Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a part of National Park System, is a 25 miles beach stretch on the southern shore of Lake Michigan.
The park is owned and managed by the state of Indiana and contains 15,000 acres divided into fifteen pieces.
There is not a lot of evidence about Native American communities in the area but what is certain is there were lots of hunting camps here. The earliest traces of permanent camps show up in Ohio Valley which was occupied by the Hopewell culture.
At the beginning of 16th-century European explorers and traders arrived in the region and changed life here forever.
At the beginning of 16th-century Europian explorers and traders started spreading through the area and influenced the life of the tribes. Entire communities moved to the west, but the dunes remained the best place for hunting and a trading spot between the east and the west.
In the 19th century, the European settlement started. Joseph Bailly is the first known settler who moved from trading villages in Michigan. After him, whole new communities started to develop around the dunes. The pioneer communities include Porter, Chesterton, Tremont, and the Town of the Pines.
There was a town called City West that had planned to be a competitor to Chicago. The construction didn’t last too long, in 1837 during the national economic panic, It all stopped.
Today, people from the area like to spend time at one of the gorgeous beaches that offer golden sands and refreshing water to jump in on hot summer days. There are several beaches with parking lots, some of them include showers and lifeguards, as well.
You can choose to go to Lake View Beach, Dunbar Beach, Kemil Beach, Porter Beach, West Beach, Central Avenue Beach or Mount Baldy Beach. Make sure you get there early in the morning to find a free parking lot because during the summer months the beaches get crowded.
When visiting make sure you have lots of water, repellent, and sunscreen. Always stay on the marked trails and be careful not to destroy the flora and the fauna of the dunes. Also, be careful on windy days, the kids toys can easily get whipped away, never to be seen again. Stay out of the water when there are high breaking waves and currents. If being pulled, don’t panic! Try to swim parallel to it until you get to the shore.
The sandy beaches of Indiana Dunes can be a great place for the whole family. Just pick a day and get stuck in. Enjoy this hidden corner of Indiana and make some beautiful outdoor memories.
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