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Indiana Dunes State Park

Chesterton, IN

Visitor Center/Nature CenterSpotting Scope RecommendedRestroomsPicnicking
CampingDrinking Water On SiteFishingBoat Ramp

When to Visit:
January - Most ProductiveFebruary - Most ProductiveMarch - Most ProductiveApril - Most ProductiveMay - Most ProductiveJune - Most ProductiveJuly - Most ProductiveAugust - Most ProductiveSeptember - Most ProductiveOctober - Most ProductiveNovember - Most ProductiveDecember - Most Productive

This state park is primarily comprised of woodland and marsh areas and border Lake Michigan.  It has many different habitats, making it a great park for exploration.

Specialty Species:

Waterfowl:  Scan the lake for a chance to see many waterfowl species during the fall and winter.

Shorebirds:  Walk or scan the beach for shorebirds during migration.

Warblers:  Walk the trail for a chance to see warblers during spring and fall migration.  Also, walk the trails during the summer to see nesting warblers.

Where to Bird:

Nature Center:  The nature center can be especially productive from the fall through the spring.  Enter the nature center and bird from the viewing window.  During the fall, winter, and spring, many winter finches can occur including Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, Common Redpoll, and occasionally rarer species such as Evening Grosbeak and Hoary Redpoll.

Pavilion and Beach House:  Walk out on to the beach and scan the lake and shore from this vantage point.  If it is windy, use the pavilion as a wind block.  Many species of waterfowl and some gulls and terns can be seen from this location.

Wilson’s Shelter:  The area around the shelter can be good for migrant passerines during spring and fall migrations. Look for warblers, vireos, and thrushes. 

Trail 10:  Walk this trail for a chance at many passerines.  This path will lead you along a large marsh and eventually along the lakefront.  Both Scarlet and Summer Tanagers nest along this trail.  Worm-eating Warbler has also been seen during the summer along this trail.  Look for other warblers and sparrows during the spring and fall.

Trail 2:  This trail is good for many migrant passerines.  Warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and thrushes frequent this area during spring and fall migrations.

Old Green Tower Site:  This is a well known location for conducting lake watches.  Spend the morning at this site in the spring or fall, scanning the lake for waterfowl and gull species.




$4 M-Th $5 F-Sun for Indiana plates
$10 Daily for non-Indiana plates


There are many easy trails to walk and you can also bird from the road.  Quite a few areas are handicap accessible.


There are about 16 miles of trails throughout the park.

Non-birding Equipment Needed:

Lenght of Visit:

Half or full day visit is recommended




From the South:  Take I-65 North until it ends at US-20/12 and turn right (east).  When US-20/12 split, stay on US-12.  After 13 miles, turn (south) on the ramp to SR-49.  At the top of the ramp, turn left onto SR-49 North.  This road dead ends into Indiana Dunes State Park.

From the West:  Take I-94 East to SR-49 North (Exit 26B).  Follow SR-49 until it dead ends into Indiana Dunes State Park.

From the East:  Take I-94 West to SR-49 North (Exit 26B).  Follow SR-49 until it dead ends into Indiana Dunes State Park.


1600 North 25 E.
Chesterton, IN 46304

Nearby Birding: