Along Lake Michigan the Indiana Dunes State Park, 2,182 miles long, and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, 15,000 acres long, go on for miles and miles of pristine natural beauty of beach, shore, water and sand dunes. I came here to walk the stairs and hike the Calumet trail. I sat on the beach and looked out at the lake, the sky seemed endless.
You can go swimming, camping, boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking and biking at the dunes and the lake. If you don’t want to deal with the crowds of sunbathers and beachgoers and you are craving a little solitude, enjoy it now before the popular season starts.
It’s peaceful, and empty with just a few people taking advantage of the quiet before the crowds come in for Memorial Day weekend or Fourth of July. I’ll be back before then.
The best way to explore the dunes park system and lakeshore is to get off the highway and tollway, and take US Highway Route 12. US Highway Route 12 is an old highway, sort of like Route 66, that was the main roadway through the area until the 80, 94 and 90 highways were built. In Indiana, take Route 12, picking it up at Ogden Dunes if you are coming from the west; or in Michigan City if you are coming from the east.
As you drive along Route 12 there will be many places clearly marked with signs for the state dunes park system and national lakeshore beaches where you can stop, park and explore. There are three main trails for cyclists, hikers, and adventurous mountain bikers:
1. The Prairie Duneland Trail between Portage and Chesterton.
2. Calumet Trail on US Route 12 south of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. I found it at the entrance to the town of Beverly Shores. It is directly across the street from the old train depot. There is a sign posted that states Calumet Trail.
3. Outback Trail in Portage’s Imagination Glen Park that is 10 miles along.
After my photographs of the Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, is a copy of a map for the area that features the trails and US Route 12.
It was a great day to be at the beach when I took the photos–sunny and warm with a beautiful breeze off Lake Michigan. What is your favorite beach? What is your favorite lake?
I went to West Beach, in the Indiana Dunes State Park first and took photographs:
The Calumet Trail is directly across the street from the train station.
Drive down the main street till it ends at the lake. Then make a left turn, and there are places to park and explore the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. This area of Beverly Shores is a historic district with houses from Chicago’s 1933-34 Century of Progress International Exposition World’s Fair that were transported by barges across Lake Michigan and moved here.