Don’t let the chilly air hold you hostage in your home! Get out and explore the South Shore’s outdoor adventures, culinary treats and winter activities. We’ve put together an A to Z list of things to do this winter.
- Arboretum - The South Shore has its very own arboretum – Gabis Arboretum at Purdue University Northwest with walking trails, wetlands, woodlands, and formal gardens; a beautiful place to visit any time of year.
- Brewery Trail - Visit one of the South Shore Brewery Trail stops for a new release, long-time favorite or award-winning beer this winter. Find a location near you, dining options and more by using the Brewery Trail App.
- Cat Cafe - Catch up at the Region Cat Cafe in Merrillville and visit with the cutest kitties along the south shore. Be sure to grab something to eat, drink, and enjoy a dessert during your visit.
- Dining Outdoors - Don’t just dine out, dine outdoors in a private, heated igloo at Fair Oaks Farms' Farmhouse Restaurant, Four Corners Winery or Provecho. If you just want to get a drink, there is also an enclosed igloo at Ironwood Brewing. Reservations must be made in advance.
- Events - Discover all kinds of events here, from holiday festivities and paint nights to live concerts and kids' fun.
- Fly Down a Snowy Hill - Sledding is a favorite pastime and a rite of passage growing up in the Midwest. Find your nearest sledding hill on our blog here.
- Geocaching - Get out and play! The Indiana Dunes National Park hosts a number of Geocaches and EarthCaches for you to find. Learn more here.
- Hiking - The Indiana Dunes and the surrounding areas offer hundreds of miles of trails that are beautiful covered in a blanket of white snow! If you’re up for a challenge, hike Trail 7 at the Indiana Dunes State Park – otherwise known as the 3 Dune Challenge.
- Ice Skating - Spend the afternoon showing off your skating skills at the rink at Crown Point's Bulldog Park, Valparaiso's Central Park Plaza or Fair Oaks Farms, weather permitting. Skate rentals are available onsite.
- Jasper-Pulaski - Witness one of the largest migrations of Sandhill Cranes at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area. Peak viewing for the crane migration is in November, but you can often find cranes socializing here. Make sure to bring your binoculars! More than 8,142 acres of wetlands and woodlands make this location ideal for not only migrating birds but for hunting and fishing as well.
- Kankakee Sands – More than 70 bison roam Kankakee Sands and graze on more than 1,100 acres of prairie. The bison viewing area is the best spot to learn more and see the bison herd. Walking paths are also available throughout the Kankakee Sands restoration area.
- Lake Michigan Shelf Ice - The beach isn't just beautiful in the summer, but also in the winter. When the temperatures drop, shelf ice will form on the waves that crash into the floating ice, mimicking the landscape of arctic regions. *Beware if you venture out to see the shelf ice do NOT walk on the ice. It is extremely dangerous!
- Make a Bet – May the odds be in your favor when you visit one of the South Shore’s four casinos! Play a hand of poker, spin the roulette wheel or place a bet at one of the new sports betting locations within the casino. Good luck!
- Nature - After a snowfall, you can spot animal tracks on a quiet walk in the South Shore. We recommend a trip to the Indiana Dunes or bird watching at Gibson Woods Nature Preserve. Call ahead and reserve their Private Bird Room on select Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Oink! - Pop in to Fair Oaks Farms for an adventure through modern-day farming including the Dairy, Pink and Crop Adventures.
- Photo Opportunities - Whether it’s a snapshot of Lake Michigan, the lighthouse in Michigan City or larger-than-life murals along the RenArtWlk, the South Shore’s photo ops are a great way to get out and explore.
- Quiet Walk - Venture outdoors for a reflective walk at the Indiana Dunes, Friendship Botanic Gardens, Gabis Arboretum or one of our walks to remember. Visit any one of these locations again in the spring to see wildflowers bloom!
- Rotblatt-Amrany Trail - This trail will take you through northwest Indiana and Chicagoland where you will find detailed works of art from the Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany. See Flick from the holiday movie classic, “A Christmas Story”, or sit with Orville Redenbacher in Valparaiso.
- Shopping - With all of the small shops throughout the South Shore, there are plenty of opportunities to find the perfect gift or even something for yourself! Visit our Shop Small blog to plan your day of shopping.
- Tea - Enjoy a cup of tea and scones at the Merrillville Florist and Tea Room. The Tea Room also serves brunch in a charming setting. Or stop into the locally owned Steamwhistle Coffee in Crown Point. They serve a variety of delicious drinks including chai tea lattes.
- Unique Stays - Make an escape right here in the South Shore at a private vacation rental by the beach, a room at the Brewery Lodge or a bed and breakfast! Find unique places to stay here.
- Veterans Memorial - Walk the self-guided trail at Community Veterans Memorial at your own pace. More than six acres feature bronze and granite sculptures depicting major military conflicts that shaped the 20th Century.
- Wineries - Whether you like deep reds or sparkling whites, you are sure to find your perfect blend along our South Shore Winery Trail.
- X-County Skiing - Go no further than one of Lake County’s parks for cross-country skiing. Lemon Lake, Stoney Run and Oak Ridge Prairie County Parks all offer trails perfect for skiers. Oak Ridge and Stoney Run offer ski rentals - please check ahead for availability.
- Young at Heart - Get in touch with your inner child (or let your kids tag along) to the South Shore’s very own candy factory - Albanese!
- Zap - Up Your Alley offers laser tag, cyber cars, arcades, axe throwing as well as bowling. Zap your opponent in laser tag, try to get a 300 score or jump in a cyber car to play Cyber Sport. Find more places to play indoors here.
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