Summer may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the fun or the outdoors have to stop! This is the perfect time to get outdoors and explore the natural areas in the Region. From the shores of Lake Michigan and formal gardens to fall foliage and outdoor events there is plenty to do as the seasons change.

Indiana Dunes by Pete Doherty

The Indiana Dunes don’t just offer swimming and sunbathing opportunities; there are miles of dunes to hike and wetlands to explore. Grab your hiking shoes or your bike and enjoy the trails that span the lakefront. Head out on the Dune Succession Trail at West Beach to see views of Chicago’s skyline or cruise Lake Front Drive in Beverly Shores to see the five Century of Progress Homes that were transported to the lakefront community after the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.

Railway Garden at Taltree Arboretum

The Rail Garden at Taltree Arboretum will be open until October with trains running from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Rail Garden covers nearly one acre of land and boasts six water features, more than 500 plant varieties and 30 bridges! The garden tells the story of America’s steam engine history, expansions west and the industrial revolution. You can easily spend an entire afternoon enjoying the formal gardens, wildlife and trails within Taltree Arboretum and Gardens.

Lemon Lake County Park - Disc Golf

Grab a Frisbee and enjoy an exciting outdoor game of disc golf at Lemon Lake County Park. The park’s disc golf course is the largest in the nation with six total courses. Families can also enjoy primitive hiking trails, playgrounds and picnic areas while pet owners can enjoy the huge leash-free dog park.

Friendship Botanic Gardens

Take a self-guided walking tour at Friendship Botanic Gardens in Michigan City, a destination that is off the beaten path but has been around since 1936. You can enjoy 100 acres of land that feature walking trails and garden tours. Friendship also offers special events throughout the year – Polish Fest in Sept, Haunted Trails & Ghost Stories in October and Thanksgiving Turkey Walk in November.

Edge Adventures Deep River by Brian Niksch

It’s not too late to enjoy the Region’s newest attraction: Edge Adventures at Deep River. The treetop ropes courses and zip lines are a great way to enjoy an afternoon with friends and family. A kids’ course ensures the little ones (ages 4 and up) can enjoy a challenge closer to the ground. The aerial park will add haunted elements in October.

If you go:

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: 1100 N. Mineral Springs Road, Porter www.nps.gov/indu
Taltree Arboretum & Gardens: 450 W. 100 North, Valparaiso; www.taltree.org
Lemon Lake County Park: 6322 W. 133rd Avenue, Crown Point; www.lakecountyparks.com
Friendship Botanic Gardens: 2055 East U.S. Highway 12, Michigan City; www.friendshipgardens.org
Edge Adventures at Deep River: 9001 E. Lincoln Highway, Crown Point; www.edgeadventureparks.com