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Mother Nature must have had fun in mind when she blessed this laid-back community and its surrounding area with several lakes and a fertile growing region. Visitors take advantage of a host of watery recreational activities, fruit picking at local farms and orchards, plus loads of antique shopping when they visit LaPorte.

Anglers head for Pine Lake, the largest body of water in town, to fish for bass, crappie and more. The community is host to several fishing tournaments during the year. You can cast a line from the shore or rent boats from the marina, which also has jet skis and other water craft available. Ice fishing is popular too. Lakeside lodgings are plentiful, including the well-known Blue Heron Inn, cottage rentals and bed-and-breakfasts.

Families spend lazy days swimming and sunning at Stone Lake, which has a beach, concession stand and grills for lakeside barbecues. Clear water and sandy bottoms in both lakes, as well as a third fishing destination, Clear Lake, make this a popular vacation community.

But there’s so much more going on in LaPorte. Take advantage of the earth’s bounty in the area by stopping to pick your own blueberries each summer at Blueberries of Indiana in a quiet rural setting perfect for a picnic. In the fall, apples abound at Garwood Orchards, which the Garwood family has operated for generations. Through the rest of the growing season, Garwood sells everything from strawberries in early summer to Christmas trees when the holidays roll around.

Another must-see is the stunning LaPorte County Historical Society Museum, housed in a sprawling modern building and filled with fascinating local history. Visitors view top-notch exhibits such as a vintage auto collection that includes a 1982 DeLorean like the one featured in Back to the Future, sports memorabilia, rooms recreated to reflect various time periods in LaPorte history, and the W.A. Jones Collection of Ancient Weapons, the third largest private gun collection in the world.

A plethora of antique shops bring lovers of vintage finds to town to hunt for furniture, glassware, jewelry and more.  Sixty dealers sell their antique wares at Uptowne Shoppes, and Coachman Antique Mall is known as Indiana’s oldest and largest antique mall. Don’t miss other specialty shops, such as Hook Pottery Paper for pottery and handmade paper and stationery.  LaPorte boasts a wide variety of restaurants where you’ll find everything from juicy steaks and lakeside dining at T-Bones Pier 11 to award-winning tacos at Mucho Mas! to delicious breakfast fare at Grandma’s House of Pancakes.

LaPorte knows how to celebrate, and pays tribute to its fertile region at the annual Sunflower Festival, held each fall. This long-running celebration features rides, music, a car show, rib cook-off and, of course, a sunflower contest where local farmers and home gardeners show off their giant beauties. It’s just one more great reason to visit LaPorte.

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