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5 Things to Do at Indiana Dunes Besides Relaxing on the Beach

Indiana Dunes National Park is an interesting place. Here, the struggle between industry and conservation is evident. Look right and left, and you’ll see something you typically don’t see at a national park.

Cooling Tower at a Coal Plant

In 1966, the protectionists won. This 15 mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline was designated a national lakeshore preventing future development.

Finally, in 2019, Indiana Dunes was awarded national park status. So now we can enjoy this unique landscape for years to come.

It is easy to focus on the beach at Indiana Dunes National Park. And who doesn’t love a day at the beach? However, this national park protects more than just a beach. There is much to explore at these dunes.

5 Things to Do at Indiana Dunes National Park

Check out these 5 (other) things to do at Indiana Dunes National Park.

1. Hike a Trail

At Indiana Dunes NP, you’ll find over 50 miles of trails. We hiked at both ends of the park on our visit: Mount Baldy Beach Trail in the east and Long Lake Trail in the west.

2. Join a Ranger Program

We all agreed that one of the highlights of our visit to Indiana Dunes was participating in a ranger program. We met the ranger at Central Beach for a beachcombing program.

3. Watch the Wildlife

No, you won’t find bears or bobcats lurking about at Indiana Dunes. But, this national park has documented 46 species of mammals, 23 species of reptiles, and a whopping 350 species of birds.

4. Take a Boat Tour

A boat offers a different perspective on the massive dunes. Harbor Country Adventures offers ranger-led boat tours on Lake Michigan along the shore of the park.

5. Check out a Century of Progress

Homes built as showpieces of the 1933 World’s Fair were relocated to the dunes. These historic structures have been lovingly restored. It’s fun to get a glimpse at the homes of the future from the 1930s.

And after you’ve spent a day exploring Indian Dunes National Park, hang around for the grand finale. Sunsets behind the Chicago skyline are extra special. So, find a spot on one of the beaches and sit back and enjoy the show.

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