The state park’s 16.5 miles of trails allow you to explore all these habitats, which shelter diverse wildlife and provide excellent birding. Even on the busiest summer days, if you head away from the public beach house, you’ll quickly lose the crowds. Scan the open water for ships, beachcomb, and take in the sweeping backdrop of the dunes. Watch birds on the open water, feeding at the water’s edge, or from the small bird observatory in the park’s Nature Center.
Indiana Dunes State Park features a wide variety of habitats, including beach, sand dunes, black oak forest, wooded wetlands, and a button-bush marsh. Together, these areas contain some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the Midwest.
The dunes provide an opportunity to explore an exciting and ever-changing landscape. In several areas, huge “living” or “moving” dunes are slowly being blown inland, burying forests as they go. A prime example can be seen from Trail 9. Other interesting features include “tree graveyards” (places where forests have been buried by sand and then, more recently, re-exposed by wind erosion). “Tree graveyards” can be seen in Big Blowout, near Trail 10. The Indiana Dunes area also is renowned throughout the Midwest for its birding. Visit the Nature Center to ask about good birding locations.
Indiana Dunes State Park is surrounded by Indiana Dunes National Park.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Visitors can enjoy Indiana Dunes State Park in a wide variety of ways. A campground, many picnic shelters and picnic areas, more than 16 miles of hiking trails, a swimming beach, and the Nature Center are available for visitors’ use and are operated with visitor safety in mind. During the summer season, a beach pavilion provides shelter, restrooms with outside showers only, a snack bar, and gift shop.