Year Established: 2019
Annual Visitors: 3.18 Million
Size: 15,349 Acres
Best Time to Visit Indiana Dunes National Park
March to May, September to November
If you are planning to visit more national parks, check out our complete list of all US National Parks.
Best Experiences in Indiana Dunes National Park
- West Beach
- Swim in Lake Michigan
- Mount Baldy
A Brief History
As poet Carl Sandburg put it, these dunes “are to the Midwest what the Grand Canyon is to Arizona and Yosemite is to California.” The park is located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, and its 15 miles of beaches are easily accessible from Chicago. From the taller sand dunes, such as the 192-foot-tall Mount Tom, you can see the city skyline.
Around a third of the state’s uncommon, threatened, and endangered plant species may be found here. Among them is the federally protected Pitcher’s thistle, which blooms only every five to eight years and only produces white or pink petals. The park is home to over 350 different bird species, and despite its relatively modest size, its hills and marshes have helped it achieve the fifth highest degree of biodiversity of any national park in the world.
The park’s paths and the Great Marsh Observation Deck draw professional and amateur ornithologists all year long to see the migratory birds like the yellow-breasted prairie warbler, the red-headed woodpecker, and, on occasion, the lesser sand plover. The annual birding festival is held in the park every May, and draws a large crowd who come for the conservation-oriented workshops and bird-calling competitions.
Indiana Dunes RV Camping
If you are looking for nearby RV camping options for Indiana Dunes National Park or in Indiana, consider checking out our other post:
Weekly Park Passes
$15.00 per person/cyclist
$25.00 per vehicle
$20.00 per motorcycle
All park passes valid for up to 7 days. People who are 16 years old or younger can get in for free.
Annual Park Passes
Indiana Dunes National Park Annual Pass – $45.00
Contacting Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center
The Indiana Dunes National Park and Dunes State Park are located in Porter County and are well worth a visit. Learn from the informational booths and two quick films about the area. Browse the shelves at Eastern National bookstore.
Porter, IN 46304
Hours of Operation
- Sunday 8:00 AM–6:00 PM
- Monday 8:00 AM–6:00 PM
- Tuesday 8:00 AM–6:00 PM
- Wednesday 8:00 AM–6:00 PM
- Thursday 8:00 AM–6:00 PM
- Friday 8:00 AM–6:00 PM
- Saturday 8:00 AM–6:00 PM
Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education
The beautiful Paul H. Douglas Trail in Miller Woods can be accessed from the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education. The facility’s interactive exhibits, ranger-led hikes, lectures, animals, crafts, and Nature Play Zone help bring visitors closer to nature.
100 North Lake Street
Gary, IN 46403
Hours of Operation
- Temporarily Closed
Be sure to check for seasonal closures.