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61 Things to Do at the Indiana Dunes

The Indiana Dunes, made up of the Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dunes State Park, is a popular destination for almost four million visitors each year. Starting in Gary, Indiana and stretching 25 miles east along the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Indiana Dunes provide an experience that's unique to Northwest Indiana. The 15,000 acres of land that make up the Indiana Dunes National Park are some of the most biologically diverse in the world!

In 2019, Indiana Dunes National Park (previously named Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore) became the nation’s 61st National Park! Celebrate this momentous occasion with one or all of these 61 activities at the Indiana Dunes:

Woman in sunglasses bicycling on an Indiana Bike Trail

  1. Explore the miles of walking paths and hiking trails.
  2. Grab your binoculars for rare and migrating bird sightings
  3. Pitch a tent and sleep under the stars.
  4. Pack a picnic

    Indiana Dunes Beach at sunset
     
  5. Make a splash in Lake Michigan. 
  6. Build sandcastles along 15 miles of shoreline. 
  7. Grab your sunscreen and relax on the sandy beaches

    Beaver swimming at the Indiana Dunes
     
  8. Look for wildlife
  9. Try to spot more than 1,100 native flowering plants and ferns.
  10. Enjoy a shuttle tour of the park (seasonal). 
  11. Set out on a ranger-led sunset hike. 
  1. Visit the Paul H. Douglas Center for activities and programs. 
  2. Gaze at the stars through telescopes (monthly programs). 
  3. Bike on paved or rugged trails.

    Kayaking Northwest Indiana
     
  4. Paddle on the Lake Michigan Water Trail. 
  5. Climb a sand dune.
  6. Discover some of the last surviving and highest quality oak savannas in the world.
  7. Take a scenic drive.

    Indiana Dunes Fall photograph by Larry A Brechner
     
  8. Peep the colorful leaves in the fall.
  9. Search for beach glass and shells.
  10. Fly a kite on a windy day.
  11. Immerse yourself in history at Chellberg Farm and Bailly Homestead.
  12. Surf the waves on Lake Michigan. 
  13. Check your coordinates and geocache

    Man Kayak Fishing at the Indiana Dunes
     
  14. Fish for coho salmon, trout, perch, bass and more.
  15. Set sail or launch your boat at a designated boat launch.  
  16. Snowshoe along the trails in the winter. 
  17. Spot an abundance of wildflowers in the spring and summer.
  1. Watch as rangers tap trees for maple syrup (spring). 
  2. Walk along Lake Front Drive to see the iconic Century of Progress Homes.
  3. Become a Junior Ranger. 

Apple Fest at Chellberg Farm - Indiana Dunes

  1. Mark your calendar for Apple Festival this fall.
  2. Experience “floating mats” of moss at Pinhook Bog on a ranger-led hike. 
  3. Make crafts or build forts at the Playdate in the Nature Play Zone.
  4. Walk your furry friends along miles of trails.
  5. Watch the sunrise over Lake Michigan.
  6. Enjoy a game of volleyball or toss a flying disc. 

    Symphony Orchestra at the Indiana Dunes
     
  7. Listen to the sounds of classical music during the Symphony concert.
  8. Give back and donate to the Dunes National Park Association.
  9. Protect the lands by picking up litter along your hike.

    Pinhook Bog Pitcher Plant
     
  10. Spot insect-eating plants.   
  11. Canoe through streams and rivers.
  12. Cross-country ski along your favorite trails.
  13. Saddle up for horseback riding along the Glenwood Dunes Trail. 

    Artist-in-Residence painting the Indiana Dunes
  14. Paint your favorite scenery.
  15. Ride the historic South Shore Line through the park.
  16. Strike a pose and tag us at #alongthesouthshore.

    Little girl watches the chickens at Chellberg Farm
     
  17. Feed farm animals at Chellberg Farm.
  18. Stroll through forests filled with maple, oak, beech, and black gum trees.
  19. Learn the difference between a bog and a fen.

    Shelf Ice Lake Michigan - Rafi Wilkinson
     
  20. Bundle up and view shelf ice from the shore.
  21. Observe herons, egrets, and beavers from the Observation Deck.

    Boy looking at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk
     
  22. Walk the 900-foot breakwater at Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk
  23. Shuffle your feet in the sand to hear it "sing."
  24. Visit the largest wetland complex in the Lake Michigan watershed.
  25. Paddle or fish along the Little Calumet River.
  26. Brush up on water safety at nps.gov/indu.

    Mount Baldy Winter Hike - Indiana Dunes
     
  27. Hike Mt. Baldy, the living dune, during a scheduled hike.
  28. Follow Indiana Dunes National Park on social media to enjoy the park anytime.
  29. Meet and talk with scientists during scheduled programming.
  30. Get your official National Park passport stamped!