We’ve had our first snow and expected to get more this weekend! Will you be building a snowman, Christmas shopping, or curling up on the couch to binge-watch Netflix? If you’re feeling adventurous take a look at these ten, great spots to enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing and ice skating this season.
1. Indiana Dunes National Park
1100 N. Mineral Springs Road, Porter
Snow covered dunes are fantastic fun in the winter! Grab your sled (snowshoes, cross-country skis or hiking boots) to enjoy some time outdoors at the national park. You can also witness a beautiful natural occurrence at the dunes in the winter - shelf ice! Find safe viewing locations of shelf ice here.
2. Indiana Dunes State Park
1600 N. 25 E., Chesterton
The Indiana Dunes State Park is home to Devil’s Slide, and with a name like that, you know it’s going to be fun! You can also hike, cross-country ski and snowshoe at the State Park, if you want to take a break from sledding.
3. Lake County Fairgrounds
889 S. Court Street, Crown Point
Growing up in Lowell, this was one of my family’s go-to sledding hills. I can’t wait to go back this year; it’s easy to get to and parking is free.
4. Lemon Lake County Park
6322 W. 133rd Avenue, Crown Point
Lemon Lake offers not only sledding hills, but also trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. Don’t own your own skis? Not a problem. You can rent them Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
5. Lost Marsh Golf Course
1001 129th Street, Hammond
When Lost Marsh Golf Course closes, the sleds and skis come out. Visitors are asked to check in at the club house upon arrival before they take to the course for some fun.
6. Sunset Hill Farm
775 Meridian Road, Valparaiso
Enjoy hiking among the 230+ acres and sliding down the hills at Sunset Hill Farm County Park. Bring your own equipment and enjoy sledding and hiking from dawn to dusk.
7. Oak Ridge Prairie
301 S Colfax St. Griffith
Sled down one of the largest hills in Northwest Indiana, or cross-country ski through an easy three-mile trail through Oak Ridge! The same rules apply for this park as Lemon Lake when it comes to sled requirements. There are also no rentals here so make sure to bring your own sleds and skis.
8. Stoney Run County Park
9230 E 142nd Ave., Hebron
Stoney Run contains seven miles of easy to moderate trails for cross-country skiing that wind through a wooded and hilly area as well as flat open spaces. Keep in mind, this course is designed for intermediate to advanced skiers!
Don’t stop at sledding! Enjoy ice skating in the region as well.
9. Central Park Plaza
Ice skating at Valparaiso's Central Park Plaza is $5/person and offers skate rentals. The plaza is open seven days a week (hours vary). Fridays feature Rock’n Skate from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Tuesdays are Two for Tuesdays! Visit online for hours of operation and rental fees.
If you really want to stay away from the cold and the ice this winter, here are some places you might want to visit!
Albanese Candy Factory
5411 East Lincoln Hwy., Merrillville
Albanese is definitely a sweet treat in the Midwest and always a fun family trip! Whether you want to browse the store in search of the most interesting flavors, or simply find your favorite comfort candy you will be amazed at what there is to offer. They also do factory tours both guided and self-guided, just call to make an appointment!
Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center
2800 Colorado St., Lake Station
Do you have a little one ages 9 or under? Watch them have a ball at Bellaboo’s where they can create, engage, and explore with daily activities and interactive fun!
“A Christmas Story” Comes Home
Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Dr., Hammond
Head over to the Indiana Welcome Center to see the animated window displays inspired by “A Christmas Story,” take pictures with Flick outside, write a letter to Santa at the North Pole, and get some Christmas shopping finished at the gift shop!
Whatever your plans for this winter, make sure to have fun and enjoy your time with friends and family! Don’t forget to follow Along the South Shore on social media and tag #AlongTheSouthShore so we can see all the fun you’re having.