West Beach, Portage, IN

Hiking trail disappearing into West Beach Dunes
Hiking trail disappearing into West Beach Dunes

The day I visited West Beach was overcast, but the moody atmosphere didn’t detract from the park’s appeal. The short road I took from the parking lot to the beach wound through picturesque sand dunes before arriving at the bathhouse, and visitors can explore them on one of the park’s hiking trails.  There are more than three miles of trails and hikers can opt for majestic views of Lake Michigan from the top of a forested dune, a less strenuous stroll through an oak savanna or bird watching along Long Lake.

West Beach
West Beach

West Beach stretches along the Lake Michigan shore, and was named one of the ten top beaches for families by Parents’ Magazine.  There’s a wheelchair accessible ramp down to the sand and during the busy summer months there’s a lifeguard on duty. My kids and I like to skip stones – my son holds the family record with 8 skips -so I gleefully collected an abundance of flat, smooth, perfect skipping stones from the beach and flung them into the water.

Bathhouse at West Beach

Beachgoers can take advantage of the showers and lockers in the bathhouse, which opens for  the season during Memorial Day Weekend, as well as a concession stand during the season. The restrooms by the parking lot are open year round.

West Beach
N County Line Road
Portage, IN 46368
http://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/west-beach.htm