Top Things to Do in Indiana Dunes

Pack a variety of gear to enjoy Lake Michigan activities: a swimsuit for the beach at Indiana Dunes National Park, hiking shoes for the trails of Indiana Dunes State Park and an appetite for comfort food.

Indiana Dunes
Indiana Dunes. Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux


Bike Trails

Explore the dunes on one of six trails that range up to 19 miles round trip. For an easy jaunt, try the 3.6-mile (round-trip) Dunes Kankakee Bike Trail, which connects the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center to Indiana Dunes State Park.

Florida Tropical House at Century of Progress Homes
Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

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 typically lead an annual tour the last weekend of September; tickets go on sale in August and are likely to sell out within an hour.

European Market

Artisans and farmers gather in Chesterton on Saturday mornings to sell flowers, produce, crafts, breads, cheeses, books and clothing.

Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest

Walk the wetlands and prairie of these 330 acres in Valparaiso. Its Railway Garden's G-scale model trains roll through model canyons and a mining town.

Indiana Dunes
Bob Stefko

Indiana Dunes National Park

These 15 miles of Lake Michigan shore—upgraded to national park status in 2019—surround Indiana Dunes State Park. Together, the preserves include beaches, prairie, wetlands, forests, rivers and bogs. Dunes reach nearly 200 feet above Lake Michigan, and more than 50 miles of trails lead through diverse plant and wildlife communities. Also popular: camping, sailing and swimming.

Old Lighthouse Museum

Climb up to the lantern room of the 1858 Michigan City beacon, the oldest remaining lighthouse in Indiana.

Eat and Drink

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 pot roast and heaps of garlic mashed potatoes.

Octave Grill

This Chesterton restaurant serves creative burgers, sandwiches and salads, plus a rotating selection of craft beer from local breweries.

Rolling Stonebaker
Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

The Rolling Stonebaker

If you're lucky enough to track down the retrofitted Studebaker (check Facebook for the schedule), savor thin-crust pizzas made in a wood-fired oven. Or try ordering from the Valparaiso. brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Shoreline Brewery

Sample 12 craft brews, including the Singing Sands oatmeal stout, along with classic pub fare.

Stacks Bar and Grill

Enjoy any of more than 150 beers on tap plus comfort foods like cheese-stuffed chicken breasts in a library inspired setting in Valparaiso.


At Home in the Woods Bed and Breakfast

Guests staying in the four rooms (decorated with park themes) take dips in the large swimming pool and watch wildlife from the deck. Nature trails on the 4-acre property wind through gardens and a wetland near Chesterton.

The Brewery Lodge

The owners of Zorn Brew Works and Shady Creek Winery partnered to transform a 1930s inn in Michigan City into a 12-suite boutique hotel with bar—conveniently close to a smattering of microbreweries.

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. Breakfasts feature fare such as French toast soufflé and bacon-cheddar scones.

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