|Public beach taken from concession stand|
If you stop at the Visitor Center, you get learn more about the area through displays and an activity center. While you are there, you can pick up brochures, area maps and trail maps as well as shop in their book store. Since it is a national park, children can participate in their Junior Park Ranger Program and earn a badge. You can also sign up to participate in the Three Dune Challenge and earn a decal.
Hiking on the dunes can be challenging as the sand is deep and slippery. Flip flops are not recommended (for any hiking in my opinion, but especially here). I wore my hiking books and didn't get too much sand in them, but at times, I just took them off and walked on the sand. Other places, the sand was a bit more packed. There are steep hills on the dunes, which, with the sand, can make them challenging to hike.
The beach is absolutely beautiful! The sand is soft, white and powdery. I liken it to Sarasota beaches, and at that, it is deeper. Surprisingly, the water, although Lake Michigan, was not freezing cold. It was also very clear, similar to the Gulf of Mexico. Another plus is that you are able to see the Chicago skyline. (Chicago is just about an hour away by train.) The only drawback to this area is if you look too far to the right or too far to the left, you will see smokestacks from the steel factories.
I am including some of my favorite photos. I hope you enjoy them!
|Clear water--similar to the Gulf of Mexico|
|Sun setting over Chicago|
|You don't know you are on a sand dune till you look down.|
|What a surprise coming over the dune from the campground. |
To gain perspective, notice the size of my daughters in this picture.
|This is like a Where's Waldo picture. Do you see the Canadian Geese?|
|A Scarlet Tanager was just one of the beautiful birds we spied.|
I couldn't begin to include pictures of all the different wildflowers we saw. It was beautiful!