West Beach at Indiana Dunes National Park

West Beach

Nathaniel Moreno, NPS Collection


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Parking and Hours

Parking lot is open all holidays, 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Parking Lot

West Beach

  • 655 total spaces
  • 50 oversized spaces
  • 41.622934, -87.207747


Getting There

West Beach Parking Lot
376 North County Line Road, Gary, IN 46403.

Need to Know

  • Facilities – Year-round restrooms and potable water at the parking lot. Seasonal restrooms, potable water, showers, and lockers at the bath house. Seasonal restrooms and potable water at the picnic area.
  • Prohibited – Glass and fires on the beach, littering.
  • Prohibited – Removing plants, rocks, shells, and fossils.
  • There are 8 covered picnic shelters near the West Beach parking lot that are wheelchair accessible. The shelters are reservable at www.recreation.gov starting six months in advance of the desired use date. The reservation is good for day use from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. The shelter reservation does not waive the West Beach car entrance fee collected during the summer months.
  • Cooking fires at the picnic shelters are permitted in the provided grills or an approved carry-in grill. An approved grill is a non-combustible container with an enclosed bottom and enclosed sides with a minimum depth of 2 inches. Charcoal must be cooled and safely disposed of in a non-combustible container or removed from the area.
  • Parking lot is paved and has spots for 600 cars and 20 buses and RVs.


  • Please stay on designated trails only and respect closed area signs. Going off trail damages fragile habitat.
  • Ticks are present year-round. Take precautionary measures to prevent bites.
  • Poison ivy can be present on the edges of the parking lot and on the trails to the beach.
  • In case of an emergency or to report a crime, call 1-800-PARK-TIP.


  • The bath house, picnic tables, restrooms, some picnic shelters, and walkway to the beach are wheelchair accessible. The beach itself is not wheelchair accessible

Visitor Activities
  • Swimming. Due to a lack of applicants, lifeguard availability is limited for the 2024 swimming season. This is subject to change as we continue to look for more applicants. Call the visitor center at 219-395-1882 for more information. Lifeguards may not be present. Swim at your own risk. Rip currents and large waves can make swimming hazardous.
  • Hike the West Beach Trails. Enjoy the sweeping views of Lake Michigan from the top of the Dunes Succession Trail stairs.

Nearby Beaches

Rip Tides Poster

Rip Currents:

Be on the lookout this summer for rip currents on Lake Michigan.

Before your next visit to the beach, learn how to spot a rip current and what to do if you get caught in one. Always check the local beach forecast for any warnings, and exercise caution.


♦ Don't fight the current
♦ Swim out of the current, then to shore
♦ If you can't escape, float or tread water
♦ If you need help, call or wave for assistance


♦ Know how to swim
♦ Never swim alone
♦ If in doubt, don't go out
More information about rip currents can be found at the following websites: www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov and www.usla.org

Infographic explaining to flip, float, and follow when drowning.

Drowning? Flip, Float, and Follow

“Flip, Float, and Follow,” is a campaign and drowning survival technique by Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project to help people remember how to successfully escape a variety of drowning accidents in the Great Lakes such as rip currents, long-shore currents, and structural currents.

1️⃣FLIP: Flip over onto your back and float.

2️⃣FLOAT: Float to: keep head above water; calm yourself down, and conserve energy.

3️⃣FOLLOW: Follow the safest course to safety: do not fight current; follow current to assess which way it's flowing. Swim perpendicular to the flow. If too tired to swim, continue floating and try to signal for help.

The Dangers of Shelf Ice
The Dangers of Shelf Ice

Stay off the shelf ice! Despite its unusual beauty, don't risk your life. Enjoy the view of the shelf ice—from a distance!

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


219 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

Contact Us