The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has long been considered a national treasure, but it gained even more recognition when it became a national park in 2019. Along with miles of Lake Michigan beaches and shoreline, this 15,000-acre haven offers wonderful ways to get out and enjoy nature. Inland from the lake, discover woodlands, rivers, bogs, and rich wetlands that are home to more than 350 species of birds, making this area one of the top birding spots in the nation, particularly in spring and fall.
But, of course, the dunes themselves are the unparalleled draw, offering an exhilarating experience to visitors of every age and ability. Some 16 miles of hiking trails pierce the park, with many winding up and over the dunes. Hikers who reach the top find breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. Hardy hikers take on the Three Dune Challenge, a 1.5-mile course climbing three of the tallest dunes. Others choose to stroll sandy stretches at their own pace.
A good place to start your adventure is at the Indiana Dunes National Park Visitors Center. You’ll find displays, maps, and orientation films. The park also offers ranger-led hikes and activities throughout the year.