Best time to travel to Indiana

Indiana Dunes National Park

Each season will make you enjoy something new and different during a visit to Indiana Dunes State Park

Best time: all year round

Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park

Stretching along 15 mi (24 km) of the southern bank of Lake Michigan, the Indiana Dunes National Park was recently named one of the ten Best State Parks in the nation by USA Today. This magical place offers incredible visitor experiences and the fantastic diversity of habitats. Beyond the stunning sandy beaches, explore quiet woods, rugged dunes, and tranquil bogs along 50 mi (80 km) of hiking trails. Indiana Dunes State Park is a world-class place for birders and heaven for plant lovers. Its 1,100 native plant species make this 15,000-ac (6,070-ha) park among the most biologically rich.

This park's uniqueness is the result of natural processes that are not duplicated on this level anywhere else on this planet. Nowhere else you will meet a 300 mi (483 km) long lake taking glacial sand from its west and east sides, then, under the power of waves rivaling the ocean and strong north winds, depositing that sand in 250-ft (76-m) high dunes. As a result—a unique series of long dunes separated by swamps.

Situated at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes enjoy four distinct seasons of weather. Summer weather is perfect for spending a day on one of the endless beaches and watching unbelievable sunsets. Camping and fishing are prevalent ways to relax at the dunes during summertime. Strolling along the shoreline can be amazing during cooler fall with your jumper on. Winter in the park offers fantastic snowy landscapes, and spring with its warm breezes returns the full force of blooming wildflowers to the Dunes.

The major part of the facilities of Indiana Dunes National Park can be accessed off U.S. Highway 12. As you travel on nearby highways, expect the large brown signs. They will direct you to different areas within the park.

Even though the park is open all year, Dunewood Campground, located near Beverly Shores, at U.S. 12 and Broadway, is open April through October. On the other hand, admission to the park is free from November through mid-April.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Indiana Dunes National Park?

Indiana Dunes National Park is a year-round destination with sandy beaches, rugged dunes, and tranquil bogs. Summers are perfect for basking in ideal weather, watching sunsets, and indulging in various activities. In fall, the cool weather is great for strolling along the shorelines. Winter is suitable for skiing or snowshoeing, while spring brings back nature's tranquility with blooming wildflowers to the park. Show more

Where can I go camping in the park?

The park boasts several campgrounds; Dunewood Campground near Beverly Shores, located at U.S. 12 and Broadway, is open from April to October. The park has RV sites and outdoor camping facilities with all types of amenities. Visitors can enjoy camping along the 45 miles of shoreline and hiking trails to experience the park's natural setting. Show more

What are some popular activities for bird watchers in Indiana Dunes National Park?

Indiana Dunes has become a bird paradise with over 350 species found in the park's different habitats. Visitors can hike through wetlands, prairies, and forests, among other habitats that allow them to spot various avian species. Bird enthusiasts can attend different events, guided birding tours, and birding festivals throughout the year. Show more

How long does it take to hike the entire 50 mi trail system of the park?

Indiana Dunes National Park's hiking trails traverse unique habitats and are of varied lengths and difficulties. Some trails take an hour to complete, while others may take up to three days. Hikers of all experience and fitness levels can find suitable trails and obtain maps at the park's visitor center. Show more

What should I expect during winter in Indiana Dunes National Park?

Outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing make winter trips to Indiana Dunes National Park a delightful experience. The park's trails offer beautiful views of snow-covered dunes, against the backdrop of frozen Lake Michigan. Visitors can attend winter events like the annual Arctic Birding Festival to spot seabirds that thrive in the cold, snowy park's climate. Show more

Ask a question

Find hotels and airbnbs near Indiana Dunes National Park (Map)

Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva