Top 10 Beaches in Indiana

Published on July 2nd, 2021

What are the Most Popular Beaches in Indiana?

Another midwestern state whose scintillating shorelines are too often overlooked, Indiana offers plenty of incredible opportunities for an unforgettable beach day. From its miles of Great Lake Michigan shoreline to its beautiful interior beaches, here are the top 10 waterfronts not to miss on your next trip through the Hoosier State.

Top Beaches in Indiana

1. Whihala Beach

2. Lake Street Beach

3. West Beach

4. Porter Beach

5. Dunbar Beach

6. Pokagon Beach

7. Pike Lake Beach

8. Indiana Beach

9. Fairfax Beach

10. Dream Lake State Recreation Area

Indiana Beaches

These Indiana beaches are beloved for their beauty and bounty of recreational opportunities. Let’s dive in!

1. Whihala Beach

Whihala Beach near Whiting, Indiana

Located in the extreme northwestern corner of the state, very close to the Illinois border, Whihala Beach is popular amongst tourists as well as locals — and one visit makes it easy to see why. Along with its gorgeous shoreline, all within eyeshot of the well-developed urban centers that surround this part of the state, this beach also boasts well-designed and plentiful amenities, including restrooms, rinse showers, a boat ramp and more. Plus, it’s all within easy walking distance of a variety of concession stands and vendors, so you can easily make a whole day of it along the water without growing hungry or getting bored.

Things to do near Whihala Beach: Right alongside the town of Whiting, this beach is within walking distance of the well-manicured green lawns of Whiting Lakefront Park, and not far from other preserved green spaces like Wolf Lake Memorial Park. This area is also known for its casinos; the Horseshoe Hammond is located adjacent to the beach right along the water as well. Here are some local RVshare rentals to consider for your journey!

2. Lake Street Beach

From the top of the Mount Baldy west dune trail, gaze upon the expanse of the great southern Lake Michigan shoreline in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park in Indiana.

If you continue to follow the shore of Lake Michigan southeast toward the city of Gary, you’ll come upon some of the most beautiful beaches in the entire state, if not the entire midwest: this place is home to what is now known as Indiana Dunes National Park, though it’s also been preserved as Indiana Dunes State Park. Either way, the bottom line is, these are some of the most stunning swaths of waterfront anywhere, and yes, they’re dotted with surprisingly tall and simply magnificent dunes. Lake Street Beach is one of the westernmost beaches in the region, and, as its name suggests, begins where North Lake Street meets the shore of the lake. Along with its soft sands and easy waves, this beach also boasts being the southernmost point of the lake’s reaches.

Things to do near Lake Street Beach: Gary, Indiana is known for its history in the steel industry, and today offers a variety of family-friendly attractions like Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center. Of course, for RVers, the landscape is likely to be the main attraction; here are some local RVshare rentals to browse.

3. West Beach

Boardwalk steps down a dune at Indiana Dunes National Park

Another Indiana Dunes National and State Park-area beach — this one with beautiful wooden boardwalks constructed to help you get up and over these delicate natural land formations — West Beach is one of the best-known in the area. Its wide swath of sand is perfect for laying out in the sun, taking a leisurely stroll, or building a sand-castle, and on certain days when the wind is right, it’s a premier area for kite-flying, too. Much of the National Park property is immediately behind West Beach, offering visitors amenities like a Scenic Overlook and Rest Area as well as walking trails and more. Plentiful parking is available, and the beach is manned by lifeguards — which is a bit of a rarity in this area.

Things to do near West Beach: One cool thing to make sure you save time to explore in the park: Diana’s Dune, named after a free-spirited woman named Alice Mabel Gray, or sometimes called Diana, who left her Chicago life to settle in a shack along this wild Lake Michigan shore. Her dune is bedecked with an impressive staircase you can mount if you’re brave and fit enough, tasting a little bit of her unique, combined brand of freedom and hard work. Here are some local RVshare rentals to go home to after the trek!

4. Porter Beach

Indiana Dunes State Park near Porter, Indiana, USA.

Further northeast still, and still in the area of the Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dunes State Park preserves, Porter Beach offers a beautiful view that will make you feel like you’re on an oceanfront instead of a lakefront, and a somewhat private setting for such a popular destination. The beach does offer bathrooms and ample parking, but be aware that no lifeguards are on duty, so take to the waters at your own risk.

Things to do near Porter Beach: This beach is located very close to the Indiana Dunes State Park Bird Observatory, where birders in the know (and even those who aren’t) can observe local and migratory birds including hawks and many others. Here are some local RVshare rentals to consider in the area if you’re looking to make your beach day into a longer trip.

5. Dunbar Beach

Dunbar Beach within Indiana Dunes National Park

The last of the Indiana Dunes National Park beaches we’ll offer is certainly not the least: Dunbar Beach, which is located at the intersection of Dunbar Avenue and Lake Front Drive near the town of Beverly Shores, is one of the most beautiful and least crowded beaches in the park, offering a casual atmosphere right outside of a residential neighborhood. Soft sand, a nearby bathroom and foot-washing station, and shimmering, turquoise waters make this a favorite of many Indiana Dunes park-goers, and it’s quiet enough to be popular even amongst local inhabitants.

Things to do near Dunbar Beach: If you travel a while inland from Beverly Shores, you’ll find the Indiana Dunes National Park Heron Rookery, where you can wander along a scenic hiking trail through these lands that are so important to this beautiful species of shorebird (among many others). Here are some local RVshare rentals to peruse for your vacation, as well.

6. Pokagon Beach

Pokagon State Park Beach
Image via visitsteubencounty.com

As stunning as Indiana’s Lake Michigan beaches may be, they’re not all the state has to offer — not by a long shot! Pokagon Beach, located inside Pokagon State Park, is located in the far northeastern corner of the state, close to its border with Michigan and Ohio. The park is tucked alongside beautiful and sprawling Snow Lake, whose unique shape means it’s separated out into Upper, Middle, and Lower Basins. Although the sandy shoreline here is small, it is scenic and kid-friendly, and is usually well-populated during the warm summer months. The park also has plenty of other outdoor recreational opportunities on offer, including an informative and entertaining Nature Center as well as the Pokagon State Park Toboggan Run, a popular place to take to the slopes in the winter.

Things to do near Pokagon Beach: Right across I-69 from this state park, you’ll find the Marsh Lake Wetlands State Fish and Wildlife Area, which also offers some accessible waterfront areas as well as lots of beautiful marshy, swampy forests to explore. Here are some local RVshare rentals to consider for your journey!

7. Pike Lake Beach

Pike Lake Beach offers playgrounds among other amenities
Image via warsaw.in.gov

A stunning lakeshore well worth traveling for nestled into the small-ish town of Warsaw, Indiana, Pike Lake Beach is known among Hoosiers as a bit of a hidden gem to out-of-towners, especially if you’re looking for a family-friendly beach option. Interactive playgrounds line the shoreline park, and the beach itself is also often populated by families making sandcastles together or suiting up in floaties to make for a watery adventure that’s safe and secure while also being exciting. Clean restrooms are available on-site, as are vending machines to quiet hungry mouths. A boat launch is also available if you’re looking for a place to put in your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard.

Things to do near Pike Lake Beach: Warsaw is lucky enough to boast not just one, but two vacation-worthy lakes, so be sure to save some time for a visit to Center Lake right across 15. Plus, nearby campgrounds make it easy to stay within walking distance of the lake itself, which always makes for a more intimate and comprehensive adventure. Here are some local RVshare rentals to consider, too!

8. Indiana Beach

The Indiana Beach Resort features roller coasters and other amusements

If a festival atmosphere is what you’re after, look no further than Indiana Beach, which is actually located inside an eponymous amusement park. Offering beautiful waterfront access at the place where the Tippecanoe River expands into Lake Shafer, at this park, sunbathing is just the very beginning. Enjoy high-flying thrill rides, live entertainment, fair food, and even an escape room: there truly is something available here for the whole family. Lodging is also available right on-site, although with your very own vacation vehicle on wheels, you probably don’t have to worry about that part of the package!

Things to do near Indiana Beach: The beach, resort, and town all share the same name, and they’re all located a short drive from the relatively small city of Monticello. If you need to get away from the crowds and fair atmosphere, consider driving a ways south to Prophetstown State Park. Here are some local RVshare rentals to get you there.

9. Fairfax Beach

Fairfax Beach at Lake Monroe
Image via visitbloomington.com

Ask any resident of interior Indiana their favorite lake, and they very well might point you to Lake Monroe — whose more than 16 square miles means it offers plenty of shoreline and several sandy waterscapes. But Fairfax Beach, located within the city limits of Bloomington, is easily one of the most popular beaches along this particular lake and also within the greater confines of Indiana as a whole. Along with swimming and sunbathing, this recreational area also offers a boat ramp and picnic areas.

Things to do near Fairfax Beach: The Hardin Ridge Recreation Area is located directly across the lake from this beach, and there are plenty of other wildernesses around the water worth exploring. This is also a premier place for camping — there’s even a Jellystone Park right nearby! Here are some perfect RVshare rentals worth considering for the trip.

10. Dream Lake State Recreation Area

Kayaking is popular at Dream Lake State Recreation Area

Last on our list, but certainly not least, the Dream Lake State Recreation Area offers more than 1,300 acres of outdoor recreation opportunities, not the least of which surround the 100+ acre lake that sits at its heart. A variety of walking and hiking trails criss-cross the landscape, and plenty of soft sand is available along the lake’s western shoreline, just waiting for you to set up your umbrella and beach towel. Fishing and boating along and in the lake are also popular pursuits here!

Things to do near Dream Lake State Recreation Area: Located in the far southern reaches of the state of Indiana, close to where it borders on Kentucky, Dream Lake State Recreation Area is about equidistant from the city of Louisville and the Hoosier National Forest. Which is to say, it’s the perfect place for RVers: the best of both worlds, urban and rural! Here are some RVshare rentals in the area worth considering.

Planning an RV Trip to Indiana

While it may have more beaches than many of us realize at first, beaches are far from the only reason to come to Indiana — it’s a state with many beautiful landscapes well worth exploring! An RVshare vehicle is the perfect way to get there, and we’ve also covered Indiana’s best state parks and campgrounds to explore and stay in. We’ve penned guides to Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, and, of course, to its brand-new NPS property, Indiana Dunes National Park.

So get out there and enjoy the Hoosier State — we can’t wait to hear all the tales of your journey!

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