Submitted by: Stephen Lehman
Google Maps Link: https://goo.gl/CtDo79
Washington Park is by far my favorite place to spend my time. I’ve explored the park in every season on a regular basis. The pier is perfect in everyway and is a great place to spend watching a sunset. Every season has its perks at Washington Park. The summers are beautiful and the breeze off of the lake is great in the heat. Autumn provides a cold getaway for those of you who love autumn. The waves are often their biggest which means you’ll witness the occasional lake surfer. Winter turns the Lighthouse into a wonder. The lighthouse is almost always 100% covered by ice and pier just as much. Finally, spring brings an incredible opportunity to observe the shelf ice begin to melt as if they were mini glaciers of the Ice Age.
Summers at Washington Park draw tourists from all around the country. With the recent addition of the Fire & Water Grill, Washington Park is now an all inclusive experience. You can eat, watch the sunset, spend the day on the beach, and even enjoy weekend live music. The sunsets are unmatched at Washington Park. If I could spend every evening watching the sunset from the pier, I would. During the summer season, it costs $7 per vehicle unless you have a sticker from Michigan City Hall. It is well worth the experience. Also, Michigan City recently started having a 4th of July firework show again. Although, Washington Park is packed, it is still quite the experience and I would highly recommend checking it out. Lastly, Washington Park has a zoo. I’ve heard wonderful things about it, but unfortunately I have not had a chance to visit. I hope to visit soon.
Autumn brings in some very cold weather at Washington Park. Fog, rain, and other sorts of seemingly uncomfortable weather is commonplace. If you don’t mind the cold, I would encourage you to visit Washington Park during autumn. The waves can get up to 4-5 feet high, which draws in lake surfers from all around the midwest. Autumn is my favorite season because of the eerie winds and jacket weather. If you come to the beach, I would suggest wearing a windbreaker or something warm that can keep out the wind.
The winter is easily the most interesting season for Washington Park. Winter waves and cold temperatures turn the pier and lighthouse into a wonderland. The photo above was taken from my GoPro camera as I attempted to get to the end of the pier without slipping on the ice. The pier is definitely a dangerous place during the winter. The lighthouse becomes completely encased in an ice shell caused by the constant crashing of the waves. Not seen in the picture is shelf ice, which is extremely dangerous because of the illusion of safety it creates. Shelf ice appears as stable piles of ice, sand, and snow out over the water, but it can be extremely dangerous and possibly cost you your life. If you plan on visiting Washington Park in the winter, bundle up and be very careful.
During spring, one of the coolest events begins to happen: the ice starts to melt and gets pulled off shore. The photo above was taken during a very warm evening in which the ice was making its retreat to deeper water because of the pull of a current. The phenomenon is one of the most interesting things I’ve ever witnessed in the nature. I would suggest finding a warm day in mid-March to early-April and making it out to witness the melting of the surface ice as well as the shelf ice. You won’t be disappointed.
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-Stephen Lehman (@thepastorstephen) P.S. don’t forget to give my facebook page a like!
To read more of Stephen’s blogs as well as a few others, go to our Trails & Beaches section!