We all love Indiana but sometimes we just want to go somewhere that feels like we aren’t in Indiana, right? For our family, that “sometimes” was this summer and that “somewhere” was the Indiana Dunes area. Our whole family went off to North Carolina for summer vacation but the expense of having a new baby, the time off of work and the long car ride with a newborn were just not an option for us. Indiana Dunes offers an amazingly affordable vacation with the ability to have a weekend away.

Here is our weekend itinerary for a random weekend visit in July. It seems like every weekend offers a new festival or event so each trip to the Dunes is a whole different vacation! Since we were dealing with the attention span of a two year old AND we wanted to cram a whole WEEK of vacation into ONE weekend, we have a pretty crowded itinerary. Next time we’ll spend more time at the beach and try a few new things that we didn’t get to do!


Family Food Tips Courtesy of Indiana’s Family of Farmers
It’s very tempting to stop and grab snacks and drinks at gas stations along the way when you are on a car trip. It’s much cheaper and faster and healthier to pack your own. We throw in a little bit of “junk food” but our kids enjoy apple slices and bananas in the car. Pretzels are also easy to bring along.
IWK and IFOF want you to know that meals with your family can be affordable, at home AND on the go!




We stopped at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center,

Checked in to our room at the Inn at Aberdeen, a kid friendly bed and breakfast,

Grabbed dinner to go at Petey’s Gyros,

Had a picnic in the park at Valplayso Park,

We fed alligators at Zao Island! There’s a lot to do there but we FED ALLIGATORS!

The night was complete after a visit to Valpo Velvet Ice Cream.


There was a radio controlled airplane show at Midwest Sundowners Air Strip,

We encountered bison at the Broken Wagon Bison Farm,

The railway at Samuelson’s Garden Center was a favorite of Lulu AND Jay,

Fajitas for lunch at Margarita’s Bar and Grille? Yes please.

Lulu cooled off at the splash pad at Central Park Plaza,

After nap time we watched radio controlled car races on an awesome track at King’s Hobbies,

Dinner at Lucrezia was the perfect ending to a perfect day.


A trip to the Dunes without going to the Dunes? I think not! We spent the morning at the Indiana Dunes State Park.

Taltree Arboretum and Gardens has the most amazing railway garden I’ve ever seen in my life. Oh, and some other beautiful gardens you won’t want to miss