Two–Day Getaway to Indiana Dunes

Enjoy 15 miles of Lake Michigan coastline at the Indiana Dunes, one hour southeast of Chicago.

Rolling sand dunes are the backdrop to swimming, hiking and biking along Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes National Park. Spread your towel, then spread out-there are casual dining spots, cool shops and comfortable lodgings in nearby Chesterton and Valparaiso.

Indiana Dunes
Indiana Dunes.

Day 1

Hiking and biking trails, sandy beaches, fragrant forests, wetlands and sweeping lake views await in the 15-mile-long Indiana Dunes National Park.

Set within is Indiana Dunes State Park; which spreads from beach to marshlands and is a haven to a range of birds. Check at the nature center to find out about the day's birding hot spots.

At lunchtime, hop over to the Red Cup Cafe and Deli in Chesterton for a grilled portobello and goat cheese panini.

Another casual option is the Rolling Stonebaker for pizzas cooked in an antique Studebaker truck; check website for current location.

Rolling Stonebaker
Rolling Stonebaker.

Rooms with fireplaces and whirlpools overlook woods at Songbird Prairie Inn, Spa and Boutique in Valparaiso.

Day 2

Head downtown for choice shopping. Old World Market sells cheeses, meats, artisanal breads and wine.

Burn off a few calories with a bike ride on Valparaiso's pathway system's miles of paved trails through neighborhoods and parks.

Or walk the wetlands and prairie at Gabis Arboretum, popular for its Railway Garden where G-scale model trains chug through intricate vignettes.

Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille specializes in meat-and-potatoes meals.

More information: (800) 283-8687;


Century of Progress Homes Futuristic homes originally built for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair stand like works of modern art along Lake Front Drive. The Florida Tropical House, a boxy bubblegum-pink abode, highlights the group of five. Though typically closed to the public, the structures open for tours one weekend each September. Reservations required; tickets can sell out within an hour. Check the website for this year's tour date and ticket availability.

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