We were staying only about 40 miles from Lake Michigan, so we took one day to drive to the Lake. Having visited Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore in Michigan, we were somewhat disappointed with the Indiana Dunes area. That may have been partially due to the weather as it was very hot and humid. Had the weather been better we would have explored the area far more than we did, but it was easy to see that Indiana’s dunes are far less impressive than those of Michigan.
We entered the State Park first, and drove to the beach. Indiana’s beaches and dunes are formed by winds coming off Lake Michigan that drop sand when the wind hits existing plants and dunes. All of the trails in the park involve dune climbing to some degree. Due to the heat, we decided against hiking.
There is a huge stone beach house that has been let deteriorate. Pictures at the Nature Center attested to it’s former affluence when it contained a dining facility overlooking the waters of the lake. Now, it is but a shell containing only a tiny snack bar and restrooms facility on the bottom level.
We then drove to the National Lakeshore, which is not simply or quickly done. The national property seems to wind in and out of privately owned land, and much of the roads were under construction.
INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE
Our first stop was at the Visitor Center, hoping to find a video or slideshow to better acquaint us with the park. Unfortunately, an earlier storm in the day had knocked out power. Running on minimum power from a generator, the park attendants were unable to show us the video.
As the day was still heating up, we again decided to walk in a shaded area, rather than on the sand and dunes. We drove to the preserved Chellberg farm, dating back to a Swedish community of the 1850’s. A short hike through the woods took us to the clearing containing a “sugar shack”, barn, house, etc. The trail then completed a circular trek through the woods back to the parking lot. For a short slideshow of our hike, click on the photo below:
We did not take the time to drive the additional 13 miles to the National Lakeshore beach area. Later we wished we had, when we were told it was much nicer than the beach at the state park. Perhaps on a future visit ….