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Play It Safe at Wells Street Beach.

Submitted by: Beth Rudnick

Looking for safe ways to dig the dunes, feed local business and feed your appetite for fun and food? Check out Wells Street Beach at 9501 Lake Shore Dr in Gary, Indiana, (Miller Beach) just a bit west of OD (the National Park, West Beach) .  

Wells Street Beach has been a family-owned beach parking area and concession stand since the 1920’s. “It was started by my great grandfather and is now owned and run by my mother, Alice.” said Mary Ann Pickford Best, “Our goal is to provide beach access that is clean and perfect for families to go” the beach is owned by the City of Gary. The parking is close and accessible for folks who don’t want the long walk and are carrying kayaks or other beach accoutrements.

Best also emphasizes water safety education at WSB and on the WSB Facebook page. “I moved back to Miller 5 years ago and started the Water Safety Committee of the MCC Shoreline Committee. From that, the Miller Beach Water Safety Social Group has emerged thru the encouragement of a friend Paula Rooney and her husband. Our goal is to make water safety a part of the community conversation.” Best attends conferences, distributes information, and has obtained sponsorship to place 22 water safety stations along the shore in collaboration the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium Conference. Best’s main goal is to encourage kids and families to learn survival skills and become water sport enthusiasts.

The Miller Beach Water Safety Social Group has sponsored two presentations — with one more to come on August 29 hosted at WSB. The presenter is Dave Benjamin from Great Lakes Surf and Rescue. There will be in-water safety demonstrations for ages 6 and up. Bring your swimsuit and appetite! See website for details. RSVP required. This is a great family-friendly opportunity to teach kids how to stay safe in the lake while enjoying a day at our lovely dunes.

And if water safety and close parking to our gorgeous shoreline isn’t treat enough, the concessions area offers burgers (the double cheese is amazing), dogs, grilled cheese, candy and ice cream. Usually the menu is more expansive; but this year, with patron safety in mind, they have reduced their offerings to low-contact items. 2021 expects the return of the salads and pizzas and live music. Best emphasizes that all CDC precautions for safety are also being exercised (and WSB has gone beyond to make it as safe an environment as we can).

Take advantage of this lovely, family-owned and family friendly slip of our beautiful shoreline. Stay safe, and Dig those Dunes at Wells Street Beach!

Want to learn about more places like this? Be sure to sign up for the Dig the Dunes e-newsletter, right here!

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