We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Peace and beauty close to the city.”

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Ranked #1 of 6 things to do in Porter
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 18 April 2014

Indiana dunes is a great getaway or daytrip. In the summer its the next best thing to going to the ocean. The beaches are clean and its a very nice place to take a long walk.

1  Thank Mykey1973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (246)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year

159 - 163 of 246 reviews

Reviewed 8 February 2014

This is not to be confused with Indiana Dunes State Park, which is in the same general vicinity.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was established in the 1970s & is fragmented. It has several areas.
West Beach - is by the town of Ogden Dunes & I've never been there. Mostly because it's the only part of the NP that charges an admission. It has the beach, restrooms & a couple of hiking trails.

Chellberg Farm is one of my favorite areas. It has an old farm & the original Bailly homestead, which has been standing since before Indiana was a state. It has extensive hiking trails also. One of my favorite trails is the Little Calumet River trail, which is board walked by the river. The trails have steps & some hills. None are handicap accessible.
There are picnic tables & restrooms. Due to the crappy budget cuts, the farm & homestead aren't open anymore to the public.

Paul H Douglas Center For Environmental Education has trails & a learning center.

Inland Marsh is a hiking area across the road from West Beach. They have a pit toilet & picnic tables, but no facilities. The hike is around & through the marsh.

Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk is relatively new. It mostly just has the beach & a walkway by the Burns ditch. There are restrooms & picnic tables.

Cowles Bog has a history & a diverse bog found no where else in Indiana. It has great trails & we hike there often during the year. Fall is especially nice. There's a pit toilet, but no other facilities. The parking lot is the Western beginning of the Calumet bike trail, by the South Shore tracks. There's another parking area by Dune Acres. This is a gated community, but just before the gate there's a turn off to your right. It's a very narrow road, only big enough for 1 car, so better to park in the other lot!

The Heron rookery is off the beaten path & has just a short trail along the Little Calumet River. This trail is best in the Spring, when wildflowers start putting on a nice show. Otherwise, not that exciting. Pit toilets only.

The Ly-Co-Ki-We area has been renamed Glenwood Dunes. It has horse & hiking trails. It's a lovely area which can be accessed off Hwy 20 Eastbound toward Michigan City or the old visitor center off Hwy 12. The old visitor center isn't open anymore, but the bathrooms are. The only drawback for my family is dodging the horse apples. My husband has a particular dislike for that!

Across Hwy 12 from the visitor center is Kemil Road. Follow that road & it takes you to Kemil beach. It has restrooms & of course the beach. Follow the parking regs though, or you'll find yourself ticketed! There are also homes along the lake were taken from the World Fair in Chicago in the 30s. Once a year they allow tours of these homes, though I'm not sure when.

Continue down Hwy 12 you'll come to the campground. We've camped there before, although it's been a few years. It's a very nice place to camp. It has 2 areas, one in a grove of trees & one in the sandy dunes. The restrooms were very nice. You can access the Glenwood Dunes trails from the campground by taking the Dunewood Trace trail.

Central Beach is east of the campground off Hwy 12. It's where my teenaged self used to soak up the sun. It's free & the parking lot has been enlarged since that time.

Further East past the campground is Mount Baldy. This has the tallest dunes in the park at 125 feet. Unfortunately, it's been closed since June of 2013 when a small boy was swallowed by a sinkhole. The boy miraculously survived, but more sinkholes were found. It's anyone's guess when or if it will be opened.

Pinhook Bog is the most far flung of the National Lakeshore areas, in Laporte County. It's also
one you need a ranger for a guided tour. It's an interesting place with neat bog plants & a spongy bog that once upon a time you could jump on. Now the boardwalk is where you have to stay, under the watchful eyes of the ranger.

If you have any questions about the area, I'm willing to help. I've lived here for 50 years.

16  Thank ccindyk48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 October 2013

I kept thinking I was too old for this much fun. While on my way to Chicago I stopped at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor's center. I did not know that there was a National Park on the shore of Lake Michigan but read about it in the AAA trip ticket booklet I got ahead of time. I walked a long trail to the top of one of the giant dunes and enjoyed a fantastic view down the sand to the water. I frolicked in the lake water that was cold for August I thought. There were lots of shorebirds. I was informed that they are called gulls and not seagulls as I displayed my ignorance of bird terms. This visit was just what the doctor ordered as it was an unexpected pleasure to experience the sun, sand, water, nature, and learn so much new stuff here all in one place.

Thank Michael M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2013

This is a beautiful national park on the shores of Lake Michigan. The park is a little hard to navigate as it is spread out over at least three separate areas, and mixed with residential development. Try to get from are to the next is a little difficult if you are not familiar with the area. Which I was not.

The beaches are really beautiful, and the water crystal clear. Lots of beach to walk or you can just sit and relax looking at Lake Michigan.

Thank GilB867
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2013

This free attraction is lovely with sand dunes, beaches, and the beautiful Lake Michigan. Wish I could have spent more time there. Lots of facilities for hiking, picnicking, biking. Very clean rock strewn beaches with a view of Chicago skyscrapers across the lake.

Thank Jeannine77055
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore also viewed


Been to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing