Taking a Trip to Indiana Dunes National Park

People scattered, standing on top of sand overlooking Lake Michigan.

Located in the northwestern part of the state, Indiana Dunes National Park runs for almost 25 miles along the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s been officially recognized as a national park in February of this year, making it the nation’s newest. Its 15,000 acres have a very diverse natural landscape, meaning that visitors always find new and exciting things to do. Here are some fun activities you and your family can do while visiting the park.

A Summer Beach Destination

Kids definitely love going to the beach and Lake Michigan’s shore is the perfect place for some fun in the sun. With 15 miles along the lake’s shore, it definitely doesn’t get crowded, so you and your family can fully enjoy your day at the beach. All parking lots are close to the beaches and have their own restrooms, much to the visitors’ convenience. There are also showers and lifeguards, so families can benefit from both the amazing natural landscape and the basic safety and hygiene necessities of modern times.

The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education

This center was named after U.S. Senator Paul H. Douglas, who played a big part in the park’s creation back in 1966 when it was named Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Kids will be mesmerized by the many interactive exhibits, learning about nature while playing and having fun. There’s also a nature Play Zone where families can get together, as well as a trail system that starts from the center and takes hikers on amazing journeys along wetlands, dunes, and beaches.

The Fun Doesn’t Stop in the Wintertime

The family fun at Indiana Dunes national park doesn’t end when summer is over. There are two available trail systems for visitors to enjoy, either by walking along their paths or skiing. The Glenwood Dunes Trail System is a series of trails ranging from less than a mile to almost 15 miles, making it a great setting for cross-country skiers, from beginners to the advanced. The second trail system, Tolleston Dunes Trail System, is a 2.9-mile trail that is a bit trickier to navigate but offers spectacular views of the savanna and wetlands.

Enjoy the Many Water-Related Fun Activities

With Lake Michigan right next to the park, this is the perfect opportunity for you and your kids to have some fun on the lake. Fishing is allowed, with plenty of salmon and trout swimming around ready to be caught. You can also go boating in either a sailing boat or a powerboat. If you’d like to get closer to the water, kayaking or canoeing with the kids is sure to be incredibly fun. Just make sure you don’t go near swimming areas.

Kids are more adjusted to the modern world than their parents, but getting to know and understand nature is a crucial part of their upbringing. By visiting Indiana Dunes National Park in any season they’ll get first-hand experience in interacting with the natural environment, and also make some family memories that will last a lifetime.

Image via Flickr by desertdutchman | CC BY 2.0.