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 spring flowers

Friendship Botanic Gardens

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

Purple Lupine Paul H. Douglas Trail

Indiana Dunes National Park

Surround yourself with spring wildflowers like the bright purple wild lupine on the Paul H. Douglas Trail in Gary’s Miller neighborhood, one of the many trails in the Indiana Dunes National Park. This trail features oak savannas, wetlands, and plenty 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! Make sure to give them a call to confirm open hours.

Gabis Arboretum Railway Garden - Carolyn Hricik

Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest

This nature preserve focuses on education, research, conservation and engagement with the natural environment. Gabis Arboretum in Valparaiso has beautiful trails to walk and interactive gardens that are fun for all ages. Check out the Railway Garden (Fri-Sun from May 1 to October 31) 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!

Cedar Lake Farmers Market produce

Farmers Markets

Throughout Northwest Indiana there are outdoor farmer’s markets offering fresh produce, locally made goods, yummy bites to eat and so much more. 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 at Kankakee Sands

Bison Viewing

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 grounds and view the herds 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. 

Fire Drill Charter Fishing - Lake Michigan

Charter Fishing

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. Find out why Lake Michigan provides "unnaturally" good fishing in our blog post here.

Bartlett's Fish Camp - outdoor dining in Michigan City

Patio Dining

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

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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