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.

Header photo from Indiana Dunes National Park


  • 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. Please note the gardens are closed from December 23, 2021, to January 1, 2022. 

    A Chesterton Brewery beer awaits visitors along the  ​South Shore Brewery Trail.
  • 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.
  • Christmas Story - Visit the "A Christmas Story" Comes Home exhibit mid-November through December to see six animatronic window displays from Macy's Department Store in New York featuring different scenes from "A Christmas Story". 

    Friends enjoy laughter and drinks inside a Fair Oaks Farms heated igloos.
  • Dining Outdoors - Don’t just dine out, dine outdoors in a private igloo with views of the countryside at Fair Oaks Farms' Farmhouse Restaurant. There are also enclosed outdoor dining options at Ironwood Brewing and Byway Brewing. Reservations must be made in advance.
  • Explore - Set your GPS for somewhere new. Discover one of the South Shore’s historic sites, parks or rare landscapes of the Indiana Dunes.
  • Find the Perfect Gift - 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.
  • 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. If you’re up for a challenge, hike Trail 7 at the Indiana Dunes State Park – otherwise known as the 3 Dune Challenge.

    Open Skate at Bulldog Park in Crown Point
  • Ice Skating - Spend the afternoon showing off your skating skills at the rink at Crown Point's Bulldog Park or at Deep River Waterpark, weather permitting. Skate rentals are available onsite at both locations. 
  • 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.

    A herd of Bison brave the winter cold at Kankakee Sands restoration area.
  • 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.

    Shelf Ice Indiana Dunes - Rafi Wilkinson
  • 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. 

    RenArtWalk in Rensselaer
  • 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 GardensGabis 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.

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