It’s a great idea to call an attraction, restaurant and shop to make sure they’re open before visiting.
⇒ 5 minute to Bike Trails
1. Take “The 3 Dune Challenge,” a tough trek running or hiking a 1.5-mile course on the State Park’s three tallest dunes. Most climbers find the steep, sandy slopes take them backwards as often as forward. Some may scoff at the short distance, but as anyone who has ever run on dunes before can attest, it’s a challenge like no other. After all, sand-sprinting was difficult enough to be included in a Rocky training montage, so you know it’s gotta be tough.
After a hot day on the dunes, learn more about breweries in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 5 minute to 3 Dunes Challenge ⇒ 5 minutes to Indiana Dunes Wandering Spots
2. There’s nothing like bicycling in the Indiana Dunes, with views of towering sand dunes and miles of sandy beaches. Bring your own bike or rent one at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center and ride the 2.5-mile Dunes-Kankakee Trail, a paved trail that goes from the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center to Indiana Dunes State Park. It also connects with the South Shore Line train and the Calumet Bike Trail.
Learn more about other biking trails in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 5 minutes to Indiana Dunes Bicycling ⇒ 20 minutes to Michigan City
3. Take the time to wander and let your senses take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the Indiana Dunes. Listen to the waves on the shore. Feel the gentle breeze on your cheeks. Watch the sunlight dancing through the leaves in the forest. The Indiana Dunes area offers plenty of places where you can leisurely stroll, explore or simply sit and relax in nature.
Learn more about other places to wander in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 20 minutes to Indiana Dunes Wandering Spots ⇒ 1 minute to Charter Fishing
4. In Michigan City, a supreme stretch of powder-soft sand lines the shore at Washington Park. To add to the lakeside panorama, Indiana’s only working lighthouse, the East Light, stands guard. The Washington Park Zoo is close by. Bring your camera to capture that Instagram shot!
Find more Instagrammable Places in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 1 minute to Michigan City Lighthouse ⇒ 27 minutes to Garwood Orchards UPick
5. There’s a reason Michigan City is known as the “Coho Capital of the World.” Every angler on earth dreams of reeling in a prize catch, and the waters of Lake Michigan offer some of the best Coho and Chinook salmon fishing around. Not to mention steelhead, lake trout, brown trout, yellow perch and smallmouth bass. It’s easy to get out on the water with one of Michigan City’s professional charter boat captains. These experienced pros provide everything you need, from the boat, bait and licenses to lures and poles.
When you are done fishing, find the best burger in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 27 minutes to Charter Fishing ⇒ 48 minutes to Notre Dame & Rafting
6. Garwood Orchards in LaPorte has been in the family for more than 180 years, and it’s still a favorite spot for apple picking. The 350-acre farm is about half fruit trees (apple, peach and cherry) and about half veggies. The Garwood calendar isn’t measured so much by months, but by what’s growing: strawberries, then raspberries, cherries, peaches, apples and finally pumpkins.
Find more farm markets in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 48 minutes to Garwood Orchards UPick ⇒ 28 minutes to Quilt Gardens
7. Prepare for the ride of your life on a three-mile rafting adventure right in the middle of downtown South Bend! With a water scale rating of 2, this thrilling course is fun for the whole family. Maneuver the rapids and conquer the waves as you race through the historic downtown district.
Want to make a weekend getaway? Find your inspiration in our Weekend Escapes!
⇐ 28 minutes to Notre Dame & Rafting ⇒ 5 minutes to RV Parks and Campgrounds
8. Supersized gardens planted in quilt designs give visitors an exciting, unique, and free way to view the patterns that are so much a part of history in Indiana’s Cool North. More than a million vibrant blooms go into creating these living displays in 16 gigantic gardens that change each year along Elkhart County’s Heritage Trail, a winding loop that also passes through welcoming communities, and features area attractions and Amish life. The drive was voted a USA Today Readers Choice and named one of America’s Most Scenic Drives. (The gardens will be on display from May 30-Sept. 15 in 2020.)
Indiana’s Cool North offers other places to celebrate the Art and Earth of the region.
⇐ 5 minutes to Quilt Gardens ⇒ 5 minutes to Elkhart County Outdoor Recreation
9. This is the summer of the RV, and Elkhart County is the RV capital of the world. So pack up your camper and bring it to the center of its universe. Camping is fun, affordable, and can be as relaxing or exciting as you’d like. Rural roads with working Amish farms and iconic farm scenes can also lead to vibrant downtown areas with beautiful gardens and RiverWalks. Elkhart County RV Parks and Campgrounds are close to so many attractions and activities that you can easily mix things up. This will be a road trip that is unique and worth taking!
Find more camping spots in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 5 minutes to RV Parks and Campgrounds
10. The great outdoors doesn’t get any greater than in Elkhart County. Fish, kayak or canoe on the miles of river and waterways, bike or hike on dozens of trails, and swing your clubs on the challenging golf courses. Catch a large-mouth bass. Hike or bike on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail; you’ll see the signature white Amish farmsteads, where fields are tended with horse-drawn equipment, and hand-washed clothing and quilts flap on clotheslines. Visit a park where you can view the diverse wildlife and plants.
Now you are ready to find the Best Ice Cream in Indiana’s Cool North.
See individual theatres for schedule of shows and concerts.
Indiana's Cool North
Indiana's Cool North has a number of theatres. See the individual theatres for their show and concert schedules.View Details
Auctions are held every Wednesday and Friday, year-round
Auction Buildings and Barns at Shipshewana Trading Place
Antique and miscellaneous auctions and a livestock auction is held every Wednesday. A horse auction is held every Friday, in addition to special yearly sales.View Details
Every Saturday from the beginning of May through the end of October
Broadway and Third St., next to Thomas Centennial Park
Our European Market provides a strong tradition of quality shopping, live entertainment, and a festive community experience.View Details
August 19 - May 31, 2022
University of Notre Dame (Home games)
The University of Notre Dame announced home athletic events - not including football, basketball and hockey - that fans can attend free of chargeView Details
2021 Home Games: Sept. 11, 18; Oct. 2, 23, 30; Nov. 6, 20
University of Notre Dame
The weekends when Notre Dame Football has a home game are always a little more special than any other weekend of the year.View Details
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept 18 - Oct 31
Fall fun and activities, including a giant 50' slide & 12 acre corn maze with over 5+ miles of pathwayView Details
September 20 - December 31, 2021
Sunset Hill Farm County Park
Always available! Every month will feature a different topic and route for a self-guided hike through Sunset Hill Farm Park.View Details
If you’re looking for exciting—and beautiful—outdoor fall activities in Indiana’s Cool North, here are five of the best places to see great fall foliage.Learn More