Unique destination getaways

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Indiana Dunes

A short drive the South Shore communities, the Indiana Dunes is a unique destination suited for all kinds of visitors. The proximity to Chicago and South Shore communities and hotels make it perfect for a weekend getaway.

Starting from Gary, Ind., and stretching 25 miles east along the southern shores of Lake Michigan, the Indiana Dunes welcomes nearly 4 million guests to its sandy beaches each year. With its sand dunes, wetlands, ponds and prairie areas, the Indiana Dunes offers a unique experience for everyone, be they on a family camping trip, an ecological study or just looking for a relaxing day or two in the sun.

Attractions such as Mount Baldy make visiting the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore a unique experience. Mount Baldy, the "living" dune, stands at an impressive 123 feet tall and is the largest moving dune that trees cannot hold in place. Located near Michigan City, Mount Baldy moves at a rate of four to five feet south each year.

Indiana Dunes camping is also a popular pastime, with campers pitching tents and renting cabins, spending their days hiking the dunes or fishing along the shore of Lake Michigan. For those visitors more interested in modern amenities, there is also a great selection of South Shore hotels to meet any budget or accommodation level.

For those who need a break from the gorgeous beaches, traveling the towns throughout the South Shore will reward you with everything from shopping destinations to sprawling golf courses to family-friendly attractions and casinos. No matter what you're looking for, you are sure to find it along the South Shore in Northwest Indiana. Plan your Indiana Dunes vacation today!

Northwest Indiana lakes

Along with on-land opportunities for recreational fun at the Indiana dunes are activities and attractions of a more waterborne sort. From fishing off the South Shore of Lake Michigan to wind surfing on the waters of Wolf Lake, visitors flock from all over the U.S. to boat and fish in northwest Indiana.

Lake Michigan fishing is a perennial favorite, as many visitors take fishing charters onto the water in the hopes of catching chinook salmon, lake trout, steelhead trout and more. Wolf Lake and Lemon Lake are also popular fishing spots, where anglers can fish for bass, pike and catfish.

Lake Michigan and Wolf Lake are both popular among boaters and sailors, with canoes and sailboats being welcome on both lakes. Wolf Lake is well-known for windsurfing and great for rowing. The South Shore area of Lake Michigan offers a number of harbors for boat entry: Hammond Marina in Hammond, Pastrick Municipal Marina in East Chicago and a number of marinas in Michigan City and Portage.

Boaters and fishermen can also visit the smaller lakes in the South Shore, including Lake Etta in Gary, Lake George in Hobart and Cedar Lake in the town of the same name. Fishing, swimming and the playground remain the most popular features at Lake Etta in Gary. Access to the Little Calumet River walking trail and canoe launch is located south of the fishing lake. Lake George in Hobart is home to the annual Clocktower Model Boat Race in September and annual Lakefront Festival in August. In Cedar Lake, you'll need a boat to fish because 100 percent of the shoreline is developed; therefore, the only public access is by boat. In summer months, the lake comes alive with recreational boats and jet skis and visitors on the shore can enjoy Cedar Lake's Summerfest.

Deep River Waterpark

Deep River Waterpark, a family-friendly watermark just off Interstate 65 in northwest Indiana, is well positioned for a weekend mini-vacation for families with young children or simply those who enjoy a couple days of water park fun in the sun.

Coolers are welcome at Deep River Waterpark, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. An array of food and beverage options are available in the park, and two-day family value packages are available online at www.deepriverwaterpark.com.