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Work on a new path to the beach was completed on June 13 at Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk. This path replaces the one that was destroyed by early spring storms. Those storms also caused the collapse of a viewing platform at the site. In addition to the trail work, volunteers and staff from both the City of Portage and the National Park Service removed a large amount of storm debris from the beach.
While the beach is open, visitors should expect to find a much narrower sand beach due to the erosion, higher water levels in Lake Michigan, and a nearby harbor structure that impedes sand flow. Exposed rocks to the east of the beach are dangerous and should be avoided.
Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is part of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and is operated by the City of Portage under an agreement with the National Park Service. One of the most popular beach areas along the entire national lakeshore, it provides easy access to the lakefront, multi-use trails, an accessible fishing pier and a restored 900-foot breakwater. A 3,500 square foot public pavilion includes restrooms, a seasonal snack bar and a glass walled classroom and meeting space. This summer, Twisted Citrus is the food vendor and offers a varied and original menu on Friday through Sunday from 11 am – 6 pm.
This beach has no lifeguards so visitors must know when it’s not safe to go into the lake. Large waves are dangerous and can be accompanied by potentially deadly rip currents that can sweep even the strongest swimmer out into the lake. Even when the lake is calm, don’t let children or non-swimmers get into the water without close supervision by adults who are competent swimmers. There can be unexpected deep spots near sand bars and in other waters that may appear shallow. Understanding Lake Michigan will make your trip to the beach a safe one.
For more information about Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, call the national lakeshore’s information desk at 219-395-1882 or contact Portage Parks and Recreation at 219-762-1675.