Several years ago some friends told us of the great time they had visiting the Indiana Dunes Area. Being from the Midwest i filed it in the back of my head, on the list of umm..maybe someday. This past week, looking for a quick get away I decided to give it a try, and am so glad we did..sorry that we never went sooner.
The Dunes are amazing! It was evident as soon as we got to the area, every person we encountered was friendly, helpful and just treated you like a friend. We went first to the visitor center, where we were told where to go for the absolute best view..Mt Baldy. Being our first time, we took the hard way and traversed the sand trail to the summit, very hard....but well worth it!. The view of Lake Michigan from the top is better than anything I ever encountered on either cost. Miles of pristine sand and crystal blue waters as far as the eye can see! The Beaches are natural and unspoiled, there are no giant Hotels and swarms of people dotting the shoreline, just nature and a smattering of other nature lovers! We went to The Indiana Dunes State Park Main Beach, The Beverly Shores Beach and Mt. Baldy, each one was just as beautiful as the last. I was glad to see that there is simple Beach access at all, since one time climbing the Dune itself was enough!
Besides the amazing beaches the area has restaurants galore. We had just a short trip so only tried one, Wagoners Ribs, which was amazing. We do have several others on our "next time", list.
There are plenty of quaint shops in the towns surrounding the Dunes area, antique shops are everywhere! For those wanting a more urban shopping experience there is a great outlet mall in Michigan City as well as all the "regulars", Target, Kohls, Walmart etc.. Personally we didn't go to any chain, restaurant, store etc, as we can do these anytime and wanted more the local flavor.
The area also has historical sites, art galleries, dinner shows etc. The only drawback that I found is there is no central "strip" type of location in any of the towns that we saw. Because of this driving is a necessity. We were there in the off season however so maybe there are more "touristy" friendly set ups come summer. I do know that the town of Chesterton has a European style Market, every Saturday, beginning in May..so we are anxious to go back and see that.
The hotel that we stayed at(covered under separate review) SpringHouse Inn, was wonderful! Beautiful older Hotel, clean comfortable room, free Breakfast, central location and wonderful staff! The price was a can't be beat 50.00, we will definitely be back!
Overall it was a great experience, reminiscent of the type of resort community seen in movies like "Dirty Dancing", I am sure we will visit for many years to come. As a Midwesterner, I am glad I can now visit the "ocean" in Indiana Dunes, the "Mountains" and "Vegas" in Branson Mo and the Ozarks, and I have just been informed that the "Dunns River falls, Jamaica" clone is right in Kentucky. Cahokia mounds in Illinois, is close to Mayan ruins ...All this with no passport, no TSA, no long travel line and less than a tank of gas away! We are truly America the Beautiful.
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