Indiana Dunes Outdoor Adventures

Indiana Dunes Outdoor Adventure Festival
Indiana Dunes Outdoor Adventure Festival

NPS - Jeff Manuszak

We are excited to announce the inaugural Indiana Dunes Outdoor Adventure Festival, which will take place October 6-8, 2017! The greater dunes region is packed with outdoor adventure opportunities and the festival will bring together all these activities in one place. With support from Indiana Dunes Tourism, the Indiana Dunes State Park, and a dozen other partners, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will host this three-day event.

Centered at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center on State Road 49, the festival will showcase the region’s natural and cultural significance through hiking, paddling, biking, and other activities such as geo-caching, photography, birding, and orienteering. The festival has events for everyone including families, beginners, experts, and those with limited mobility. The only requirements are the desire to have an outdoor adventure and to have a great time!

Outdoor adventures extend well beyond the national lakeshore. The festival will take place across the region with activities in Porter, La Porte, and Lake counties. A highlight of the weekend will be the grand opening of the Little Calumet River Water Trail with a tour sponsored by the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association and the Shirley Heinz Land Trust.

Another unique opportunity will be backpacking in the national lakeshore. With support from REI, we will be leading an overnight backpacking trip to Cowles Bog beach and back. Enjoy the sunset from your tent pitched on the beach along Lake Michigan! No experience required and equipment will be available to rent.

The visitor center will host a variety of activities as well. Outdoor related presentations in the auditorium will showcase regional adventure opportunities and educational talks will give the necessary know-how to experience an adventure. In the activity room, regional outdoor organizations will have booths providing information and expertise.

Advance registration is requested. Please look for a link to register in June at The cost of the festival is $10 per person for the entire weekend and includes a commemorative festival hiking medallion or sticker. Many adventures will have limited space, so please sign up for individual activities at the time of registration.

A sample of the outdoor adventures that will be offered include hiking Miller Woods, Pinhook Bog, Cowles Bog, Trail 8, Trail 9, a full moon hike up Mount Baldy, ecology and geology hikes, paddling the Little Calumet River, a moonlight paddle on the Marquette Lagoons, a sunset saunter and campfire at Kemil Beach, geo-caching at Coffee Creek, yoga at Portage Lakefront, sunset photography at Central Avenue Beach, kids scavenger hunts at the Paul H. Douglas Center, family hikes at Baily/Chellberg and the State Park, and all abilities hikes at Coffee Creek, Calumet Dunes, and Portage Lakefront.

We hope that you will come out this October for your own outdoor adventure!

Last updated: April 17, 2017