Can you tell me some basic facts about Indiana Dunes National Park?
What is the size of Indiana Dunes National Park?
How many people visit Indiana Dunes National Park each year?
What makes Indiana Dunes National Park unique?
What are the hours of Indiana Dunes National Park?
6:00 am to 11:00 pm Central Time unless otherwise posted. West Beach is open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm Central Time.
Are there entry or parking fees for Indiana Dunes National Park?
There are no entrance fees or parking fees to the national park with one exception. West Beach charges a parking fee of $6.00 per vehicle or motorcycle per day ($30.00 per bus per day) from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the Monday of Labor Day weekend. The parking fee is collected from 8:00 am Central Time to no later than 7:00 pm. Note: A 50% discount is available for holders of the Lifetime Senior, Annual Senior, and Access passes. A discount is not offered for the Annual Pass.
Where can I get more information about Indiana Dunes National Park and surrounding area?
Where is the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center (Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center)?
The visitor center is located at 1215 North State Road 49, Porter, IN 46304. It is one mile north of the I-94 interchange (exit 26B), four miles north of the I-80/90 interchange (exit 31), and just south of U.S. Highways 12 and 20.
What are the hours of the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center?
What are the hours of the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education?
Does Indiana Dunes National Park offer programs for the public?
The national park offers nearly 500 free public programs a year covering a wide range of interests and abilities. Upcoming programming can be found by calling or visiting the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, or online at the parks’ website www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/calendar.htm and Facebook www.facebook.com/pg/IndianaDunesNPS pages.
Does Indiana Dunes National Park sell/have the Senior Pass and other federal lands passes?
Although Indiana Dunes National Park does not have an entrance fee, we can issue all passes available within the America the Beautiful federal lands pass program. The passes include the Annual Pass, Access Pass, Senior Lifetime Pass, Senior Annual Pass, Active Military Pass, Volunteer Pass, and Fourth Grade Annual Pass. The passes are available at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center. Cash, credit, and debit cards are accepted for those passes that must be purchased.
Do the National Park passes work at the State Park and vice versa?
The national park passes are not accepted at the state park or any other non-federal location. The state park pass is not accepted at the national park.
How do I get to the beaches of Indiana Dunes National Park?
The national park’s 15 miles of beaches are accessible from the following beach parking lots, most of which you can access from U.S. Highway 12.
What are some of the rules pertaining to the beaches at Indiana Dunes National Park?
Are personal motorized watercraft, dune buggies, ATVs, or kayaks allowed within Indiana Dunes National Park?
The national park does not have motorized boat launches. Kayaks are permitted and there are launches along the Little Calumet River and Marquette Park Lagoons. Personal motorized watercraft, dune buggies, and ATVs are strictly prohibited within the park boundaries.
Are pets allowed in Indiana Dunes National Park?
Pets are permitted everywhere including beaches in the national park with the following exceptions:
Does Indiana Dunes National Park close the beaches when high waves are present, or E. coli levels are high?
No, except for West Beach, when lifeguards are present. The national park does not close its beaches, regardless of water conditions. However, when lifeguards are stationed at West Beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the national park will close the West Beach swim area when high waves or high E. coli levels are present. Lifeguards are not stationed at any other location within the national park.
Is alcohol allowed in Indiana Dunes National Park?
Responsible alcohol use is permitted everywhere within the national park with the exception of inside of NPS buildings. No glass containers are allowed on the beach.
Do all of the trails involve steep climbs in Indiana Dunes National Park?
There are 50 miles of hiking in 14 trail systems with varying difficulty throughout the national park. See the national park’s hiking webpage at www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/hiking for details. Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is a paved accessible trail where people can enjoy Lake Michigan views. The Calumet Dunes Trail is also paved. The Great Marsh and Heron Rookery Trails are flat.
Is there horseback riding in Indiana Dunes National Park?
The Glenwood Dunes Trail is the only equestrian trail at the national park. Horseback riding is prohibited on all roads. There is no horse rental concession. The trail is open to horses from March 16 through December 14, unless there is sufficient snow cover for cross-country skiing. In the parking lot and picnic area, all horse excrement must be bagged, removed from the area, and disposed of appropriately. The parking lot is large enough for horse trailers.
How do I reserve an environmental education program at Indiana Dunes National Park?
Teachers and youth group leaders should call Christy Gerlach at 219-395-1885 to arrange for a free ranger-led program. These programs are conducted at the park’s Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education located in Gary/Miller, Indiana, and other park locations, which focus on the park’s resource issues.
Does Indiana Dunes National Park have a Junior Ranger Program?
Yes. Stop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center or Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education for information and program materials. The Junior Ranger book can also be downloaded at www.nps.gov/indu/forkids. Other junior ranger programs are offered at special events. All programs are free. Children completing the junior ranger program earn a Junior Ranger badge or sticker.
How can I volunteer at Indiana Dunes National Park?
The national park has many ways to volunteer. Visit www.nps.gov/indu/getinvolved/volunteer for details. Try the Drop-In Volunteering Program! The national park has drop-in volunteer projects on the third Saturday of every month. Trash Trekkers, our litter clean-up program, is available every day. Just drop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center or Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education to get your trash bag and head out to the park. Once you fill your bag, leave your trash bag next to an existing trash can in the park and return to the Visitor Center or Paul H. Douglas Center to receive a free Indiana Dunes water bottle as a reward for your service.
Does Indiana Dunes National Park have a campground?
Yes. The Dunewood Campground is run by the national park and is located just south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and Broadway in the Town of Beverly Shores. The campground is open from April 1 through November 1. The following are details pertaining to the national park campground:
Campground Attractions / Services
Campground Reservation Information
Does the State Park have a campground?
Yes, the state park has a year-round campground with full electric hook-ups. All sites are reservable on the following website: www.reserveamerica.com/explore/indiana-dunes-state-park/IN/570035/overview. The campground is very popular, and sites must be reserved months in advance for the summer season.
Does Indiana Dunes National Park have picnic areas?
Yes, covered picnic shelters with tables are located at the following locations along with modern restrooms. Cooking fires are permitted in the provided grills or an approved carry-in grill. An approved grill is a noncombustible container with an enclosed bottom and enclosed sides with a minimum depth of two inches. Charcoal must be cooled and safely disposed of in a noncombustible container or removed from the area.
Does Indiana Dunes National Park have wheelchair accessible locations?
Major sites within the national park that are accessible with assistance include:
What is the relationship between Indiana Dunes National Park and State Park?
The national park is owned by the United States Government’s Department of the Interior. The state park is owned by the State of Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The parks are completely independent of one another and have different rules, regulations, and fees. Both parks do have similar missions in protecting the unique habitats of the Indiana Dunes and providing recreational opportunities for millions of visitors. Both parks also collaborate in many areas such as public programming, prescribed burns, and invasive species control.
The region is very lucky to have both parks and gives visitors a broader set of options when coming to the Indiana Dunes. It is recommended that visitors visit both parks to get a more complete understanding of the Indiana Dunes.
Is Indiana Dunes National Park going to buy the State Park?
The national park is NOT taking over the state park. Nothing has changed. The national park’s 2019 name change from national lakeshore to national park did not change the national and state park’s relationship in any way.
Revised May 6, 2020
Last updated: September 23, 2020