Escape to the Lake!
Plan a Dreamy Vacation in LaPorte County
Lake Michigan’s sun-kissed waters, sandy shoreline, and towering dunes have drawn vacationers to this special corner of Northern Indiana for decades. An artist painting a portrait of a classic summer vacation spot certainly would include this scene – waves lapping along Michigan City’s expansive beach against the backdrop of Indiana’s oldest working lighthouse, boats heading out on fishing excursions, and beachgoers enjoying long days of swimming, sunning and sandcastle-building.
The community of LaPorte, just a few miles to the south, holds even more surprises for water lovers. Inland lakes there offer a different vacation experience, but one that is complete with plenty of fishing, swimming, and water sports. The best news: The Michigan City and LaPorte areas are so close together, you can easily enjoy both worlds during your stay, as well as other LaPorte County adventures and attractions. Activities that range from biking and hiking to unique shopping and gallery hopping add to the fun.
But what’s vacation without the ideal place to stay? A variety of lodgings, including some very unique options, make great places to lay your head at the end of each day. Here’s a guide to get your planning going. Let the lakes lure you to LaPorte County!
Discover the Lake Michigan Shore
Michigan City’s Washington Park Beach commands the shore of this sparkling Great Lake with two miles of powder-soft sand, a haven for swimmers and others who long for a day to relax just steps from the water. It’s the gateway to miles of beach that stretch westward, part of the Indiana Dunes National Park, formerly Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which received its designation as the state’s first national park just this year. While the beach may bring vacationers here, Washington Park offers summer pleasures galore on its expansive tree-shaded grounds. You can picnic, buy seasonal concessions, hit the fitness trail, or visit the Washington Park Zoo just next door. Kids love the park’s Oasis Splash Pad with sprays and fountains.
Fall in Love with LaPorte’s Lakes
Boats bobbing on the water give a postcard-perfect picture of lazy summer days as you drive into the friendly community of LaPorte. Swimmers and beachgoers head for Pine and Stone lakes, known for their clear water and excellent public beaches. Anglers cast their lines in both lakes as well as a third – Clear Lake – to fish for bass, crappie and more. You can try your luck from the shore or rent fishing boats and pontoons from the marinas at Pine Lake, which also have jet skis, paddleboards, and other watercraft available.
Reel in the Catch of a Lifetime
One of the coolest adventures imaginable when you visit LaPorte County has to be a day fishing for prize catches on a Lake Michigan charter boat. After all, Michigan City is known as the “Coho Capital of the World,” and the waters of Lake Michigan offer some of the best Coho and Chinook salmon fishing around. Professional charter boat captains show you all the tricks for reeling in those catches, along with lake trout and more. These experienced pros provide everything you need, from the boat, bait and licenses to lures and poles. They’re all devoted fishermen themselves and enjoy helping people of all ages and abilities on outings that range from half to full days.
Outdoor Adventures Away from the Lake
If you packed the bicycles, golf clubs or hiking boots, you’ll find plenty of chances to break them out. More than 400 miles of biking routes along quiet country roads connect communities and parks throughout LaPorte County. Longing to tee off? Three 18-hole courses in LaPorte and a 36-hole course in Michigan City give you plenty of options. Hiking opportunities seem almost endless, thanks to Northern Indiana’s unique national treasure – the Indiana Dunes. Just west of Michigan City, some 50 miles of trails in Indiana Dunes National Park weave through and over rugged dunes and head farther inland where walkways cross watery bogs, and pathways lead through deep forests, havens for wildlife.
Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
Even the best-planned lake vacation can be interrupted by a rainy day or two. Don’t despair! Two terrific museums let you lose yourself in art and history, and shopping venues cater to antique, souvenir and bargain hunters. Visit the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, where the works of regional and national artists are on display. History comes alive at the LaPorte County Historical Society Museum in LaPorte with exhibits about fancy cars, a sports hero, pioneer life, and a murderous legend, plus a huge collection of rare guns. Shop for antiques in LaPorte, bargains at Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets in Michigan City, and for special treasures to take home at small shops and galleries throughout the county.
Choose a Unique Retreat
After all the activity and fun that vacation time brings, finding that ideal place to stay completes the ultimate getaway from everyday life. LaPorte County is filled with great options, from rental cabins near the lake to top-rated chain hotels to cozy inns. Here are some special places unique to LaPorte County:
Blue Heron Inn, LaPorte – With five floating boathouse suites moored on Pine Lake and 34 hotel rooms, many with decks or patios.
Duneland Beach Inn, Michigan City – A country-style inn also known for fine dining with a private beach on Lake Michigan.
Brewery Lodge, Michigan City – A 12-suite boutique hotel on a 40-acre wooded tract filled with streams, ponds and wildlife and a main house built in 1930 with a craft beer and wine bar.
Arbor Hill Inn, LaPorte – Elegant bed-and-breakfast inn a short walk from Pine Lake with luxurious guest rooms and suites and sumptuous breakfasts.
A trip to Michigan City wouldn’t be complete with a tour of the historic Barker Mansion, built in 1857 by one of the city’s founding fathers. Both guided and self-guided tours of the home bring to life turn-of-the-century Michigan City and reveal the wealth and extravagance of the Gilded Age when it was built. Modeled after an English manor house, the home is filled with art and opulent décor.