Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Overview

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, authorized by Congress in 1966, is located approximately 50 miles southeast of Chicago, Illinois in the counties of Lake, Porter, and LaPorte in Northwest Indiana. The national lakeshore runs for nearly 25 miles along southern Lake Michigan, bordered by Michigan City, Indiana on the east, and Gary on the west. The park contains approximately 15,000 acres, 2,182 of which are located in Indiana Dunes State Park and managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Miles of beaches, sand dunes, bog, wetlands, woodland forests, an 1830's French Canadian homestead, and a working 1900 era farm combine to make the national lakeshore a unique setting for studying humans and their impact on the environment. Dr. Henry Cowles conducted his landmark ecological studies in the Indiana Dunes. Indiana Dunes is ranked 7th among national parks in native plant diversity. Research conducted over the last two decades has revealed 1,418 vascular plant species within park boundaries, of which over 90 are on the state of Indiana's threatened or endangered list.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

The national lakeshore's weather is greatly affected by Lake Michigan and can change quickly. Summers are warm and humid with high temperatures generally in the mid-80sºF and low temperatures in the mid-60sºF. There are about 15 days per year above 90ºF. Sunshine is abundant in summer. Highs in winter are usually in the low to mid 30sºF ) with low temperatures in the low 20sºF. There are about 15 days per year below 0ºF. Winters tend to be cloudy except for periods of extreme cold when skies are clear.

Directions

Driving: 

Visitors can access the national lakeshore via I-94, the Indiana Toll Road, I-80/90, U.S. Highway 20, Indiana State Highway 12, and various state roads. The Visitor Center is located off of Indiana Highway 49 between U.S. Highway 20 and Interstate 94, Chesterton, Indiana.

Flying: 

The surrounding communities are serviced by the Gary Regional Airport, South Bend Airport, and Chicago's Midway and O'Hare Airports.

Public Transport: 

The Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad stops at four stations throughout the park: Dune Park Station, Beverly Shores Station, Ogden Dunes Station and Miller Station. Several park facilities are located within two miles of each station.