Indiana Dunes National Park hugs 15 miles (24 km) 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 (6070 ha) will continually enchant you. Hikers will enjoy 50 miles (80 km) of trails over rugged dunes, mysterious wetlands, sunny prairies, meandering rivers and peaceful forests.
The Central Beach Walk-In Sites has 5 sites that will require a walk to get to your campsite. There is a vault toilet by the Central Beach Parking Lot. There is no drinkable water in the area so you must bring your own water. There is a Picnic table and a fire pit at each site.
Eight (8) people are allowed per site maximum.
You must walk to each Central Avenue campsite, up a large hill with uneven terrain, from the parking area.
WALKING DISTANCES TO EACH CAMPSITE:
Campsite One: 528 feet/161 m (.10 mile/.16 km)
Campsite Two: 3,310 feet/1009 m (.63 miles/1 m)
Campsite Three: 2,700 feet/823 m (.51 miles/.82 km)
Campsite Four: 2,460 feet/750 (.47 miles/.75 km)
Campsite Five: 2,050 feet/625 m (.39 miles/.63 km)
Two (2) vehicles are allowed per site. Vehicles must park in the Central Beach parking lot.
Pack-in, pack-out, including all trash.
No collection of wood for fires from the woods--all firewood must be brought in.
A valid entrance pass or receipt is requried for all visitors. You may pay upon arrival or purchase in advance. Indiana Dunes honors Federal interagency passes (annual, senior, access, 4th grade, Golden Age, etc.). For more information, visit the Indiana Dunes Fees & Passes page .
Stays are limited to 14 days in a 30-day period.
Quiet hours are daily, 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Please be considerate of others.
All tents must be in the open area on the site.
Any pets must be attended at all times and must remain on a leash if outside a tent.
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 (including Pinhook Bog and Cowles Bog ) and one National Historical Landmark (the Bailly Homestead) are located within its boundaries.
The park is comprised of over 15,000 acres (6070 ha) of dunes, oak savannas, swamps, bogs, marshes, prairies, rivers, and forests. It contains 15 miles (24 km) 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 visit the Nature and Science page on the park website.
Central Avenue Beach on Lake Michigan is located nearby, less than 5,000 feet (1524 m) from the campground.
Several other national park beaches are within easy driving distance.
A gas station / convenience store is located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) southwest of the campground on U.S. Highway 12.
The Beverly Shores South Shore Railroad station with passenger service to Chicago and South Bend is located on Broadway Avenue.
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. Check the Calendar page on our website for our list of Ranger-led programs.
A $10.00 service fee will apply if you modify your reservation or change your stay dates. Cancelling your reservation prior to 11:59 pm Eastern Time two nights before your stay will incur a $10 cancellation fee. Late cancellations (camping reservations cancelled the day before or day of arrival) incur a $10 cancellation fee plus a forfeiture of the first night's use fee.
For more information please review Recreation.gov's Rules and Reservations Policies.
For campground inquiries, please call: 219-395-1882
The Central Ave Beach Parking Lot is one mile (1.6 km) north of the intersection of Central Avenue and U.S. Highway 12 in the Town of Pines. NOTE: It is not possible to drive directly to the campsites. Each campsite is a walk of between .1 and .6 miles from the Central Avenue Beach Parking Lot, including a large hill with uneven terrain to get to each site.