Monday, June 27, 2011

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

This past weekend, hubby, pup and I packed up and headed to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for a weekend of sun, sand and camping.

When we first got there we set up the campsite. If you are thinking about camping here, get there early; campsites are first come/first serve. We stayed in the Mather Loop at campsite M34. It was nice, but not overly roomy--if we'd had more people joining us it would have been tight--but we didn't so it was perfect. If you do have your choice of sites, I thought some of the sites along the back of the loop looked really nice, and many of the sites were much bigger. Here is our site, to give you an idea of where we stayed.

After setting up camp, we went to check out Mount Baldy on the far east side of the park. There are two ways to get to the beach from the parking lot; a short hike up and over a dune, or a little longer hike over some smaller dunes. 

Now, the trail head clearly says to only take the trail over the large dune if you are good shape--we took that trail, and are not in the best shape--don't be scared. A rest or two on the way up and anyone in decent condition will be fine. Here are a few pictures from the top of Mt. Baldy...

Looking straight out at Lake Michigan
And looking east at the beautiful power plant in Michigan City
Now to go back up the same dune to the parking lot is much more steep, but it is ultra fun to go down!

After climbing (and descending) Mt. Baldy, we walked along the beach heading west, and waded in the cold water of Michigan. 

Pup's first time in waves!

Looking down the beach
After walking for a while we took the trail through the woods back to the parking lot--it was really pretty!!

After that we hit up an incredibly crazy junk store (on the corner of second and central, if you are's a pickers paradise), brought some firewood, and spent the rest of the night playing Bananagrams, cooking and hanging out by our campfire.

Day Two started with a nice drive along Lakeshore Drive and eventually ending up at Central Beach. We swam around in the lake with puppy and then took a catnap in the sand; the weather was perfect and we were able to find a secluded spot and it kinda felt like a private beach.

Central Beach
My sandy Puppy Girl!
After hanging out at the beach for a while we started to feel a little thirsty and a little burny, so we decided to head back to the campsite for lunch. After hanging out there for a bit we went to Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk. While there are no dogs allowed on the actually beach, we enjoyed walking on the trail to the beach (paved so it's good for strollers and wheelchairs too) and out onto pier.

Trail to the beach
Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Pavilion


"Riverwalk" Pier
After our walk back to the car I realized how tired, and hungry I was. We headed back to our campsite once again to start a fire and cook some dinner. After dinner, we played more Bananagrams and hung out around the campfire.

Sunday morning we woke up, broke camp, and headed home. It was an awesome trip! And I would recommend the Indiana Dunes to anyone--especially those in the Chicagoland region--as a quick, fun, inexpensive way to enjoy Lake Michigan's beaches.

No comments:

Post a Comment