Permits & Reservations


Unless noted in the permits listed below, the park is under a first-come first-serve basis.

Most common reservation inquiries:

  • The Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk pavilion building requires a permit for reservations. Permits for this location are initiated by the City of Portage Parks & Recreation (219) 762-1675.
  • Dunewood Campground is on a first-come, first-served basis. No advance reservations. Payments and reservations are made on-site at the campground.
  • Picinic Shelters are on a first-come, first-served basis. No advance reservations.



Special Park Uses are activities that take place within a national park outside typical and ordinary use. These events may include activities such as weddings, commercial filming and sales activities. Special Park Use activities may only take place with written authorization from the National Park Service in the form of a Special Use Permit, Commercial Filming Permit or a Commercial Use Authorization.

While many activities are appropriate for a national park, our regulations outline what types of activities are allowed. Criteria for permissible activities as well as answers to many questions about permits are available here:


Permit Applications

Permit applications must be submitted at least three weeks, but no more than six months, prior to the proposed event. Your application must include a non-refundable payment for the costs of processing the application. The payment is $65.00 for simple activities and $200.00 for more complex events. Additional charges may also apply. Submitting an application does not guarantee the activity will be approved.

If you are not sure your activity needs a permit, which application to use or have other questions, please contact the Special Park Use Coordinator at (219) 395-1859.


Commercial Filming / Still Photography

Please submit the appropriate permit application and payment from above (Simple Activity or Complex Event) along with the appropriate Filming / Photography application below. Allow the necessary time for processing.



There are some special considerations that relate to weddings. Persons interested in hosting a wedding ceremony will find answers to the most common questions here:


Powerless Flight / Hang-Gliding / Paragliding

Due to ongoing dune restoration efforts, flight permits are suspended. New permits are not available and current permits are suspended. We will post updated information as conditions change.


Smelt Season Fire

Anglers interested in building a traditional cooking/warming fire must obtain a permit. These are available during normal business hours at the:

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center
1215 North State Road 49
Porter, Indiana 46304
(219) 395-1882

Last updated: January 29, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

Contact Us