September 16, 2012

Indiana Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore

Our next destination was Portage, Indiana. Why Portage, you ask? Oh, because that’s the only place where we could find an RV park close enough to Chicago. There were several other options equally far from the city, but we picked Portage because it had easy access to the city via train, and because it was near the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. We drove 132 miles from Milwaukee to Portage, and managed to pay $26.20 in toll fees, $13.75 of which was paid for crossing one measly bridge. We also added two new states to our state count for this trip: Illinois and Indiana, states 17 and 18.

Indiana state line sign on Interstate 90
Crossing into Indiana, our 18th state
Immediately after passing through Chicago the highway met back up with the shoreline of Lake Michigan and we were met with refinery after refinery, burning black smoke into the air. What a sad sight it was, to see all this noise, air and water pollution on such a beautiful lake. It seemed the whole Indiana shoreline, all 50 miles of it, was lined with steel mills and manufacturing plants, polluting the poor lake to death.

The only redeeming feature we found along this shore was the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Here, in between the looming plants, was a 15 mile stretch of beach that was alike to many of the beautiful beaches we had seen on the East Coast. Wheat colored sand stretched across a wide beach. The water was clear and blue, and warm enough to swim in comfortably.

We took the pups with us on a 5.5 mile hike on the Cowles Bog Trail, which was mostly through a shady forest. Half way on the loop, the trail popped out onto the dunes and sloped down to the beach. We laid out in the sun while the dogs ran around playing in the water. It was really quite enjoyable.

Hiking the Cowles Bog Trail in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana
Hiking the Cowles Bog trail
The beach in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana
Walking out onto the dunes
The beach in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Our dogs on the beach in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana
A refinery in the distance
 If it wasn't for the huge factories visible in either direction, I would have thought we were in Florida.

The beach in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana
The dunes
To see more pictures of the dunes, click here.

Happy Indiana Dunes relaxing,


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  1. I've been following your blog for a while. It looks like you have been having fun. My Wife and I spent a weekend near this part of the lake shore. We rode the train into Chicago for the day. I blogged about it.

    --Rich Estill

    1. Rich, good to hear from you! We rode the train in too, from Portage. I checked out your website, looks like you guys live in the beautiful state of Michigan? We were really smitten with the southern shore and Ann Arbor!