Outdoor Lovers, Rejoice!
Adventures Abound in LaPorte County
Summer and the great outdoors… they naturally go together! In the Michigan City/LaPorte area, discover all the outdoor adventures that Northern Indiana offers, plus some fabulous surprises. Want to dive into a Great Lake? Bike through lush countryside? Reel in a prize catch? Hit the links, kayak, or hike among towering sand dunes? You’ll find options galore.
Be among the first to explore the new Indiana Dunes National Park – formerly the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The state is bursting with pride at getting its first national park, and LaPorte County serves as the unofficial gateway to this huge enclave. Along with the sandy beaches and lofty dunes, you’ll discover peaceful woodlands and mysterious wetlands.
Your outdoor adventure awaits!
Hike at a Unique Treasure – The Indiana Dunes National Park
Long before the Indiana Dunes received its national park designation this year, hikers have been drawn to the stunning landscape of sandy peaks and valleys that rise from pristine beaches along the clear, blue waters of Lake Michigan. Some 50 miles of trails weave through and over rugged dunes and head farther inland where walkways cross watery bogs, and pathways lead through deep forests, havens for wildlife. You can get a lot of information and advice on specific hiking trails at the National Park office, just a few miles west of Michigan City. Join guided nature hikes that rangers lead all year round or sign up for special activities such as an outdoor weekend with planned hiking, backpacking, paddling and biking outings.
The lure of glistening lake waters provides activity from morning till night on beachfronts throughout LaPorte County. There’s no resisting that dive into cooling waters, a stimulating swim, beachcombing or just floating around on a raft or in a boat. Washington Park in Michigan City reigns supreme with a two-mile stretch of pristine beach along Lake Michigan. To the south, two popular inland lakes bless the community of LaPorte. Clear water and public beaches make sandy-bottomed Pine and Stone lakes terrific spots to while away a summer day. Marinas rent pontoons and fishing boats to complete the fun. The Pine Lake Waterpark features slides, a tower, paddleboats and other activities.
Biking at its Best
If bringing along the bicycles is a vacation must, LaPorte County is a great destination. Established routes along serene county roads connect parks, communities, and other attractions. Twenty mapped routes have been established, with loops totaling 420 miles. Bicycles also have access to nearly all trails in LaPorte County Parks, which feature both paved and unpaved pathways. Both Bluhm County Park in Westville and Red Mill County Park near LaPorte also feature mountain bike trails. For watery views, the trail at Soldiers Memorial Park in LaPorte passes two lakes. Join in a special biking fundraiser for cancer patients Aug. 23-25 at the Tour de La Porte.
In addition, LaPorte County marks the starting point of United States Bicycle Route 35 (known as USBR35), a 360-mile cycling route that travels through 16 counties to the southern tip of Indiana. The route ultimately connects with other states.
Tantalizing Tee Offs
It’s every golfer’s dream getaway – a vacation destination with the finest of courses. You’ve found your escape in LaPorte County, with four options that draw raves. In LaPorte, three 18-hole golf courses each offer their own unique challenges and amenities for golfers of every skill level. Beechwood Municipal Golf Course’s traditional layout and design allows you to use every club in your bag. Briar Leaf Golf Club is home to “Alcatraz,” the area’s only island green. Legacy Hills Golf Club offers a varied course and great driving range plus the classy Bistro restaurant. In Michigan City, play the county’s only 36-hole facility at Michigan City Municipal Golf Course, a local favorite.
Reeling in the Prize Catch
Whether your fishing pleasure involves a once-in-a-lifetime adventure on a Great Lakes charter boat or dropping anchor in a quiet lake, you’ll find it here. The waters of Lake Michigan offer some of the best Coho and Chinook salmon fishing around. That’s why Michigan City is known as the “Coho Capital of the World.” Hop aboard one of Michigan City’s professional charter boats, where the captains help achieve their passengers’ goal – bringing home coolers full of salmon, perch and more. In LaPorte, anglers head for Pine Lake to fish for bass, crappie and more. You can cast a line from the shore or rent boats from the marina. Nearby, both Stone and Clear lakes also are great fishing spots.
Ponder Some Paddling
Skim above the water with the sun on your face and wind at your back in more than one way! Experienced kayakers paddle the Lake Michigan National Water Trail, which can be accessed from 12 points between Michigan City and the community of Whiting to the west. It’s a unique vantage to view beaches, dunes, and bluffs. Paddle boarding is becoming increasingly popular too, and many enthusiasts head for the Washington Park beachfront in Michigan City as well as the shoreline along Indiana Dunes National Park. The quiet waters of LaPorte’s Stone and Pine lakes make great paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing spots.
Experience a breathtaking piece of nature’s history by touring Pinhook Bog in LaPorte County. The bog is a relic of the region’s glacial past and features boardwalks that cross a floating mass of sphagnum moss. You are not allowed to access it on your own, but each Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Indiana Dunes National Park rangers lead hikes through this rare and fragile ecosystem, which has been designated a National Natural Landmark. Be sure to arrive by 2 p.m.