Indiana Dunes National Park


A 20th-century battleground east of Chicago between industrialists seeking to build more steel mills and conservationists wanting to preserve natural diversity, in 1966 Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was created as a compromise between the opposing sides.  Its scattered bogs and dunes surround a beachside state park on Lake Michigan that dates back to the 1920s, with an Art Deco bathhouse dating to that era.

Update: As of February 15, 2019 it is called Indiana Dunes National Park.



West Beach, Bailey Homestead, Chellberg Farm, Century of Progress Homes, Mount Baldy, Glenwood Dunes Trail, heron rookery

Must-Do Activity

It is worth the price of admission to access the trail system within Indiana Dunes State Park to complete the 3 Dunes Challenge.  Take your photos back to the joint NPS-State Park visitor center to claim your prizes.

Best Trail

Cowles Bog Trail covers 5 rugged miles and accesses an isolated beach with views of the Chicago skyline. The trail to the top of Mount Baldy is closed due to erosion.

Instagram-worthy Photo

Beach grasses with a backdrop of a steel mill are a surreal mix on the Cowles Bog Trail.

Peak Season

The park is open year round, with the Lake Michigan beaches attracting crowds in the summer.



No admission for most of the National Park, except $6 per vehicle for summer lifeguards at West Beach and $12 per vehicle day use fee year round to enter Indiana Dunes State Park.

Road Conditions

All roads are paved.


While it is not on the beach, we enjoyed the quiet Dunewood Campground (fee) with its hot showers.

Historic bathhouse at Indiana Dunes State Park.
Climbing the dunes - there was a hiking challenge, so we had to do it
A view of Chicago from the dunes
The Chicago skyline is visible from the beach.
Baby geese!
This design we created to celebrate Indiana Dunes National Park is available on a variety of products at Cafe Press and Amazon.

Explore More – Mount Baldy stands 126 feet tall, but how much shorter is that than Mount Tom in neighboring Indiana Dunes State Park?

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