Headed to the dunes and looking for things to do? Or, are you a local and just want an itinerary for your next day off? We asked a few duners to put together a schedule for their perfect day in the dunes; and then we picked three of them to share with you.
You may notice that they all end with a sunset at Dig the Dunes Trail Stop. Well....we may be biased, but it is one of the best places to go!
Itinerary #1: By Gregg Burian
5am...watch sunrise at Dune Ridge trail in Beverly Shores
7am...breakfast at Le Peeps in Valpo.
830am...Dunes State Park for a 5 mile loop...Nature Center to trail 2 to 10 to 9 and back. (You must be to the State Park by 9am on weekends to beat the lines! )
11am...Enjoy a waffle cone sundae from Dari Dip at the State Park Pavilion
1pm...lunch on the patio at either Wagner's Ribs or Shoreline Brewery.
6pm...an ice cold Zombie Dust, pizza, and perfect sunset at Dig the Dunes Trail Stop .
Rinse and repeat.
Itinerary #2: By Mike Wierzbicki
9:00 - Wake up and head to Third Coast Cafe in Chesterton for breakfast and coffee.
10:30 - Park at Chellberg and do a Chellberg / Bailly Loop (make sure to get National Park pass). Need more steps? Do the Little Calumet River Trail too -- it's within walking distance.
12:00 - Lunch time! Head to Joe & Freddy's on Dunes Hwy. 12. Enjoy a smash burger, pizza, fresh fish and more.
1:30 - Time to head to Central Beach and a walk down to Mt. Baldy, Walk off lunch and then relax on beach for a bit.
4:00 - Head to Michigan City's Uptown District and do some shopping at Good News Vintage, Hoity Toity, and all the other cute shops in the area.
5:00 - Drinks & dinner on the patio at Leed's Public House.
7:00 - Head to Portage Lakefront for a stroll, a local brew, some valpo velvet ice cream and the sunset at Dig the Dunes Trail Stop!
Itinerary #3: By Beth Rudnick
For vegans, vegetarians, or those looking for healthy options, there's so much to munch on your dunes staycations.
Wake up and head to Chesterton for a Red Cup vegan "egg" sandwich at Red Cup Cafe on Broadway in Chesterton. Open daily at 7 a.m. Saturdays in Chesterton, check out the European market and Sundays the Upsadaisy Market, both near the town square.
For a crowd-free walk, head to Beverly Shores and walk down Beverly Drive west - ample parking on Broadway (make sure you have your National Park parking pass!). The road is closed 1/2 mile after the Old North Church but open for walking. You can stay on the paved walk for accessibility and enjoy the gorgeous marshes (you might see an eagle!) or head off on one of the inner trails, many of which land at the lakefront.
Kemil Beach Road parking requires your pass also but offers an easy walk to the beach at Kemil. Head west on the beach to the less-traveled areas and do some beach glass hunting! Always some good finds here.
And if you hit Chesterton on a Wednesday, add Coffee Creek Farmer's Market 3 - 7 p.m. to your day's agenda.
End the day watching the twilight at Dig the Dunes Trail Stop at Portage Riverwalk. If you're still hungry, grab Moe's famous hummus or Arturo's fresh baked pretzel while the sun goes down on another great day in the dunes.