Recently, the country christened its 61st national park. Joining that elite group is the former Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. In February, President Trump signed a bill that included redesignating this 15,000-acre national lakeshore as Indiana Dunes National Park.
Though nothing dramatic will change besides the name, visitors can still expect to enjoy spectacular dunes, the seemingly endless seashore on Lake Michigan, and magnificent sunsets.
Located just 50 miles east of Chicago, Indiana Dunes attracts more than two million visitors annually. In addition to 15 miles of shoreline, visitors also enjoy the more than 50 miles of hiking trails some of which include cross-country ski routes and equestrian trails. Also, Indiana Dunes National Park has eight designated beaches, some of which are pet-friendly.
RV camping near Indiana Dunes
Adjacent to the dunes and Lake Michigan shoreline is Indiana Dunes State Park. The neighboring park offers plenty of additional amenities and attractions.
A total of 134 sites offer 30/50 amp electrical. Some of the services and amenities throughout the state park include restrooms, showers, convenience store, seasonal festivals and retail concessions, beach access and beachcombing on 3.5 miles of sandy shoreline, a nature center, ranger station, dump station, a variety of trails, historical sites and more.
Indiana Dunes State Park opened in 1926. It features some dramatically shifting sand dunes, like Mount Baldy, one of the most popular. Ever increasing in size, Mount Baldy is 140 feet high, and is estimated to grow in size annually by 4 feet! Mount Baldy is tiny compared to the trio of dunes that make up the 3 Dune Challenge.
To find out about the 3 Dune Challenge, stop by the Indiana State Park Nature Center. The 3 Dune Challenge is a test for you, your friends, and your family as you hike the three tallest sand dunes on the southern shore of Lake Michigan: Mount Holden (184 feet tall), Mount Jackson (176 feet), and Mount Tom (the tallest at 192 feet). This is a self-directed marked route that can be conquered any time of the year. Go barefoot or try it in snowshoes!
The Nature Center also hosts a variety of interpretive programs about the unique animals, plants, and ecosystems of the Indiana Dunes. Interactive programs range from learning about reptiles and birding to studying the geology of the Dunes. For a small fee, park interpreters will host special group hikes and programs tailored to your specific needs. Also, the Nature Center has many hands-on exhibits serving as a fantastic introduction to the wonders of the Indiana Dunes.
Other area attractions include the nearby eclectic community of Chesterton, which is home to several artists—like Holly Jackson and her vibrant, Matisse-inspired paintings, which she sells at her downtown studio.
Craig Berg combines his Indiana Dunes photography skills and pizza-making prowess at his two businesses: Duneland Pizza and Dunes Photography.
Chesterton’s European Market creates a wonderful shopping experience featuring handmade art, fresh artisan pastries, freshly prepared foods, farm-grown produce, jewelry, accessories, clothing, fresh soaps, and more.
Also located in Chesterton is the Brassie Golf Club. This 18-hole championship facility is open to the public and is one of the best golfing values in northwest Indiana. The par 72 track stretches to 7,008 yards from the tips. The course officially opened 20 years ago and was designed by Jim Fazio, a member of the famed Fazio golf architect family.
The Brassie Golf Club facility also includes a well-stocked golf shop, and an excellent practice facility that offers a short game area, putting green, and driving range. The clubhouse overlooks the golf course, and there’s also a snack bar for relaxing after a round.
For more information about the country’s newest national park, visit the National Park website.
Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a weekly golf blog, The 19th Hole, for RV LIFE. You can reach him at email@example.com.