Home » 2003 Cross Country Road Trip

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, IN

Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 12:00pm by Lolo
460 miles and 8 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


It took quite a bit of persuasion to get Herb to stop at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore again. We had been here 3 years ago on the return of another one of our cross country ventures and been quite disappointed with what we found. Although the dunes themselves were quite impressive, the park was sandwiched between Gary and Michigan City, both very industrial towns with clouds of smoke spewing from some very large and highly visible smokestacks. To add to our displeasure, the lake had been closed for swimming because of a high e.coli count.

Boy's playing in the dunes overlooking the e.coli ridden lakeBoy's playing in the dunes overlooking the e.coli ridden lakeHowever, since there really weren't many other places to stop along this stretch of I80, we decided to give it another try--after all, the dunes were quite spectacular. We arrived late afternoon and were very lucky to even get a site. This campground is quite popular and located in close proximity to some highly populated cities.

Since it was getting late, we immediately hopped on our bikes and rode down to the beach, hoping to spend an hour or two relaxing and swimming. As we pulled up to the beach, there it was again--the "No Swimming due to high e.coli count" sign. I couldn't believe it. Of course, Herb had this smug "I told you so" grin on his face.

Undaunted and determined to have some fun, we climbed up the Devil's Slide, a steep dune overlooking the beach. It was perfect for rolling and tumbling down, and we truly did have a good time on it.

Herb, still seeming to carry a grudge against this place, started laughing and reading aloud from the long list of park regulations in the brochure. He just hates parks with too many do's and don't. The "No Llama" regulation is what finally put him over the top. I have a funny feeling that we won't be back here again.


Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which stretches about 15 miles along the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan between Gary and Michigan City, has some of the highest dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline. These dunes are called "living" dunes because they continue to move inland a few feet each year, burying plants and trees as they go.

Within the National Lakeshore, a 3-mile section of the beach is actually a very popular State Park. This is where most of the action and facilities at Indiana Dunes are located. There is a large beach pavilion complete with snack bar and gift shop, a nature center, a lifeguard protected swimming beach, over 16 miles of dune hiking trails, and a large 286-site campground.

Another popular trail is the 9.2-mile Calumet Bike Trail, which is located in the National Lakeshore section of the Dunes about 2 miles inland. This trail runs along a railroad bed through a wide variety of habitats--beach, sand dunes, black oak forest, and marshes.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore location map in "high definition"

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