PORTER, INDIANA: The National Park Service has approved an entrance fee for Indiana Dunes National Park beginning on March 31, 2022. The new fee revenue will help fund the Marquette Greenway Bike Trail, parking and transportation improvements and visitor services for a park that has seen its attendance increase from 1.7 million visitors to more than 3 million since its name change in February of 2019. This new fee only affects the national park and does not change the fee collected by the state for entrance into the Indiana Dunes State Park.
The fees vary depending on the method used to enter the national park. The per person/walk-in/bike-in/boat-in rate: $15.00 (up to a maximum of $25 per family), Motorcycle Pass: $20.00, One to Seven-Day Vehicle Pass: $25.00, Indiana Dunes National Park Annual Pass: $45.00 and Commercial Fee for a Motor Coach (Bus): up to $100.00.
Holders of the following federal land passes will not pay an entrance fee: Annual Pass, Senior Pass, Veterans, Military and Gold Star Family Pass, 4th Grade Pass, Access Pass (for permanent disability), and the Volunteer Pass.
The Indiana Dunes National Park Entrance Pass (1-7 days) and the Indiana Dunes National Park Annual Pass will be available for purchase at the following locations: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, the Paul H Douglas Center, and seasonally at the West Beach Entrance Station or online at www.recreation.gov. The park’s Annual Pass will be available for purchase beginning March 1st and the Entrance Pass will be available on the first day fees are collected; March 31st. There are plans to have local vendors such as gas stations, or other retailers near the park, sell passes too. More information will be available when vendors are confirmed.
“This is a positive step to keep the park accessible, safe and vibrant for all, while allowing us to grow and meet the increased needs of our visitors,” said park superintendent Paul Labovitz. “Out of town guests expect a fee at most places they visit and everyone can obtain an annual pass for what might be the best bargain in town. Stepping up our maintenance and public safety is needed as well as expanding our role in bringing new amenities forward. Thank you in advance for your support.”
For more information about the new entrance fees or passes, contact the park’s information desk at 219-395-1882 or see the park web page at www/nps.gov/indu.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why the new fee? The new fee revenue will help fund a wide variety of deferred maintenance and new projects like the Marquette Greenway Bike Trail, parking and transportation improvements and visitor services for a park that has seen its attendance increase from 1,7 million visitors to more than 3 million since its name change in February of 2019. At least 55% of this revenue must be used for maintenance while the rest can be used to supplement operations and fund improvements to visitor services.
When would the new fee begin? March 31, 2022
How much is the fee? $15 per person/walk-in/bike-in/boat-in rate: (up to a maximum of $25 per family group)
Motorcycle Pass: $20.00 for a 1–7-day pass
$25, per carload, for a 1–7-day pass.
$45 for a yearly pass specific to Indiana Dunes National Park
Up to $100 for a commercial bus.
Will this fee be accepted at Indiana Dunes State Park? No, this new fee is only for the national park and does not cover the fee collected by the state for entrance into the Indiana Dunes State Park.
Will my Federal Lands Pass work for this fee? Yes, the following federal passes will work:
America the Beautiful (Annual pass to Federal Lands, $80)
Senior (62 years old; $20 for Annual Senior Pass or $80 for Lifetime Senior Pass)
Military (Active Military, No cost)
Veterans & Gold Star Families (No cost)
4th Grade (No cost)
Access (Permanent Disability; No cost)
Will my Indiana State Parks Pass be a accepted for this fee? No.
How will people pay the fee? Fees will be paid at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, the Paul H. Douglas Center, the West Beach Entrance Station (seasonally) and on-line at Recreatiopn.gov. We do not plan to build entrance stations at each parking lot.
Do you have to pay an entrance fee every day? The $25 vehicle pass is good for 7 days or you can buy an annual pass for that is good for a year from when it is purchased.
Is it ever free to enter the National Park? Yes, there are five days a year when all national parks are free to enter:
-Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 17th in 2022)
-First Day of National Park Week (April 16 in 2022)
-Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act (Always on August 4th)
-National Public Lands Day (September 24th in 2020)
-Veterans Day (always November 11th)
In addition, the park superintendent has the authority to designate a limited number of fee-free days at Indiana Dunes National Park. These days have not been determined.
There is no fee required to enter the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center or the Paul H. Douglas Center.
Do you have to pay the fee to drive, bike or kayak/boat though the park? No, simply passing through the park on roads, bike trails or by water (Little Calumet River or Lake Michigan) does not require an entrance fee. However, if you stop in the park to walk a trail, use the beach, eat in a picnic shelter, or use other park facilities, an entrance fee should be paid.
Do delivery trucks or other commercial vehicles have to pay a fee? No, vehicles entering the park to do work or deliver goods do not have to pay the fee.
Do School Groups have to pay the fee for field trips? No, educational groups coming to the park can receive an Educational Fee Waiver. They need to contact the park at least three weeks in advance to request the waiver.
My question is not in this FAQ. How do I get it answered? Call the park’s visitor information line at 219-395-1882.
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