South Shore Winter Getaway

Home of Indiana Dunes National Park

Plan a break from everyday life during a winter vacation along the South Shore of Lake Michigan. Discover the snowy landscapes of the Indiana Dunes, enjoy your favorite winter activities like ice skating and sledding, and check out holiday light displays. When you get too cold, head inside and let the kids explore the play centers or warm up while you try the creations of the local wineries, breweries, and restaurants.

Located in northwest Indiana, just a short drive from Chicago, the South Shore offers a relaxing, affordable destination to get away with family and friends.

Header photo credit: @agirlandherphotographs on Instagram

Kemil Beach Winter - Indiana Dunes National Park Service

Photo credit: National Park Service

Winter at the Dunes

The Indiana Dunes are beautiful any time of year, even in the middle of winter.

If freezing temperatures have been the norm for a while, shelf ice builds on the lake, forming beautiful formations you can view from safe locations near the shore. You can also hike along the miles of trails under snow-covered branches.

When there's plenty of snow, bring your own cross-country skis to trek across the beach and down paths. Sled down Devil's Slide at the state park or at West Beach in the national park.

Outdoor Winter Adventures

Winter weather in northwest Indiana can vary quite a bit day by day, and even by your location. Being along the South Shore of Lake Michigan can bring lake-effect snow throughout the region, usually heavier the farther east you are. When there's enough snow, head out for cross-country skiing or sledding. If there's just a dusting of snow or none at all, you can bundle up go for a hike or try ice skating.

Get Outdoors

Ice Skating

Enjoy the outdoors ice skating with family and friends. Too cold? You can skate indoors, too!


Sled down the hills at community parks, golf courses and Devil's Slide at Indiana Dunes State Park.

Kids at "A Christmas Story" Comes Home exhibit

Holiday Fun

Bring the family to "A Christmas Story" Comes Home in Hammond - an annual holiday exhibit that brings scenes from the film to life, including Santa's Mountain, where kids can slide down after getting some face time with ol' St. Nick himself. Find more events happening this winter here.

If you enjoy holiday lights, check out Harvest Tyme Family Farm for a walk-thru version the family will love with fire pits, hot cocoa, Christmas music and more!

Fair Oaks Farms Forest of Lights

Visit Fair Oaks Farms' Forest of Lights to see changing scenes of lights along with bonfires for making s’mores and stations to purchase warm drinks and adult beverages. They have a Holiday Market, too where you can pick up local jams, jellies, honey and crafts, poinsettias, stocking stuffers, Christmas decor and more. Discover even more holiday light displays in the region here.

Afterward, enjoy dinner in a private, heated igloo at their Farmhouse Restaurant. Don't forget to book one or more of their interactive farming adventures - pig, dairy or crop - offered all year long. For a chance to see everything Fair Oaks Farms has to offer, stay the night at the Fairfield by Marriott® onsite.


Shoreline Brewery burger and beer

Come Inside to Warm Up

When you're ready to warm up after a day outside, hop on the South Shore Brewery Trail or Winery Trail to experience the region’s finest local craft beers, wines, ciders and meads. Many of the locations offer delicious food options as well. If you prefer other spirits, visit one of the region's distilleries.

Northwest Indiana is also home to four casinos where you can test your luck.

Northwest Indiana Breweries banner with a flight of beers on a counter

Three bottles of white wine and three reds on either side of a wine glass full of corks

Three women smiling and laughing while playing games at a Northwest Indiana Casino

JAK's Warehouse Sky Trail

Adventures with the Kids

Create a fun adventure the kids will remember with even more activities they'll love. Taste fresh gummi bears and chocolates at Albanese Candy Factory. Expand your little ones' imaginations at Bellaboo's Play and Discovery Center. Spend a day with your family just playing games, climbing, bowling, jumping, and more at JAK's Warehouse, Sky Zone, or Up Your Alley. Discover what it takes to be a mascot with all kinds of interactive stations at Mascot Hall of Fame, or bowl the day away at Olympia Lanes

Up Your Alley seating and bowling alley area

Woman selling Sweets and Treats to kids at the Albanese Candy Factory


Places to Stay along Lake Michigan

Unique Places to Stay

When you're planning a relaxing getaway, finding the right place to stay can play a big role in making your experience more memorable. The South Shore is home to a number of unique bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals by the beach, and cozy inns. Find unique places to stay on our blog here.

If you would like to see if there's a hotel that's closer to places you plan to visit, there are plenty to choose from all across the region.

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