Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was recently promoted to national park status becoming the nation’s 61st national park. The park runs for nearly 25 miles along the southern shore of Lake Michigan; it contains approximately 15,000 acres. Its visitors center is in Porter, Indiana. Located in the park are sand dune, wetland, prairie, river, and forest ecosystems. Several of the holdings of the national park are non-contiguous and do not include the 2,182-acre Indiana Dunes State Park, which is within the boundaries of the national park but is owned, managed, and protected by the state of Indiana. The national park is divided into 15 parcels of various acreage. The state park makes it seem to be a typical beach destination with sunbathers and swimmers during the summer months but the greater national park areas are dedicated to preserving and protecting the natural and historic legacy of area more fitting to the national park mandate.
There are viewing areas for the dunes and lakeshore.
You can see the skyline of Chicago across the lake.
The tallest dune in the park is Mount Baldy which is closed to the public while the park service tries to stabilize the dune due to the impact of erosion from so many visitors.
There are several historic structures within the park the Joseph Bailly Homestead and the Chellberg Farm.
The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education operates as the National Park’s western visitor center, providing visitors with activities to help them learn about the dunes. It hosts exhibits, classrooms, and provides access to the 3.4 mile Paul H. Douglas Trail.
The campground in the park has large spacious sites.
This park is an excellent example of a park that has grown over the years slowly preserving the area it was designated to protect.