Portage Lakefront Short-term Rental Information

Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Trail
Looking north at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Pavilion on a clear blue day.

NPS Photo - Rafi Wilkinson 2016


Welcome to the Portage Lakefront Classroom – A Stunning Venue by Lake Michigan.

Discover the perfect blend of natural beauty and modern elegance at the Portage Lakefront Classroom, a glass-walled venue nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan within the picturesque Indiana Dunes National Park. Our unique space is available for short-term rentals, making it an ideal setting for a variety of events, from corporate meetings and training sessions to unforgettable weddings and intimate celebrations like birthday parties and baby showers.

Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk was opened in October 2008. The redevelopment of the site, formerly used by a steel corporation as settling ponds for industrial byproduct and a sewage treatment facility, is a successful model of brownfield reclamation. The land, buildings, and facilities at the site are owned by the National Park Service and operated in partnership with the City of Portage.

A 3,500 square foot public pavilion includes restrooms, a seasonal snack bar and a glass walled classroom/meeting space. The pavilion has accessible restrooms and is a Gold LEED certified building. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council. The public facilities were designed and developed to minimize their impact on the reclaimed landscape.

Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis. An application with a $50.00 nonrefundable application fee must be submitted and approved to tentatively hold a date. The remaining balance must be paid in full at least 14 days from when the e-bill was issued. See Payments and Payment Schedule below for more information about payments and billing.

Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Pavilion is located at 100 Riverwalk Drive, Portage, IN 46368.


Venue Highlights:

  1. Breathtaking Views: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Lake Michigan with our floor-to-ceiling glass walls that offer panoramic views of the glistening waters and pristine landscapes.
  2. Versatile Spaces: Whether you're planning a business meeting, training seminar, or a joyous celebration, our venue can be customized to suit your needs. The flexible layout allows for easy adaptation to different event styles and sizes.
  3. Modern Amenities: Enjoy the convenience of modern amenities, including audio/visual equipment for your presentation. Please note that there is no public WI-FI available and cell service is limited.
  4. Outdoor Terrace: Step out onto the publicly accessible outdoor terrace for a breath of fresh air and a closer look at the enchanting surroundings. It's an ideal spot for a refreshing break during meetings or a romantic toast at sunset during weddings.

Events We Host:

  1. Corporate Meetings & Training Sessions: Impress your clients and colleagues with a professional and inspiring setting. Our venue provides the perfect backdrop for productive meetings and team-building activities.
  2. Weddings & Receptions: Say "I do" surrounded by the natural beauty of Lake Michigan.
  3. Social Celebrations: Whether it's a milestone birthday, baby shower, or any other special occasion, the Portage Lakefront Classroom is the place to create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Booking Information:

Our venue is available for short-term rentals, and we offer competitive pricing packages to accommodate various budgets.
For availability and booking inquiries, please contact our Commercial Services Office by email at INDU_permits@nps.gov.

Pricing Packages

Price Number of Hours Days of the week Exclusions
$200.00 Up to 4 hours Monday through Thursday Holidays
$300.00 Full day (8 hours) Monday through Thursday Holidays
$300.00 Up to 4 hours Friday through Sunday or Holidays
$400.00 Full day (8 hours) Friday through Sunday or Holidays

Payments and Payment Schedule: The Short-Term Lease Application Fee of $50.00 is due 14-days from when the application is processed. The fee is nonrefundable. If applicant cancels anytime the fee is forfeited, however, if applicant continues the application, the fee is applied toward the rental rate.

Remaining Balance: After the application fee is received a draft lease will be written and sent to the APPLICANT for signature. Once the signed lease is returned by the APPLICANT the remaining balance is due. The lease will then be sent for finalization and the Superintendent’s signature. The remaining balance is due fourteen (14) days from when the e-bill is issued. Once the remaining balance is paid the final lease is sent to the APPLICANT.

Payments: All payments will be made via www.pay.gov, a secure payment portal. Payments can be made via Pay.gov using personal checking accounts, PayPal, credit cards, or other methods available on Pay.gov. An e-bill through pay.gov will be issued to the email address on the application for both the application fee and the remaining balance.

Cancellations: All cancellations must be made 14 days prior to the event date listed on the application. Any rent paid above the nonrefundable deposit amount listed above will be refunded, via pay.gov, to the payment method used.

Additional Rent: NPS supervision is required for events that wish to exceed past closing time. Closing time is defined as any time outside the listed summer or winter hours.An additional cost of $50.00 per hour, with a minimum of 2 hours, is required for events that wish to exceed closing time. This cost must be paid via an e-bill with pay.gov at least 30 days prior to the event.

Rental Hours

Summer Hours From the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day 9:00am to 9:00pm
Winter Hours From the day after Labor Day through the Thursday before Memorial Day 9:00am to 5:00pm


Additional Information

Capacity: The maximum number of people in the room depends on the setup/configuration:

  • Standing: 200 people 
  • Chairs only: 150 people 
  • Chairs and tables: 50 people 


Included in the lease and NPS’s Responsibility Applicant’s/Applicant’s Responsibility
The area included is the Classroom, a room with glass on three sides located within the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Pavilion. The lease is only for the Classroom. It does not include the entrance hallway, exterior covered patio, concession area, restrooms, or any other area located outside of the four walls of the Classroom. The area does not include any exterior grounds, and there is no reserved parking included with the lease. APPLICANT is responsible for removal of all equipment, personal objects, and trash collection at the termination of the lease. 
Basic toilet paper and hand soap are provided in the shared restroom.  
10 rectangular tables which measure 70” x 30” APPLICANT is responsible for putting away all tables used during the event in the provided cabinets along the wall.
50 padded chairs
1 NEC Projector If used, the APPLICANT must ensure the projector is set to HDMI 1 upon termination of the lease and the remote is secured in the wall-mounted lock box on the north-east wall.
1 NEC Projector Remote Control with batteries
A routine cleaning of the room prior to the event. Classroom must be lightly swept and cleaned, and the room left in a similar condition as when entered.
Cleaning supplies with broom, dustpan, and trash bags. Trash receptacles are available to use.
Fire & Safety inspection conducted by NPS Fire Chief or Designee. Onsite supervision may be required depending on the nature of the event to ensure safety, the cost of which may be considered an additional charge. Each event is different and will evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Requirement for additional supervision will be determined by the NPS.
Any maintenance issues necessitating immediate attention to include plumping, electrical, or other concerns will be addressed by NPS Designee prior to or on day of event. APPLICANT is responsible for any loss or damage to building or equipment including but not limited to chairs, tables, projector, remote, and another other electrical equipment, furnishings, or building apparatuses. 

  1. Access: The APPLICANT will be provided a code for the duration of the lease.  The NPS is not responsible for granting access to vendors.  The APPLICANT is responsible for scheduling deliveries and granting access to vendors.
  2. Parking:  Use of the parking area adjacent to the Portage Lakefront Pavilion is permitted during the term of this Lease on a first come/first served basis.  The APPLICANT and APPLICANT’s guests shall comply with parking and traffic determinations made by NPS staff. The National Park Service cannot guarantee parking availability or access into the park during peak times, weather events, or other circumstances beyond the control of the park management.  Your party may encounter difficulty entering or exiting the park.
  3. Entrance Fee: Entrance fees apply to APPLICANT and all members of the APPLICANT’s group. The park requires a valid entrance pass or receipt. The APPLICANT and the APPLICANT’S guests may utilize the 1–7-day National Park entry receipt, Indiana Dunes National Park Annual Pass, or any Federal Lands Recreation pass such as, but not limited to, the America the Beautiful Annual Pass, Senior Annual or Lifetime Passes, Veteran Lifetime Pass, Military Annual Pass, Every Kid Outdoors Pass, Access Pass, or Volunteer Pass. Contact the Indiana Dunes National Park Fee Office at 219-395-8138 to learn more about the America the Beautiful Pass Series or arrange payment of entry passes in advance. For more information about the park’s entrance fee program visit: https://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/fees.htm.
  4. Set Up/Break Down:  APPLICANT is solely responsible for all set up and break down for use of area. Set up and break down required in connection with the event must take place within the time during which the Lease is in effect.  NPS authorization is required in the event the Applicant requires additional time to set up or break down the event and may result in additional costs to the APPLICANT. 
  5. Floor Plans: Final floor plans of furniture and equipment, including, but not limited to, tables and chairs, podiums, and other equipment, are required and must be submitted prior to event to be reviewed and approved by NPS Structural Fire Coordinator. Floor plans are necessary to ensure there are no FIRE or SAFETY HAZARDS. Aisles must be clear and even walk-through flow is required at all times.
  6. Clean Up and Trash Removal: Classroom must be lightly swept and cleaned, and the room left in a similar condition as when entered.
  7. Chairs and Tables: The APPLICANT shall be responsible for the breakdown of the chairs and tables and restoring the room to an open space with the chairs and tables placed in the storage positions. 
  8. Drop Cloths: The APPLICANT must use drop cloths if using paint and they must cover any work area subject to spills including, but not limited to, the floor, tables, and chairs.  Spills must be immediately wiped up using water and paper towels.
  9. Kitchen Facilities: Kitchen facilities are not provided. No sink is provided.
  10. Caterers and Event Planners: Caterers and event planners unfamiliar with the Premises may undertake a pre-event walkthrough of the Premises prior to the event with the applicant and an NPS Representative subject to approval of, and at the convenience of, the NPS.
  11. Securing the Room: The APPLICANT must ensure all doors and windows are securely locked at the expiration of this lease.  Any damage resulting from an unsecured access point could result in additional charges.

Insurance: The APPLICANT must obtain, and keep throughout the duration of the lease, single-event insurance in the amount of $500,000 per incident and $1,000,000 aggregate.  All property and liability insurance must name the United States of America, on behalf of the National Park Service, as an additional insured.  Proof of Liquor Liability Insurance is required for any event in which alcohol is to be served or made available.  Insurance must be submitted at the time of the application.

  • How many tables and chairs are available?
    • There are 10 tables and enough chairs for 60 people.
  • What size and shape are the tables?
    • The tables are rectangular and measure 70” by 30”.
  • Do you have a preferred caterer? Can you recommend one?
    • No, we do not have a preferred caterer, nor can we recommend any.  There are many local caterers in the area.
  • How will I get access to the space?
    • You will be provided an access code which will be valid for the duration of your lease.  When the code expires, the doors entering the room will lock automatically.
  • Do I need Liability Insurance?
    • Yes, Single Event Insurance is required to lease the Classroom.  Please see the information above about insurance requirements or contact the Commercial Services Office for more details.  We recommend starting with your own insurance agents (car, home, renters, etc.) and asking if they can provide single event liability insurance.  Most major insurance companies can provide it, there are also online vendors.  Please remember that the United States of America, on behalf of the National Park Service, must be listed as additional insured.
  • Can I serve alcohol?
    • Yes. Beer and wine are allowed.  If your caterer is providing and serving alcohol, they are required to have a valid liquor license.  Liquor Liability Insurance must be added to the Single Event Insurance and provided to the Commercial Services Office.
  • Does the Classroom have AC and/or heat?
    • Yes, the room has automatic heating controls.
  • Is there WI-FI or internet access?
    • No, the classroom does not have WI-FI or internet access.  Cell phone signals can be limited.  It is recommend to download any presentation material prior to your event if you plan to display it on the projector.

Last updated: April 18, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


219 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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