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Your guide to Michigan City
All About Michigan City
Windswept grasses over rolling, coastal dunes, sprawling beaches, and the lapping waters of Lake Michigan run to the edge of this small, northern Indiana community. Just east of the Chicago metropolitan area, Michigan City is a beachside community with a distinctive downtown. The Franklin Street Commercial Historic District is replete with 19th-century structures built in the Gothic Revival and Italianate traditions. The town also retains a strong maritime tradition with several historical lighthouses — including the oldest in the state — and a museum displaying the remnants of Lake Michigan shipwrecks.
Spend the day leisurely browsing the downtown boutiques and cafes before heading to the nearby Indian Dunes National Park for swimming, boating, and surfing. Chicago is just an hour away, making it easy for you to spend a day taking in the Windy City’s broader cultural offerings.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Michigan City?
The lake-influenced climate surrounding Michigan City varies widely throughout the year. Summers in the region tend to be pleasantly hot, with mild winds and moderate to high humidity that make for excellent conditions for enjoying the water, lounging on the beach, or walking through the town. This is also when many of the area's festivals and events occur, such as the Taste of Michigan City food festival in August. On the other hand, the winters can be bitterly cold, with regular snowfall and below-freezing temperatures that often see the edge of Lake Michigan freeze over. For these reasons, the summer months and parts of the shoulder seasons — May through October — remain the most popular times for travelers booking house rentals in Michigan City.
What are the top things to do in Michigan City?
Indiana Dunes National Park
Just west of town, you’ll find the Indiana Dunes National Park, with its 15 miles of coastlines, 50 miles of trail systems, and 15,000 acres of parkland open for exploration. The inland forest ecosystems, along with the wetlands and grass-crowned sand dunes, provide plenty of opportunities to hike. Or you can simply lounge about on the sand and swim in one of the Midwest’s largest stretches of protected shoreline.
Michigan City East Lighthouse & Museum
This historic lighthouse, constructed in the early 20th century, remains the last remaining publicly run lighthouse in the state. Its red-and-white tower has become an iconic attraction, and the neighboring pier serves as a popular fishing spot for locals. You can also tour the Old Lighthouse Museum, a 19th-century structure that preceded the construction of the east tower. Its exhibits tell the story of the area's maritime history, including artifacts from shipwrecks and the old lighthouse lenses.
Friendship Botanic Gardens
The Friendship Botanic Gardens lie east of town along the edge of Pottawattamie Park. These sprawling grounds cover over 100 acres and include butterfly gardens, riverside old-growth forests, an Irish maze, and an English Tea House. Over two miles of hiking trails snake through the 37 unique gardens.