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"A Christmas Story" Comes Home

Featuring six animated displays depicting scenes from "A Christmas Story" ...more

Water Trails

Adventurers can enjoy hundreds of miles of waterways in Northwest Indiana. Paddlers can experience no-wake lakes or the expansive waters along the South Shore of our Great Lake, Lake Michigan. Streams and rivers intersect throughout the Region, for quick trips or day-long adventures.

Enjoy hundreds of miles of blueways with numerous access points, many of which are ADA compliant from the Kankakee River in the south to Lake Michigan in the north.

Download a map of the South Shore’s trail systems, including waterways and hiking and biking trails below. Or call the Indiana Welcome Center at 800-ALL-LAKE to request a Blueways and Greenways Map.

Suggested kayaking and canoeing trips:

Little Calumet River

Calumet Water Trail

The Little Calumet River offers water trail options in Illinois, through Hammond/Gary and in Portage.

  • The Upper Little Calumet River in Illinois is great for beginners and follows a stretch of the upper Little Calumet River winding through South Holland, Harvey, Riverdale and Blue Island. Parking is available at the Little Calumet Boat Launch Preserve. Visit for suggested trips along the Illinois portion of the Little Calumet River.
  • For the West Branch stretch, visitors can park at the Indiana Welcome Center located at 7770 Corinne Drive in Hammond, to access the new launch site. Paddlers can travel to Gary while enjoying 40+ species of wildlife, like bald eagles, along the way.
  • The East Branch stretch runs from the National Lakeshore to the Lakefront Riverwalk in Portage. This 6-mile loop is channelized and is great for paddlers of all skill levels.

Cedar Lake

Cedar Lake

Take a tour around Cedar Lake, a predominately residential lake, in southern Lake County. Cedar Lake’s public access site is located on the north end of the lake at 7609 Lake Shore Drive in Cedar Lake. Visit for more information and special events happening around the lake. Parking is free at the launch site.

Deep River Hobart

Deep River Water Trail

The Deep River Water Trail offers 16 miles of trail with a number of access sites along the way. Stretches of this trail offer plenty of scenery and primitive shorelines. The trip will take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours and a parking area is available to the public at Deep River County Park.

Plan your trip along the Deep River Water Trail here.

Kankakee River

Kankakee River, A National Water Trail

Kayak or canoe along the Kankakee River, recently designated a National Water Trail, covering more than 130 miles from Indiana to Illinois. The Kankakee River is one of the cleanest rivers in the Midwest and there a number of launch sites along the route.

  • The Kankakee River’s Grand Waterway passes through the Kankakee State Park and meets with the Illinois River.
  • The Ancient Wetlands will take you from the Illinois state line and meanders through wetland habitat in Illinois.
  • The Wooded Channel portion is tree-lined and runs through a number of conservation areas and parks.
  • The Upper River is channelized, runs through farmland with little tree cover. Visit or for detailed information about paddling the Kankakee River.

Lake Michigan paddling

Lake Michigan Water Trail

The Lake Michigan Water Trail is the longest continuous-loop water trail in the world. Along Indiana’s border, paddlers can enjoy miles and miles of trail along Lake Michigan. Launches can be accessed from as far west as Whiting and as far east as Long Beach. Caution must be used when paddling near active beaches and around motorized watercraft.

  • Launch areas include: Whihala/Whiting, East Chicago, Marquette/Gary, Portage Lakefront Park, Porter Beach, Kemil Beach, Dunbar Beach, Lake View Beach, Washington Park/Michigan City and Long Beach.

LaPorte Lakes

Pine, Stone and Lily Lake are all a part of LaPorte’s Chain of Lakes that were left behind during the last ice age when the glaciers retreated.

  • Pine Lake is the larger and busy with boaters and jet skiers as it is a preferred recreational lake. Paddlers are encouraged to stay along the shore on Pine Lake.
  • Stone Lake has a 5 mph no-wake limit and offers a quieter and leisurely adventure. Like Pine Lake, Stone Lake features clear, sparkling waters.
  • Also nearby is Clear Lake, with a public access site and picnic areas at Fox Park.
Uniquely South Shore
Northwest Indiana’s very own candy factory boasts the world’s best gummies! Tour the factory and experience your favorites being made, see the world’s tallest chocolate waterfall and sample some of the best candies around!…more
What began as a local newspaper’s effort to tell the compelling stories of Northwest Indiana men and women who sacrificed during the Civil War has evolved into a large-scale historical preservation effort. The joint partnership of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority and the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project seeks to carry forward on hundreds of hours of community service that already have taken place. …more
Conveniently located between Chicago and Indianapolis, Fair Oaks Farms offers a fun family playground that everyone will enjoy! From the Dairy Adventure and Birthday Barn, to the Cheese Factory and Mooville, Fair Oaks Farms will keep the family entertained, and well-fed, for a full day of education and fun!…more
Experience the journey of the Passion of Christ as never before in this interactive trail featuring 40 life-sized bronze statues. Experience the various Stations of the Cross with audio descriptions as you walk the winding pathway.…more
With five different casinos, Northwest Indiana offers much excitement and action along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan! With decadent restaurants, world class entertainment and floors (and floors) of slots and table games, your night is just getting started when you test your luck at one of our casinos.…more
A breathtaking adventure awaits at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, home to a plethora of diverse natural resources. The National Park is comprised of more than 15,000 acres of sand dunes, bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, prairies, rivers, oak savannas, and woodland forests. It provides visitors with opportunities for bird watching, camping, 45 miles of hiking, fishing, swimming, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.…more
Pierogi Fest, the pride of Whiting, is an opportunity for the residents to celebrate their heritage while poking a little fun at themselves at the same time. The one of a kind parade and festival have received countrywide recognition having been featured on the Food Network and the Travel Channel.…more
This holiday season, The Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond will feature 6 animated displays featuring scenes from "A Christmas Story". The displays include: Higbee’s Department Store Window, Flick’s Tongue and the Triple Dog Dare, It’s a Major Award, Santa’s Mountain at Higbee’s, the Bumpus Hounds, and the Parker Living Room. The displays were first showcased in 2003 in the windows of the Herald Square Macy’s in New York City. …more
Heavy industry carried the South Shore economy for decades. Now, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority tells a story about a community: it’s been built by steel but changing from tourism. Northwest Indiana’s appeal is its devotion to ensure new & already existing businesses succeed. Area leaders have teamed together to revitalize the mill towns and make Northwest Indiana the place people want to live & work. …more
When a guest visits a hotel, restaurant, bank, or gas station, they rarely meet the manager or owner of the establishment. It's up to the front-line employee to make the customer's visit enjoyable.The R.O.S.E. Awards were created to recognize these "directors of first impression" who consistently work hard to make our lives easier. Guests & managers are able to nominate an employee who consistently "goes the extra mile."…more
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