If you haven’t heard “Let’s go sand dunning!” friend you are missing out. Indiana Dunes State Park is a totally different world from Chicago. Sand dunes tower nearly 200 feet above the shores of Lake Michigan. Trails take hikers through a variety of landscapes: forest, beach, dune, even marsh. Here is the grade school field trip we dreamt about.
Swim and paddle in the warmer months. — Photo courtesy of Official Website
Ah, Majestic Nature
Bird watching, winding dunes and a verdant stretch of forest; candy to the nature enthusiast. Not to mention those eager individuals who love reciting stray facts in related conversation. There are two sides to the park: a relatively developed attraction, and the many miles of seemingly unbothered nature. Become a park expert at the interactive Nature Center.
The dunes are thousands of years in the making. Ancient winds rising from the lakeshore cause all sorts of geographical oddities we call wonders. Thankfully the park is still keeping the air clean while corralling industry further afield. Otherwise known as the foggy Michigan City in the distance.
Miles and miles of sand. — Photo courtesy of Official Website
Shoes, Trails and Fido
Keep in mind, we don't trek all the way out here just for the views. But for some of the Midwest's greatest hiking. Find trails that all over the spectrum. Some will challenge an Austrian hiking enthusiast, others are considerably lighter for the novice. Grab a map and keep an eye on trail markers.
Don't underestimate the hiking. You'll be stopping to catch your breath in no time. Some of the routes will leave your legs burning the next day. Make sure you wear comfy shoes that are fit for various terrain. If you're a serious hiker, they'll come in handy.
Bring Fido and let him roam wild, as long as he keeps out of trouble. Don't worry about the bears, the proximity of industry scares them off. Besides, it's hard to find bear spray around here anyway.
Where and Why?
The Indiana Dunes Lakeshore hits the map about an hour outside Chicago. The drive is a notable experience, seeing the concrete jungle give way to wood-paneled beach houses. As you get closer, the road is joined with a familiar border of willow plants.
A visit during Autumn is a pretty quite time, sans the crowds. Summer is swimming, boating and activities involving paddling of some sort. Wintertime, there's plenty of shallow water to make great skating. Lake effect snow covers the dunes to give the many acres a variety of sledding. If the hiking gives you a run for your money, the sledding surely doesn't lack the same vigor.
Chicagoans seek price-tag refuge past Indiana's borders. Gas is notoriously cheaper, as well as everything else. Oh, and be prepared to run into a few tolls.