Wooden arch on the sunset beaches of Lake Michigan. Image credit Tommy Images via Shutterstock.

Indiana's Most Charming Beach Towns

Usually, upon thinking of states with charming beach towns, landlocked states like Indiana are not often considered. Indiana is well-known for the Indie 500 race and professional sports teams. Others know it as a manufacturing hub, the largest steel producer in the United States. Since Indiana is far from the ocean coast, it has yet to be known for its beach towns. However, the northwestern corner of the state borders Lake Michigan, one of the world's largest lakes, with many beaches to discover. Part of the great lakes region of the USA, Indiana, has 19 natural lakes and reservoirs that add to its natural beauty. Although Indiana is not traditionally known for its beach towns, it is worth reconsidering when searching for less popular beach getaways.

Consider these seven charming beach towns in Indiana.


Aerial view of downtown Gary with the steel mill.
Aerial photo of downtown Gary. Image credit Jacob Boomsma via Shutterstock.

Gary sits in the northwest corner of Indiana, near Lake Michigan's shores. There are two notable things that make Gary stand out. Firstly, it is home to North America's largest steel mill complex. Secondly, it is the birthplace of several notable musicians, including the Jackson family, rapper Freddie Gibbs, and singer Deniece Williams. Although the steel industry might not be a tourist attraction, Michael Jackson's childhood home draws many tourists to the area.

Apart from the steel mill complex and musical legacy, Gary is home to public beaches, parks, and several other notable landmarks. Marquette Park is a large green space in Gary, surrounded by the Indiana Dunes National Park. The park features two beaches and a lagoon, making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities. The park is also home to a historic pavilion and the Aquatorium, both used for local events. The Little Calumet River flows through Gary and also offers opportunities for paddling and fishing.

Beverly Shores

Beverly Shores on Lake Michigan
Beverly Shores on Lake Michigan. Image credit Alden Weigold via Shutterstock.

Beverly Shores is a charming, yet often overlooked, small town situated on the shores of Lake Michigan. It is about 36 miles east of downtown Chicago in Illinois. On a clear day, visitors can see  views of the Chicago skyline and enjoy the city's picturesque beaches, sandy dunes, and nature trails.

One of the unique features of Beverly Shores is its proximity to the Indiana Dunes National Park. The park spans more than 15,000 acres and has over 20 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, wetland, and forest. The park is home to the Calumet Dunes Trail, which runs through the park and provides hikers with breathtaking views of the dunes and Lake Michigan. Visitors can also enjoy several public beaches: Central, Lake View, and Kemil beaches. With so much natural beauty and tranquility, Beverly Shores is a hidden gem well-worth exploring!

Michigan City 

Views of the Michigan City Lighthouse from Washington Park, Michigan City Indiana.
View of Michigan City Lighthouse. Image credit Jaclyn Novak via Shutterstock.

Michigan City is located on the southern portion of Lake Michigan. It is approximately 25 miles east of Gary and is home to a stunning beach and several notable landmarks. The Old Michigan City Lighthouse is a remarkable landmark and one of the most popular tourist attractions in town. It was constructed in 1904 and remains the only publicly-operated lighthouse in Indiana today. Michigan City has numerous historical attractions, including the John H. Barker Mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This 38-room mansion was built in 1905 and has now become a permanent museum available for private parties.

In addition to these landmarks, Michigan City has a beautiful beach, ideal for catching sunsets or surfing. Washington Park is a vast lakefront park inside the town. It is home to the historic lighthouse, a picturesque pier, a zoo, and hiking trails. All these attractions make Michigan City a great place for nature and history buffs alike.


Vacation houses line the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana, while white clouds drift against a blue sky
Vacation homes on Lake Maxinkuckee. Image credit Steven Heim via Shutterstock.

Culver is a small town on the northern shores of Lake Maxinkuckee, the second-largest natural lake in Indiana. The lake is known for having crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches. The lake is a popular boating, fishing, and water sport destination. Culver Beach and Park, a public beach in town with a picnic area and playground, is an excellent spot for families to play and unwind.

The name "Culver" is most synonymous with Culver Academies, a private boarding school in town. The preparatory school, founded in 1894, is well-known for its challenging academic programs and emphasis on character development through leadership training and extracurricular activities. It consists of three entities: a military school, a girls' academy, and a summer camp. Moreover, the Culver Military Academy Museum on campus showcases exhibits on the school's lengthy history.


Beautiful Lake Wawasee waters in Syracuse Indiana.
Beautiful Lake Wawasee waters in Syracuse, Indiana. Image credit

Syracuse is a charming small town on the northwestern shore of Lake Wawasee, the biggest freshwater lake in Indiana. People often visit Syracuse to take a break and enjoy various water sports in this quintessential lake town. Several marinas, lakeside restaurants, and lodgings are available for visitors around Lake Wawasee. A beautiful 11-mile-long trail runs alongside the lake, offering a picturesque view of the lake and the surrounding countryside. Moreover, the city holds Syracuse Lake, situated at the heart of the town. On the northwestern shore of Syracuse Lake, you will find Lakeside Park, the city's largest park. It has a playground and a lakeside beach, making it an ideal place for families to spend quality time

In downtown Syracuse, the past meets the present day. The town's historic downtown area has over 20 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, its vibrant streets are alive with bars, restaurants, and shops.


Downtown Chesterton street.
Quaint downtown Chesterton. Image credit photo.eccles via Shutterstock.

Chesterton is located about 50 miles east of Chicago in northwest Indiana's Porter County. It's part of what is known as the Duneland region, due to its proximity to Indiana Dunes National Park. Within the park is the Duneland Prairie Nature Preserve, which covers 58 acres of protected land with hiking trails as well as stunning views of the dunes and surrounding prairie.

Apart from its natural beauty, Chesterton is also a city steeped in history and culture. Its historic district boasts buildings that date back to the 1800s. Additionally, the downtown area features the award-winning Chesterton European Market, open every Saturday from May to October. With over 100 vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, artisan crafts, and more, it's a must-visit destination for both locals and visitors.


Tippecanoe River view in Monticello.
Tippecanoe River. Image credit Scott J. Kingery via Shutterstock.

Monticello is a small town located in north-central Indiana. Situated between two breathtaking lakes, it makes for a popular lake getaway. Although the town has no public beaches, its location makes it an ideal spot for outdoor adventures like boating, harbor cruises, and fishing. The Tippecanoe River runs west of town. To the north is Lake Shafer and to the south lies Lake Freeman.

Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park, located in Monticello, is a must-visit spot for those seeking more of a thrill. The park offers a variety of exhilarating rides like roller coasters and water slides, as well as live music events during the summer months.

Monticello is also an excellent destination for golfers. The town has three golf courses: Pine View, Hollow Acres, and the Tippecanoe Country Club. Without a doubt, Monticello has entertainment for everyone! 


Although Lake Michigan has been instrumental in shaping Indiana's reputation as an industrial and agricultural state, Indiana is also home to several charming beach towns with stunning waters and unique attractions. With 45 miles of Lake Michigan coastline and ample access to nature, Indiana is an exciting destination for lakeside escapes.

Indiana's beach towns are worth visiting for their one-of-a-kind activities, top-notch private academies, and interesting landmarks, such as architectural marvels and the homes of music icons. If looking for a peaceful and crowd-free beach getaway, look no further than these beautiful Indiana beach towns!

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