Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

There are things we do every year as a family that my kids look forward to. Heck- I look forward to them as well. But these little events that we love are the ones that are filled with downtime, good food, no alarms set, beach reads and frisbees. Flip flops, 3 days straight in a swimsuit, no make up and no deadlines. You may think i’m describing a trip to the sandy beaches of Florida or a short weekend cruise- but i’m not.

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Our weekend of choice, where we return year after year, is the Indiana Dune Lakeshore -Lake Michigan Shoreline. Specifically Chesterton and Valparaiso.

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

(Read about our last few adventures there HERE and HERE)

We stay in one of two places depending on their availability and this year we stayed at The Inn at Aberdeen. We have stayed in 3 different rooms there and each one was exactly what we needed: Quiet, clean, roomy, breakfast provided (and man is it a spread!),access to seating outdoors via deck or walk-out patio (because it IS summer and we like to sit outside), AND they each had a very large (and very clean) Jacuzzi tub. Do you remember 3 years ago when that was all Jacob cared about and he literally took 3 baths while we were there? (sorry about that water bill guys…)

He gets his love of long bubble baths from me!

The Inn at Aberdeen is our go-to choice for lodging when we are in this area. They just really take care of you there. From the moment you pull up you just get this feeling you are at someones English country garden house. Their landscaping is beautiful…..

I have to get a photo by this amazing snowball bush every year!

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Did you know that they serve complimentary dessert (like cheesecake) in the garden rotunda daily? Yes. Yes they do and it is fantastic!

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Winding staircase to our room upstars

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Backyard garden

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

The base of the tree has a cute little door- for fairies? Gnomes? Hobbits? :)

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

This home has historical significance as well in the area. Find out why when YOU go!

The rooms are comfortable, well decorated and clean….

A working fireplace and 2 queen beds are in this room.This year we were upstairs and had 2 queen wrought iron canopy beds as well as the fireplace.

Their breakfast that they serve is incredible. Every day is something new that the chef makes in their huge in-house kitchen. From creme brulee french toast to fresh peach parfaits to breakfast sandwiches- the variety is well thought out. Not to mention you are served in their spacious dining room on china. How many places serve 4-course breakfasts? Not many and I should know- I travel a lot.

Just ONE of the four courses!

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Fresh peaches and local blueberries made their way in to my breakfast.


 AND they use REAL keys!

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

 Some of the things that we enjoyed while in the Chesterton/Valparaiso area:

Eating (of course)

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Bacon on a stick at Figure Eight

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Classic meatloaf with onion straws, brussels sprouts and smashed potatoes at Bartlett’s Gourmet Grill in Beverly Shore’s.


Jacob had to have Margherita Pasta- this is at Bartlett’s. It was pretty good he says!


We gave the Power Plant another chance and this time we had a better experience. Our food was good, came out fast and the service was great. I had pot roast mac n cheese (no photo)


The fantastic and well worth the trip European Market

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

The market was host to so many growers with a bounty of fresh and handmade goods for sale. I didn’t know where to begin!

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Tomatoes for miles

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore


Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

I may have bought a few jars of preserves and some flatbread here that we ate at the beach that day….

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

These beautiful pies are made locally and sold by a nun.

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Local food booths with goodies we just had to try.

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Hand pies from pork verde to pizza.

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Mobile pizza oven

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

This. This hand pie was stuffed with beef and caramelized onions. I could have eaten 3. So good.


Local Breweries like: Figure Eight and Powerhouse as well as Indiana wine favorites like Butler Winery .

Beautiful outdoor gardens and hiking opportunities like Taltree Arboretum

Hiking trails (you really need to go to the visitors center or click HERE for more info) and birdwatching

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Sunset at Beverly Shores

Mt Baldy

Indiana’s largest living dune sits at over 125 feet over the water. Currently you can climb along one side to the summit, which we did. Parking for the beach here is quite a hike from the water so be prepared and do not over pack. It is an interesting area because one minute you are in the lush woodlands of Northern Indiana then all of the sudden you walk out in the bright, blue-green sight of Lake Michigan.

3 Dune Challenge

We participated in the 3 Dune Challenge this year and in my opinion this is a MUST DO if you are in the area. Get all of the information HERE but suffice it to say this is something the whole family can do- at any age. It is free (with park admission), it is fun and it is challenging. My competitive boys (husband included) wanted to best one another to see who could hike the fastest, and so on. I just let them. They slept like a rock that night.

The 3 Dune Challenge is an adventurous 1.5-mile trail at Indiana Dunes State Park. Starting at the Nature Center, the winding path will take you through breathtaking views and exhausting inclines. At times you’ll be above the forest canopy and able to see for miles.

The hiking challenge is named for the trio of dunes, called The Tremonts, which highlight the trail. Mt. Jackson, Mt. Holden and Mt. Tom are each nearly two hundred feet above lake level.

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

And it looks like this- everywhere! Soft, white and relaxing!

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Beaches Galore

Once we got there we headed straight to the Indiana Dunes Visitors Center, the mecca of all things related to family activities. We loaded up on information and drove the few minutes to the state park entrance. Here there is a large beach with lifeguards, a bathroom, light concessions, and best of all no hike to the water. When we walked out onto the beach the boys just gasped. What greeted us was clear, cool blue water and white powdery sand.  The beach area was incredibly clean and we had no problem finding a place to lay a blanket and have lunch. It does get full so arrive early and plan on staying for the day. Note: floatation devices such as rafts, tubes and noodles are not allowed. Frankly- I don’t think they will need a lot of gear. Plus that is just more to carry. All my kids needed was water and goggles, since they are out of the toting beach toys phase of their lives. They ran straight for the water and incredibly enough, they waded out maybe 20 feet before it even went past their thighs, the water was so shallow. Also, be mindful of where your kids are in the water. The second day we were there is was nothing but lost child announcements. Kinda scary when near water. The large amount of lifeguard and water safety personnel that work there daily is impressive.

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore

Atop the Devils Slide in the Indiana Dunes State Park area. Love, love this picture in their happy place!

Who knew it could be so beautiful. I feel like in the last 10-15 years we have seen more breathtaking sights, in our own backyard, that we didn’t know existed. All because we decided to be a tourist in our own home state.  This trip was another one for the record books and just what the doctor ordered. Not over planned and very laid back.  I even read one whole trashy magazine while laying on the beach so I count that as a small victory. Plus, we went 2 whole days without a complaint from the kids. Sun, sand, and water, what more do you need?



  1. says

    Thanks for great blog on the Inn and the area
    Have a great Fall

    Found Tuesday – you might enjoy. Coxville, IN (Parke Co.) is the 2nd oldest town in the state behind Vincennes. Cox owned the coal mine (thus the town name), Rose lived there (later Rose Polytechnic in Terre Haute which later partnered with the Hulman family to become Rose Hulman U.) and cowboy star Tex Terry lived there and ran a bar and diner which is now Rock Run Cafe & Bakery. Enjoyed the ribs and vinegar pie this time. 8 mi S of Rockville on US 41, (see Rock Run sign NE corner turn L (E) and about 4 miles. Real popular in the Fall.


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