Exceptional Beaches Within an Hour of Chesterton

Seashore and a large hill with sand and and trees at the top. | Chesterton, IN

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.

Image via Flickr by daveynin | CC BY 2.0.

5 Most Interesting Facts About Chesterton, Indiana

Big Fire Chesterton, Indiana | Lake Shore ToyotaChesterton, Indiana, is a small town about 47 miles southeast of Chicago. Although small in size, the town has a fascinating history. Keep reading to learn more about the five most interesting facts about Chesterton.

Jesse Morgan Built its First Cabin

When Indiana became a state in 1816, most of the area around Chesterton was a dense forest inhabited by Potawatomi and Miami. Jesse and Jane Morgan and their seven children were the first non-Native American settlers to build a cabin in what would eventually become Chesterton. They built their house in 1833 on the stagecoach road and cleared their land for farming. Although the Morgans were the first to build a cabin in Chesterton, the Thomas family, who built in the area one year after the Morgans, gets credit for founding the town.

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5 Fanciest Restaurants in the Chesterton Area

A beautiful plate of sushi rolls with green masago on top with a side of sauce as well | Lake Shore ToyotaWhether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for a place to enjoy a delicious meal, you’ll discover several fine dining options around Chesterton that offer incredible cuisine and atmosphere. Keep reading to discover your options and decide which restaurant is perfect for your next evening out.


Volstead is a modern restaurant that serves progressive American cuisine and craft cocktails. Consider starting your meal with the Brussels sprouts or burrata cheese plate. Popular menu options include the half duck in a cherry sauce, skate wing, pork in a milk braise, and a dry-aged steak served with garlic mushrooms. The restaurant is closed on Monday but is open until 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and until 2 p.m. on Sunday. The dress code is casual.

Lucrezia Café

Lucrezia Café brings the tastes of Northern Italy to Chesterton. You can choose to dine in the beautifully converted home or on the lush patio. The restaurant is open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The dress code is casual. Along with classic pasta dishes, like the three meat lasagna and penne primavera, you’ll also find delicious entrées that include the braised lamb shank, stuffed pork chop, and chicken piccata.

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Explore These 5 Chesterton Parks This Spring

A park with trees, a path, a small pond with a bench | Lake Shore ToyotaChesterton boasts several large public parks and sports fields, from the renowned Indiana Dunes State Park on the lake shore to the lesser known parks in the town. Each park has its own unique charm or attraction and all are well kept and worth exploring. Make plans to visit these Chesterton parks this spring.

Thomas Centennial Park

Thomas Centennial Park, well located in downtown Chesterton, is equipped with a gazebo and picnic tables with benches. The park is well known to the people of Chesterton as it is home to many of their festivals and event, like summer movies, Bark in the Park, Hooked on Art, the Wizard of Oz Festival, and many more.

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4 Best Chesterton Hotels For a Family Reunion

Hotel breakfast buffet | Lake Shore ToyotaFamily reunions are all about catching up with loved ones whom you haven’t seen in ages. Thanks to its extensive public park system and outdoor recreation opportunities, there are a number of great hotels in the Chesterton area which can serve as the base for your next reunion. Here are a few of our favorites.

Waterbird Lakeside Inn

You’ll have a family reunion to remember at the Waterbird Lakeside Inn. The gorgeous lodge is situated on 60 acres of forested trails around Lake Chubb. The hotel is also just a short drive away from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, as well as Lake Michigan. This proximity to the area’s best outdoor activities makes it the perfect home base for a family reunion.

The Waterbird Lakeside Inn also offers “Lakeview Double” rooms that are perfect for families. These rooms provide guests with a view of the lake from the privacy of their own balconies. If you’re looking for a unique hotel, this location is hard to beat.

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