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Singing sands caress the air. Waves crash on sandy shores. Dunes tower almost 200 feet into the horizon. More than 350 species of birds and over 1,100 flowering plant species and ferns call this wonderland their home. And all of this sand and water and beaches is located in Indiana. That's right, some of the largest sand dunes this side of the Sahara are in the Hoosier state. Authorized by Congress in 1966, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore offers a wealth of diverse natural beauty located within an urban setting. Once in danger of being turned into an industrial complex, the gift from Mother Nature was preserved as a national park through ...

Singing sands caress the air. Waves crash on sandy shores. Dunes tower almost 200 feet into the horizon. More than 350 species of birds and over 1,100 flowering plant species and ferns call this wonderland their home. And all of this sand and water and beaches is located in Indiana. That's right, some of the largest sand dunes this side of the Sahara are in the Hoosier state. Authorized by Congress in 1966, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore offers a wealth of diverse natural beauty located within an urban setting. Once in danger of being turned into an industrial complex, the gift from Mother Nature was preserved as a national park through the efforts of environmentalists, officials and local folks who knew they had something too good to lose. Stretching along Lake Michigan's southern shoreline, the dunes provide an ecosystem unlike any other. With 18 miles of shoreline, the park encompasses 14,000 acres of forest, marsh, dune and beach. Among the most popular is Mount Baldy. An impressive 125 feet tall, Mount Baldy is the largest "living" dune that marram grass and cottonwood trees cannot hold in place. Getting its name because of its lack of vegetation on its sandy "top," Mount Baldy actually moves south at a rate of four to five feet each year, burying all woodlands in its path. On a clear day, you can see the Chicago skyline from atop the mount.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Jackie Finch for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Third week of September for the annual Duneland Harvest Festival