West Beach Picnic Shelters


Indiana Dunes National Park hugs 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan and has much to offer. Whether you enjoy scouting for rare species of birds or flying kites on the sandy beach, the national park’s 15,000 acres will continually enchant you. Hikers will enjoy 50 miles of trails over rugged dunes, mysterious wetlands, sunny prairies, meandering rivers and peaceful forests.


There is no one-size-fits-all trip to the dunes. Each season offers new and different ways to enjoy Indiana Dunes National Park. Spring splashes the river banks of the Heron Rookery with an abundance of colorful wildflowers in this birder’s paradise. Lake Michigan summer sunsets paint the skies with vibrant rays that offer a picture-perfect picnic setting. In the fall, Maple trees burst with warm red and golden hues crafting a spectacular backdrop for a hike by the Chellberg Farm and winter brings a scenic canvas of virgin white snow begging for a cross-country skiing adventure in the Glenwood Dunes. 

As the seasons change, so do the recreational opportunities, park facility operating hours and closures and safety concerns. Here is a list of some of the activities that occur in the National Park: Beach-going & Swimming, Biking, Bird Watching, Camping, Fishing & Boating, Hiking, Geocaching, Historical Sites, Horseback Riding, Interpretive Programs, Picnic, Winter Activities and Guided Tours. Go to https://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/calendar.htm for our list of Ranger lead programs.


West Beach offers eight universally accessible picnic shelters. Seasonal restrooms and potable water are available at the picnic area from mid-May through mid-October, while year-round restrooms and potable water are available at the contact station. A bathhouse with showers and lockers is open seasonally. The West Beach parking lot has 596 spots including 20 bus/RV parking sites. Please note the lot may fill up on holiday weekends.

Natural Features

Indiana Dunes National Park is a treasure of diverse natural resources located within an urban setting. The national park features communities that have both scientific and historic significance to the field of ecology. In addition, four National Natural Landmarks and one National Historical Landmark are located within its boundaries.  

The park is comprised of over 15,000 acres of dunes, oak savannas, swamps, bogs, marshes, prairies, rivers, and forests. It contains 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline spanning the distance from Gary to Michigan City. Lake Michigan is part of the largest complex of freshwater lakes in the world. The national park’s beaches are the park’s most significant recreational resource. 

For more information on our natural features use this link: https://www.nps.gov/indu/learn/nature/index.htm

Nearby Attractions

This is the link to the Parks nearby attractions. https://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/nearbyattractions.htm

Charges & Cancellations

For information on the Cancellation policy please go to this link, https://www.recreation.gov/rules-reservation-policies

This is the address for West Beach, 376 North County Line Road, Gary, IN 46403  

Please use this link to get to the directions page on our website. https://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/directions.htm


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