The Indiana Dunes National Park hugs 15 miles (24 km) of the southern shore of Lake Michigan. While this place is a new National Park, it’s been a treasured state park for decades.
The park features 14 distinct trail systems covering more than 50 miles of trails. If you are looking to squeeze as much as possible into one hike, the Dune Ridge Trail is just the place. This one-mile hike offers great views of the extensive wetlands and forests south of this tall, forested dune. Perhaps no other area in the park will take you through as many diverse habitats on such a short trail.
Places to Stay When Visiting
The Indiana Dunes National and State Parks are in an urban setting, so there are a lot of options for lodging available. Chicago is about 35 miles west of the park. Other nearby towns include:
- Ogden Dunes, IN (1 mile away)
- Chesterton, IN (3 miles)
- Portage, IN (5 miles)
- Gary, IN (5 miles)
VISIT Indiana Dunes National Park:
Indiana Dunes National Park was established on November 5, 1966, and has a total area of 15,000 acres (23 square miles, or 61 square kilometers).
|Address||1215 SR-49, Porter, IN, 46304|
|Hours||8:00am - 6:00pm|
|Entrance Fee||Free to enter National Park, $7-12 for State Park|
|Learn More||Official Website|
When to Visit: Weather vs. Peak Visitation
Indiana Dunes National Park is the 24th most visited park in the country.
We crunched 30 years of historical weather and/or park service data to find the best months to visit Indiana Dunes National Park. We looked for the optimal temperatures, the least amount of snow and rain, and stayed away from peak visitation months if we could help it. All this data then helped us paint a picture as to what the absolute best time to visit Indiana Dunes National Park is.
Our data shows the best months to visit Indiana Dunes National Park are June, July, August & September.
Indiana Dunes National Park Road Trips
Many family vacations consist of stringing one or more national parks together during a week-long trip. Creating these types of trips is our specialty! Here are the road trips we've created where Indiana Dunes National Park is visited.
|Trip Name||Trip Miles||Trip Days|
|Indiana Dunes, Cuyahoga Valley to Niagara Falls||609||8|
|Route 66 National Park Road Trip||2,300||13|
Other Nearby National Park Sites
From national monuments, to historic sites to seashores and more, here are the other parks closest to Indiana Dunes National Park.
|Pullman National Monument||26 mi|
|Lincoln Home National Historic Site||184 mi|
|River Raisin National Battlefield Park||193 mi|
|Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park||203 mi|
|George Rogers Clark National Historical Park||206 mi|
|Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument||216 mi|
|Herbert Hoover National Historic Site||219 mi|
|Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial||222 mi|
|William Howard Taft National Historic Site||222 mi|
|Effigy Mounds National Monument||231 mi|
Nearby Campsites & RV Parks
If you are looking to pitch a tent or park an RV at a campsite near Indiana Dunes National Park, here is a list of the closest campsites in the surrounding area. They all have slightly different amenitites, so its best to check them all out instead of just chosing the first on the list.
|Indiana Dunes State Park||Chesterton, IN more||2 miles|
|Dunewood - Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore||Chesterton, IN more||7 miles|
|Warren Dunes State Park||Sawyer, MI more||32 miles|
|Weko Beach||Bridgman, MI more||34 miles|
|Potato Creek State Park||North Liberty, IN more||40 miles|
|Bass Lake State Beach||Knox, IN more||40 miles|
|Shamrock Park||Berrien Springs, MI more||45 miles|
|Tippecanoe River State Park||Winamac, IN more||46 miles|
|Eden Springs Park Campground||Benton Harbor, MI more||47 miles|
Nearest Ski Resorts
For those of you who are the diehard outdoors type, visiting a national park on a ski trip can be quite the adventure. Here are the ski resorts within 100 miles of Indiana Dunes National Park:
|Four Lakes||Lisle, IL||500 ft||19%||52 mi|
|Grand Geneva||Lake Geneva, WI||1,086 ft||32%||93 mi|
|The Rock Snowpark||Franklin, WI||290 ft||27%||99 mi|
When visiting a National park, many people are faced with either a very long drive across country, or a much shorter flight. For those of you looking to fly into Indiana Dunes National Park, we've listed the closest airports in the area.
A large airport has scheduled major airline service with millions of passengers per year. This type of airport always accepts international flights. Here are the closest large airports to Indiana Dunes National Park.
|Midway International Airport||MDW||Chicago, IL||35 mi|
|O'Hare International Airport||ORD||Chicago, IL||47 mi|
|Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport||MKE||Milwaukee, WI||98 mi|
|Indianapolis International Airport||IND||Indianapolis, IN||140 mi|
|Detroit Metropolitan Airport||DTW||Detroit, MI||197 mi|
|Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport||CVG||Cincinnati / Covington, KY||221 mi|
|John Glenn Columbus International Airport||CMH||Columbus, OH||248 mi|
A medium-sized airport has scheduled regional airline service. This type of airport may or may not accept international flights. Here are the closest medium-sized airports to Indiana Dunes National Park.
|South Bend Regional Airport||SBN||South Bend, IN||41 mi|
|Kalamazoo Battle Creek International Airport||AZO||Kalamazoo, MI||90 mi|
|Chicago Rockford International Airport||RFD||Chicago/Rockford, IL||109 mi|
|Fort Wayne International Airport||FWA||Fort Wayne, IN||109 mi|
|Muskegon County Airport||MKG||Muskegon, MI||114 mi|
|Gerald R. Ford International Airport||GRR||Grand Rapids, MI||117 mi|
|Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal||BMI||Bloomington/Normal, IL||124 mi|
Credits: Campground data provided by USCampgrounds.info. Map shapes from CartographyVectors. Weather data from NOAA. Airport data from OurAirports.com. Images from Unsplash, Flickr and Parks&Trips. All data has also been updated and augmented by Parks&Trips.