When it comes to beaches, you might not immediately think of hanging out in Indiana. But don’t let the fact that there’s not an ocean nearby deter you. The area around Chesterton has some of the best beaches where you can cool off, create some sandcastle masterpieces, and catch some rays. Keep reading to learn more about four exceptional beaches that are within an hour of Chesterton, Indiana.
1. Indiana Dunes State Park
Located at the north end of State 49 in Porter County in Chesterton, Indiana Dunes State Park features more than 2,000 acres of historic and scenic landscape. It has more than three miles of beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore. Established as a state park in 1925, the park today features numerous large sand dunes that tower almost 200 feet above Lake Michigan.
During the summer, the state park hosts numerous events, including Fireworks on the Beach and annual sand sculpture contest in July. In August, you can enjoy the annual Perseid meteor shower and stargaze at night or watch hummingbird banding demonstrations during the day.
2. Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk
Situated in Portage, Indiana, the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is an area that opened in October, 2008. Home to a former steel corporation, today you can access the lakefront and beach, trails, and a restored 900-foot breakwater. Open daily from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m., you can watch migrating birds or take a dip in the water, although there are no lifeguards on duty. If you’re looking for a break from the sun, step into the 3,500-square-foot pavilion.
3. Porter Beach
Porter, Indiana, along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, is the home of Porter Beach, a free beach that’s open daily from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. This beach is part of the Indiana Dunes National Park. Pets, alcohol, and glass containers are not permitted at this beach. Seasonal restrooms are available from early April through mid-October. Keep in mind that there are no lifeguards on duty, so you can swim at your own risk.
4. Washington Park
Located in Michigan City in Indiana, Washington Park is open daily from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. This family-friendly park is home to the Michigan City Lighthouse, which is the state’s only working lighthouse and sits on the west side of the beach. It also features a marina, a historic rock garden, fitness trails, a gazebo, and a lifeguard-protected swimming beach. Fishing is permitted and there is a seven-acre zoo across the street.
Every June you can participate in Jammin’ with Save the Dunes at the Guy Foreman Amphitheater. This signature fundraiser features local breweries, wineries, and food trucks paired with numerous singers and bands. You can also purchase dunes-related swag at the vendor site. Kids under 12 are free, and they are encouraged to play at the Kids Zone area. Bring your favorite lawn chair and spend the entire day supporting a worthy cause.
No matter which one of these four Chesterton-area beaches you choose to take advantage of, you’re bound to enjoy the scenery and a little rest and relaxation.