, firearms and a famous orchard – they’re all part of LaPorte County’s fascinating history. Live it!
Hesston Steam Museum, Hesston – Relive the golden age of railroads by hopping aboard one of three operating steam-powered trains at this amazing living history venue which also features a blacksmith shop, other antique equipment, and a restaurant.
LaPorte County Historical Society Museum, LaPorte – Explore the county’s fascinating past at this stunning museum, where you’ll learn about a notorious murderess, view vintage cars (including a DeLorean), find out what pioneer life was like, and see one of the world’s largest collections of antique guns. A historic red round barn sits outside.
Garwood Orchards, LaPorte – Carpenter John Garwood founded a legend when he moved to LaPorte County in 1831 and took up farming. Six generations later, his descendants are still at it, growing 20-plus varieties of apples and a host of fruits and vegetables at their U-pick and ready-pick operation, complete with scrumptious cider, donuts, pies, and a host of activities.
Stay Your WayWhatever your pleasure – hotel with pool, beach cottage with dock, expansive home large enough for extended family, you’ll find it here. LaPorte County ranks third in the entire state of Indiana for most online vacation rental offerings.
Beachwalk Vacation Rentals – This beach resort company offers numerous lodging options, many along or near Lake Michigan, ranging from cozy cottages for couples and families to expansive homes that can accommodate a large group. Many include everything you need for your stay, such as fully equipped kitchens.
Unique Possibilities – Cozy inns, bed-and-breakfasts, pet-friendly accommodations, chain hotels, and more can be found in LaPorte County. Go to https://www.michigancitylaporte.com/lodging-page/ for additional information.