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- 61 Things to Do at the Indiana Dunes
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- History of the Indiana Dunes
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Indiana Dunes Status Update: While many of the trails, beaches and parking lots are open they will close if they become overcrowded and the state's social distancing guidelines are not adhered to. Please do your part to keep these amazing opportunities for outdoor recreation open for everyone.
West Beach, a National Park beach and the Indiana Dunes State Park are open and offer restrooms, ample parking and concessions. Both of these are the locations currently recommended by the National Park.
Restrooms at beach locations open Memorial Day weekend.
Porter Access Beach will open with partial access on Memorial Day weekend. Portage Lakefront Beach will open as well.
Other beaches nearby with restrooms (open Memorial Day weekend) are: Lake Street Beach, Marquette Park and Beach, Wells Street Beach, Dunbar Beach and Washington Park and Beach. Whihala Beach opens Memorial Day. Please note, beach parking fees vary by location.
Beachgoers can also enjoy walking trails at Lakefront Park, Whihala Beach, Indiana Dunes State Park and West Beach.
Heavy spring storms and wind damage have caused severe erosion at many of our beaches and have caused closures at Central Avenue Beach and Lake View Beach.
Last Minute Updates
For an updated list of what is open and closed at the Indiana State Parks, click here.
Beginning at 9:00 a.m. on May 23rd, the public can call 219-395-1003 to get recorded information on available parking at Indiana Dunes National Park beaches and the nearby Indiana Dunes State Park.
Beaches Along the South Shore
There are miles of beautiful Lake Michigan beaches in Northwest Indiana including some of the best beaches in the Midwest for swimming, sunning, boating, hiking and relaxing.
The Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dunes State Park offer 15 miles of sandy beaches. Whether you want to frolic in the waves, sculpt a sandcastle, admire the wildlife or simply soak up the sun, the beaches of the Indiana Dunes are sure to please.
Click on each beach on the map to find out more about all the beaches along the South Shore or read more below.
Safety note - Do not swim when Rip Current warnings are posted or in large crashing waves, which can cause rip currents. These strong currents rushing out into Lake Michigan can carry even the strongest swimmer with them. If you get caught in a rip current, do not try to swim against it. Instead, swim parallel to the shoreline until you are out of the current.
Indiana Dunes Beaches
Explore the Indiana Dunes’ beaches any time of year! In the summer, the sand is warm, the breeze is cool and Lake Michigan is sparkling and inviting. During the winter, the stark beauty of the lake and the shelf ice that forms on it will take your breath away. Spring breathes new life into the shoreline and the dunes, and in the fall, the stunning array of colors will astound you.
Indiana Dunes State Park Beaches
The Indiana Dunes State Park provides three miles of enticing beaches.
- Open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
- The park offers a swimming beach manned by lifeguards in the summer.
- A pavilion on the beach provides shelter, bathhouses, and a concession stand.
- The rest of the beach area is available for wildlife watching, beachcombing or kite flying.
- A variety of hiking trails are available, several of which traverse Mount Tom and offer a spectacular view of Lake Michigan.
- A nominal fee is charged to enter the park, which offers plenty of parking.
Indiana Dunes National Park Beaches
The Indiana Dunes National Park maintains an array of magnificent beaches, which are open year-round from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Parking and bathroom facilities are located near all of the beaches. Lifeguards are only available at West Beach.
- West Beach - This popular beach was named one of the 10 Best Beaches for Families by Parents Magazine in 2011. Covered picnic shelters and grills make this southernmost tip of Lake Michigan a great spot for a picnic. Fishing is available at nearby Long Lake and the 2.5 miles of easy to moderate trails entice hikers. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, lifeguards are on duty and a small fee is charged for parking.
- Lake View - (CLOSED due to erosion) The only area in the national park with picnic shelters overlooking the lake, Lake View gives visitors a fantastic view of Lake Michigan. Located in Beverly Shores. Parking is limited.
- Dunbar Beach - This beach, as well as Lake View, is located near the historic Century of Progress homes, which were built for the 1933 World’s Fair to showcase modern architectural design and new technology. This beautiful beach has limited parking.
- Kemil Beach - Traveling to Kemil Beach in Porter takes you on one of the most scenic drives in Porter County. Quiet and secluded, this little gem of a beach offers access to Dune Ridge Trail.
- Porter Beach - Sharing its eastern border with the Indiana Dunes State Park, Porter Beach is a favorite with the locals. It’s a great place to enjoy some water sports or simply sit and relax.
- Central Beach - (CLOSED due to erosion) This unique beach that can be accessed by paved road or wooded trail. The 9.1-mile Calumet Bike Trail, which passes through marshes, woodlands and flower-filled meadows, is accessible nearby. Central Beach is a great place to watch bank swallows.
- Mount Baldy - The beach is open at Mount Baldy, however, the dune at Mount Baldy remains closed for public safety and dune protection. The trail to the beach is about 1/2 mile long and somewhat strenuous. This is a very popular beach area and the parking lot fills up quickly.
- Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk - Temporary Closure: The designated access to the beach at Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk is closed due to hazardous conditions resulting from erosion. The closure will remain in effect October 17, 2019, to May 1, 2020, or until further notice. This 57-acre site is jointly managed by the National Park Service and the City of Portage. The site has a narrow beach and features an enclosed pavilion with seasonal food service, restrooms, a handicapped-accessible trail, and a fishing pier. It’s also a great place to launch a kayak.
More Beaches On Lake Michigan's South Shore
Whihala Beach gives visitors a great view of the Chicago skyline and is just a short walk from downtown Whiting. Surfing is popular on this beach, as is kayaking, swimming, kiteboarding and boating. You can also find Lake Michigan's only floating waterpark - WhoaZone. Michigan City’s Washington Park is a popular attraction featuring a beach, park and family-friendly zoo.
There are a number of beaches in the City of Gary along Lake Michigan. Marquette Park is an exceptional lakefront park offering a gorgeous beach and spacious pavilion. Marquette Park features the historic Aquatorium, which houses a museum honoring Octave Chanute, the father of flight. At Wells Street Beach you can park steps from the beach for a nominal fee and enjoy food and drinks on the patio. Lake Street Beach offers plenty of parking, lifeguard, restrooms and boat launch.
Hammond Lakefront Park has lifeguards during the summer as well as the bird sanctuary trail to hike along. Jeorse Park in East Chicago has a playground, water sports rentals and a splash pad. Both parks are near the marina and casino in each city.