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Tag - Family Fun

Looking to spend the remainder of your good summer days outside?  I was lucky enough to stumble upon one of the best hidden-gems in Northwest Indiana, the Gabis Arboretum. Tucked away in southern Valparaiso, driving around the area you wouldn’t expect to find six miles of gorgeous hiking trails anywhere near you. Spending most of my hiking time at the Indiana Dunes National Park, it didn’t occur to me that there was a secret oasis right in my backyard. 


Photo: Butterfly Day at Kankakee Sands by Leigh Littiken

We all know that getting out in nature is great for our health, but sometimes our busy schedules make it difficult to find the time to get our “green time”. Fear not, it’s really much easier that you might think – because green time is all around you!

Getting you green time is truly as simple as standing outside and noticing the nature around you. No batteries, tools or fancy footwear required.


Nothing feels more like fall than walking outside on a cool, crisp morning to find hints of orange and yellow leaves scattered throughout the green trees. No matter how cold it will be soon, I still love every bit of fall and everything that comes with it. Bring on all the apple-cinnamon donuts, pumpkin beer, apple picking, and haunted houses, because it is spooky season!


There are few sights I enjoy more than the perfect pink and purple sunset. Now picture that sunset over the dunes. Now picture that sunset over the dunes with the Northwest Indiana Symphony playing live in the background. Now put a Mother Wilma’s s’more in your hand and you have one happy concertgoer. There was about 2,000 happy concertgoers all enjoying a similar experience at the Symphony at the Dunes Concert at West Beach this summer. 


I never knew that Gabis Arboretum existed and oh man have I been missing out! This 300-acre preserve is packed with a variety of trails, gardens, woodlands, prairies, and wetlands. When I told my sister I was interested in exploring this place, she got excited because she had been there a few times with her students. She could not believe I did not know about it! We decided to make the drive out to Valparaiso on a Thursday afternoon with the dog. I was immediately impressed with the preserve right off the bat. Driving through the entrance feels like you are passing into a fairy world. The Active Times said this place is the most romantic place in Indiana and I would have to whole-heartily agree.


There has been a lot of rain in this area these past two months. A lot of rain. Outdoor adventures I’ve been wanting to go on had to be put on hold. My poor dog has been so bored of late because of this. So, when I woke up last Saturday morning to sunshine, I had to take advantage of the nice summer weather. One of my favorite things to do with my dog is to go hiking and so we choose the Lemon Lake County Park in Crown Point, Indiana as our designation. 


Nothing gets us in the summer spirit more than celebrating Independence Day in Northwest Indiana with fireworks, food trucks and live music! Get the family together for one of the many events happening this week to celebrate the 4th of July.


Break out the sleeping bags, grab the marshmallows, pack your tent or hop in the RV, it’s camping season in northwest Indiana! It is time to get together with friends and family around the campfire, go on early morning trail walks, relax on the lake and roast some weenies. I know I’m excited for burnt marshmallows and lake days and have already started planning my camping trip. 

Here are a few campground options in northern Indiana to get your camping trip planning started, including two within the Indiana Dunes.



This week, May 5-11, 2019, is National Travel and Tourism Week! Wednesday, May 8th, is Wayback Wednesday which is a day to celebrate Indiana’s historical destinations. To honor #WayBackWednesday here are 9 historical places around our area, many you can visit year-round.