The snow is melting, the flowers are blooming outside, and the sun is peeking out from the chilly winter clouds. Spring is full of hope and excitement and what better way to take it all in than exploring the beautiful green gardens and outdoors along the south shore of Lake Michigan.

Friendship Botanic Gardens

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Friendship Botanic Gardens spring flowers

Open to the public from May through. October, Friendship Botanic Gardens is perfect for a walk outside to take in the blooming flowers and see wildlife roaming the area. There are many different gardens that you can explore such as the international gardens, rose garden and children’s garden. Each one has its own unique history! Memberships are available for Friendship Botanic Gardens if you want to roam year-round.

Indiana Dunes

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Purple Lupine Paul H. Douglas Trail

Surround yourself with spring wildflowers like the bright purple of wild lupine on the Paul H. Douglas Trail in Gary’s Miller neighborhood. This trail features oak savannas, wetlands and tons of wildlife out and about. The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is located at the trailhead and offers a space to learn about the surrounding environment and frequently has learning programs for all ages! Check out this blog about the new admission prices at the Indiana Dunes National Park.

Gabis Arboretum

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Gabis Arboretum Valparaiso - Railway Garden

This nature preserve focuses on education, research, conservation and engagement with the natural environment. Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest has beautiful trails to walk and interactive gardens that are fun for all ages. Check out the Railway Garden to see many model trains chugging their way through the tiny villages and dwarf plants, or the Adventure Garden to learn about gardening and composting! Read more about Gabis on our blog here.

Farmers Markets

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Cedar Lake Farmers Market produce

Throughout Northwest Indiana, there are outdoor farmer’s markets offering fresh produce, locally made goods, yummy bites to eat and so much more from mid-May through fall. Many of these markets also feature live music or other artists, which makes it perfect to spend a morning or evening outdoors this spring. You can find a farmer’s market near you here.

Bison Viewing

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Bison viewing at Kankakee Sands

If you have ever wanted to see a bison up close, our area is home to two herds that are breathtaking to see! Kankakee Sands has a viewing area to watch these beautiful animals roam the grounds year-round. Hobart, Indiana is also home to Broken Wagon Bison where you can get tours of the herd in the summer.

Lost Marsh with Clubhouse

Whether you want to perfect your swing, work on your par, or just have fun, book a tee time at Lost Marsh Golf Course! Located along Wolf Lake and Lake George in Hammond, you will have beautiful views of the water while you golf. 

Charter Fishing

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Fire Drill Charter Fishing - Lake Michigan

Take to the waters and fish with one of Lake Michigan’s charter fishing captains. Indiana North Coast Charter Association can take you and your friends out on the water in search of Lake Michigan’s abundant salmon and trout which thrive in the spring months. Learn more about the salmon in Lake Michigan in our blog post here.

Shrine of Christ's Passion

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Shrine of Christ's Passion walking path

Take the journey featuring 40 life-size bronze sculptures depicting the Passion of Christ at the Shrine of Christ's Passion. With their new Lady of Guadalupe Plaza open, there is no better time to take a walk along the path this spring to see the beautiful addition.

Patio Dining

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Bartlett's Fish Camp - outdoor dining in Michigan City

There is something about eating outside that makes food taste better! Luckily with spring bringing warmer weather, we can eat outdoors more often at a region restaurant. Check out our website for a full list of outdoor dining options near you.

Winery and Brewery Tours

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Running Vines Winery couple

Gather your friends or family and plan a day full of sips along the South Shore including breweries, wineries and distilleries. If you need transportation, check out Epic Limo or The Brew Bus by Brewery Lodge to get you around safely.

​No matter how you decide to spend the beautiful spring days ahead, share your experiences with us using #AlongtheSouthShore to be featured on our social media pages.

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