Indiana Dunes Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Indiana Dunes Trip Guide

Pack a variety of gear to enjoy Lake Michigan activities: a swimsuit for the beach at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, hiking shoes for the trails of Indiana Dunes State Park and an appetite for comfort food.
Indiana Dunes
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Indiana Dunes State Park.
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Rolling Stonebaker
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Florida Tropical House, one of the Century of Progress homes
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Camp Stop General Store Rent a bike from this Beverly Shores beachfront joint, then pedal along the dune’s many routes, including the 10-mile Calumet Bike Trail. Also, stock up on snacks, kitschy souvenirs and camping supplies. (219) 878-1382

Century of Progress Homes Annual Architecture Tour Five futuristic homes built for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair and shipped across the lake now stand like works of modern art along Lake Front Drive. Rangers lead an annual tour one day on October.

European Market Artisans and small-scale farmers gather in downtown Chesterton on Saturday mornings to sell their flowers, produce, handmade crafts, artisanal breads and farm-fresh cheeses.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore These 15 miles of Lake Michigan shore encompass the Indiana Dunes State Park. Together, the preserves feature beaches, prairie, swamps and bogs. The namesake dunes reach nearly 200 feet above Lake Michigan, and miles of hiking trails lead through some of the Midwest’s most diverse plant communities and wildlife habitats. (219) 395-1882;

Old Lighthouse Museum Climb up to the lantern room of the 1858 Michigan City beacon to learn about local maritime history.

Taltree Arboretum and Gardens Walk the wetlands and prairie of these 360 acres in Valparaiso. Its Railway Garden’s G-scale model trains roll through model canyons, quarries and a mining town.


Bartlett’s Gourmet Grill and Tavern Deer-chugging-a-beer signage hints at the roadhouse ambience in the wood-sided building, but meals like the pan-roasted trout prove deliciously upscale at this Beverly Shores spot. (219) 879-3081;

Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille A life-size outdoor sculpture of ironworkers on lunch break greets visitors to the Valparaiso hangout, which satisfies big appetites with savory pot roast and heaps of garlic mashed potatoes.

Octave Grill This Chesterton restaurant serves creative burgers. Layers of aioli, goat cheese, mushrooms, onion rings and a beef patty fill the ciabatta bun of the Clawhammer. (219) 395-8494;

Rolling Stonebaker If you’re lucky enough to track down one of these two retrofitted Studebakers (they show up often at Chesterton’s European Market), savor thin-crust pizzas made in its wood-fired oven.

Shoreline Brewery Sample 12 craft brews, including the Singing Sands oatmeal stout, along with classic pub fare like creamy mac ‘n’ cheese.


At Home in the Woods Bed and Breakfast Guests staying in the three rooms (decorated with national park themes) take dips in the large swimming pool, watch songbirds from the deck and pick berries in the garden. Hiking trails wind through 100 acres of adjacent private woods near Chesterton.

Dunes Walk Inn Rooms are spare in the 1881 Chesterton home, but they come with gas fireplaces, kitchenettes and comfortable beds. Best of all, you’re only a mile from the lakeshore. (219) 728-6393;

Songbird Prairie Inn, Spa and Boutique Each of the five suites at this Federal-style country escape in Valparaiso caters to couples. After walks on the 6 acres, relax with a whirlpool tub, rain shower and fireplace. Multicourse breakfasts might feature French toast souffle and glazed poached pear.

For information: Indiana Dunes Tourism (800) 283-8687;

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