Now that summer is in full swing – there’s nothing more pleasurable than a dip in Lake Michigan and a walk along it’s blue and pleasant shores. As a lifelong resident of the area – here are some tips that many of the guidebooks might leave out.
Dogs are allowed on the State Park and National Park Beaches, they must remain leashed at all times and you have to clean up after them. The only beaches where dogs ARE NOT allowed is the West Beach area and the Porter Beach area.
Most of the beaches will be packed during the summer season – but one of the lest crowded beaches is Kemil Beach, which is located off US Route 12. You have to trek a little bit from the parking lot to the beach – but it’s worth it for smaller crowds. Parking at Kemil Beach is also free, I should add.
The new Portage Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk has ample parking and a nice pavilion. A lot of people don’t know about it yet – so it’s likely to be less crowded. It also butts onto the beaches of Ogden Dunes which are private and never crowded.
Unfortunately, there are times when the beaches must closed due to Ecoli blooms. Usually this happens right after a big storm. So check ahead with the Park Website before you head out to Indiana’s beaches.
If you venture off the beaches into the nature trails, stay on the trails. They’ve been marked for safety. Avoid low lying brush as there are ticks and other insects in the park. Also, keep a lookout for poison ivy. It’s everywhere. This is what it looks like in case you’ve forgotten:
Watch for Rip Current Warnings when the lake is rough and generally avoid swimming is there are massive swells.
Stay Cool – the beaches get much hotter than the areas surrounding them, drink plenty of fluids and be sure to wear sandals or shoes because the sand can burn you.
Some beaches have lifeguards while some do not. Swim at your own risk and pay attention to posted signs.
Wear Sunscreen! Always wear Sunscreen!
Alcohol is NOT ALLOWED at West Beach, Porter Beach or the Dunewood Campground.
Fireworks are NOT ALLOWED anywhere in the Indiana Dunes National Park. It’s a federal law. Don’t break it.