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Exploring the Charming Towns Around Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park offers a stunning combination of rugged dunes, sandy beaches, and dense forests along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. While visiting this picturesque landscape, you might also want to discover the charm of nearby towns, each offering unique lodging and dining experiences. Here's an explorative guide to help you immerse yourself in the local culture and cuisine while visiting the Indiana Dunes.

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Published onDecember 13, 2023
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Exploring the Charming Towns Around Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park offers a stunning combination of rugged dunes, sandy beaches, and dense forests along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. While visiting this picturesque landscape, you might also want to discover the charm of nearby towns, each offering unique lodging and dining experiences. Here's an explorative guide to help you immerse yourself in the local culture and cuisine while visiting the Indiana Dunes.

Chesterton

Starting with Chesterton, located just minutes from the park, you'll find a haven for cozy accommodations and delightful eateries. Chesterton's European Market, a vibrant outdoor market held on Saturdays from May through October, is a must-visit. Hotels such as WaterBird Lakeside Inn provide comfortable stays with scenic views.

When dining in Chesterton, don’t miss out on the town’s famous Octave Grill. Renowned for its gourmet burgers made from locally sourced ingredients, this charming restaurant is a culinary gem. The variety of unique burger combinations, including vegetarian options, cater to a wide array of tastes.

Porter

Adjacent to Chesterton is the town of Porter. Despite its modest size, Porter surprises visitors with its warm hospitality and excellent service at local establishments. For a comfortable and convenient stay near the national park, the Spring House Inn features a rustic ambiance.

Porter is also home to the locally acclaimed Wagner's Ribs, where you can indulge in fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs, a must-try for meat lovers. This no-frills establishment has earned a loyal following for not just its ribs, but also for its range of barbecue sauces that accentuate the flavors of their expertly cooked meats.

Michigan City

As one of the larger towns in proximity to Indiana Dunes, Michigan City is a hub for those seeking more hotel and leisure options. Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa offers luxurious rooms along with entertainment facilities. For those seeking something more quaint, Tryon Farm Guest House B&B is an idyllic retreat set amidst a serene landscape.

For a taste of the town’s local flavors, head over to Shoreline Brewery. The brewery has earned a reputation for its craft beers and scrumptious dishes like beer-battered cod and the Shoreline burger. Do not miss out on their seasonal beer selections, which perfectly complement the local dishes.

Valparaiso

About 15 miles from the dunes, Valparaiso is another charming destination with a rich dining scene and accommodation options. Inn at Aberdeen provides a luxurious stay with historic charm, perfect for a relaxing retreat.

Valparaiso is also known for its vibrant restaurant scene with interesting offerings like the industrial-chic restaurant, Industrial Revolution Eatery & Grille. Here, you can try the acclaimed Victory Burger, a towering creation that pays homage to American innovation and satisfies hearty appetites.

Gary

Despite being known for its industry, Gary presents visitors with cultural attractions and historical landmarks. While fewer hotels are available in Gary, nearby accommodations can easily be found in the aforementioned towns.

For dining, do explore the Steel City's local eateries, offering a taste of down-home cooking. One of the must-try dishes in Gary is the classic breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, a staple in Indiana. Freddy's Steakhouse is an ideal spot to try this dish, revered for serving some of the best steaks and chops in the region.

Culinary Delights

As you explore the towns around Indiana Dunes National Park, don’t miss out on regional specialties. Apart from the tenderloin sandwich and BBQ ribs, Indiana is also famous for its Hoosier pie, also known as sugar cream pie. This simple yet decadent dessert can be found in many local bakeries and diners.

Helpful Websites

To plan your trip effectively, make use of these helpful websites:

Whether you're sampling the local cuisine or seeking a memorable place to stay, the communities surrounding Indiana Dunes National Park promise an enriching experience. The fusion of natural beauty, local hospitality, and culinary delights ensures a memorable getaway for nature enthusiasts and food lovers alike.

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