There’s something about the beach that makes the stress of everyday life just melt away. Even though Indiana is land-locked it still has several beaches for plenty of fun in the sun. The state borders Lake Michigan in the northwest, one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world. The Ohio River creates Indiana’s southern border and is flanked by sandy beaches and islands, and this state also boasts numerous lakes and reservoirs with great beaches for swimming and relaxing. Still not convinced? Indiana even has an amusement park themed beach! So whether you enjoy playing beach volleyball, building sand castles or just spending hours lying in the sun, there are so many beaches scattered across Indiana that you really should check out. Add in a private Indiana vacation rental, and it sounds like you’ve got the perfect summer vacation.
1. Indiana Dunes
Indiana Dunes is a beautiful park located in the northwest portion of Indiana and is made up of 15 different disconnected sections. Sitting just east of Lake Michigan’s most southern point, Indiana Dunes also has 15 miles of uninterrupted shoreline for its beach goers. Of course, the main attraction at Indiana Dunes is what else? The dunes! Huge sand dunes rise to the sky and then plummet to the lake. Try your hand at the 3-Dune Challenge and climb the three tallest dunes which are nearly 200 feet high!
2. Lake Monroe
Lake Monroe is just ten miles to the southeast of the city of Bloomington and has two beaches open to the public. Paynetown Recreation Beach is inside the park, and Fairfax Beach is near Fourwinds Resort and Marina. Besides swimming and sunbathing, visitors enjoy water skiing and boating. Recreational areas surround the lake and boast campgrounds, sports fields, hiking trails and a nature center. If you’re traveling with kids, they can dig for fossils behind the visitors center for free!
3. Pokagon State Park
Pokagon State Park, near Angola, is one of Indiana’s original state parks. Natural lakes created by glaciers that melted 10,000 to 15,000 years ago include Lake James and Snow Lake. Both offer abundant opportunities for boating, swimming, fishing and scenic sunsets. Camping is available, or visitors can book a room at the Potawatomi Inn. The inn has an up-north fishing-lodge theme and is one of the Midwest’s most popular resorts and conference centers.
4. Pike Lake and Center Lake
Warsaw, Indiana’s nickname is “Lake City,” and this city operates two public beaches during the summer, Pike Lake Beach, and Center Lake Beach. Both bodies of water have sand bottoms perfect for wading and swimming. Plus, lifeguards are on duty at both lakes, so you can rest assured that you and your family are safe splashings in the water. There’s also a boat launch, playground, restrooms and vending machines.
5. Deam Lake
Deam Lake was designed specifically for recreational activities. These include fishing, boating, swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking and hunting in designated areas. There are also picnic tables, grills and a playground area are near the beach. To stay overnight, you can choose a vacation rental or one of the cabins and campsites at Deam Park.
6. Brookville Lake
At Brookville Lake, there are three beaches within 10 miles, and all have public access to Brookville Lake. Whitewater Memorial State Park, Mounds State Recreation Area, and Quakertown State Recreation Area have paddle boats and canoes available for rent along with cabins and campsites. Whitewater and Mounds Parks even have camp grocery stores if you left something at home or want to pick up something for an impromptu picnic. Not in the mood to cook? Mounds State Recreation Area offers concessions.
7. Hidden Paradise
Hidden Paradise is a campground in St. Paul, Indiana that offers two options for swimming, Flat Rock River and Dream Lake Rock Quarry. Dream Lake is especially fun because it has a water trampoline, water slide, and opportunities for tubing. There are no lifeguards on duty, but life jackets are available if you want to stay safe while you play in the water. Once you built up your appetite from splashing around, a concession store sells ice cream and corn dogs.
8. Morse Park
Morse Park and Beach is the center for summertime activities in Hamilton County. This 23-acre park boasts an 18-hole disc golf course and is surrounded by beautiful Indiana trees, hills, and Morse Lake. Spend a hot afternoon swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, fishing, or playing volleyball. Just don’t forget to bring your sunscreen! When the day is done, Morse Park also features a bathhouse with restrooms, showers, and lockers.
9. Miller Beach
Miller Beach, locally referred to as Miller, is a neighborhood in Gary, Indiana, on the southernmost shore of Lake Michigan. It’s also the closest beach and resort community to Chicago, making it a popular vacation spot for two states since the early 20th century.
10. Indiana Beach Amusement Resort
Usually just referred to as “The Indiana Beach,” this waterfront area on Lake Shafer is technically an amusement park in Monticello, Indiana. What was originally a swimming hole amid Indiana corn fields no attracts more than 750,000 people annually. You can do everything you could do at a beach here, and then some. It’s an amusement park beach with over 40 rides and attraction, including six roller coasters, six water park slides, classic amusement rides, arcade games, kiddie rides and the famous boardwalk. You can also enjoy the sandy beach and inner tubing. Too much fun for one day? Stay in a private cabin or cottage, or sleep under the stars in a tent or RV in the campgrounds.