Indiana Dunes: There’s No Place Like HOME

Mackeys Meander the Magnificent, a trip to our nearest and dearest National Park.

The Dirt

No doubt, I’ll end up circling back to the Indiana Dunes National Park. Like all National Parks there’s more than one day’s visit to be had here. Unlike most others…it’s the only one we are really close to. Which means, slowly and steadily we get to enjoy our “home” park. Before we get to know her in new ways. I’d like to share what our standard solid day at the beach looks like. It’s quite simple. We like to start with what we call “the big stairs,” known to many as the “Diana of the Dunes Dare.”

It’s good to get a climb in early before the sun has soaked all the life out of you and before your limbs are fatigued by swimming in Lake Michigan.

When they were younger…running was the only way they’d consider doing the stairs. They’ve slowed down a bit in their older age. 🙂

Once you find a spot close enough to rescue the kids and far enough to keep from obstructing the walk-way as the locals, kid-chasers and dog walkers – you settle in. The kids don’t wait.

They head straight for the water…feeling for her sandbars and diving out with her waves.

I leave the option of life jackets up to the kids. They know they are not to rely on them for free floating, feet need to touch ground so they don’t go out past where I can reach them safely.

When our fingers and toes are in raisin form, we make our way to beach play.

Building sand moats, digging deep enough to strike water,

finding shells, gathering rocks and then burying yourself neck deep with no arms to avenge the art work being forced on your sand covered body by your little brother.

This is how we choose to spend those precious moments at the week-end. This is how we take our out of town guests to the beach. This is where we meet our friends because it’s their favorite spot, too! It’s also where we come to de-stress, refuel, rest and reflect. It’s where we can hear ourselves think…or get busy thinking nothing at all.

Kids need quiet, too!

Stuck in the mud?

It takes work to get the most out of the dunes. You need your strong sand legs,

There’s also an accessible beach front if you choose the paved path leading to the bathhouse!

go-go gadget stuff carrying arms

and the ability to keep your eyes open when your kids are playing and all you really want to do is nap in the sun. Don’t sweat it! It’s worth it. We pack light and don’t make it a full day affair. (Though you easily can!) If our trip isn’t too long, we avoid sunburn and have enough leg oomph to do the stairs back to the car, too!

We take breaks often and stay hydrated!

It’s the most lovely climb and once never feels like enough for us.

Did you grub?

We prefer to pack beach snacks then head to Miller and try out something new.

Beef stick appetizer pre-vegan juice bar. Whatever works!

This visit, we went to the new vegan juice and smoothie place, Vibrations Juice Bar. (We are not vegan…but when you like all food, well-made vegan food is quite delicious!) I was overwhelmed by the array of goodness and asked for a juice suggestion. The wheatgrass, apple and ginger refresher she recommended was a cup full of life. I felt like I could see a little better after my first sip. In a word, it was healing.

Lots of good juju for this yogi mom and kid. Yes, I said kid. One kid digs it, the other – not so much and that’s a-okay!

We also took it upon ourselves to pour the veggie chili on our fresh fried potatoes for a perfect little post beach lunch. We also shopped some flavored honey sticks and gem stones. This was our kind of place! Already looking for an excuse to head back and sample some more healthy yummies.

What did we dig the most?

The whole day was a delight. Clear skies, not a bit crowded and the sand (which can be killer if you don’t wear your sneakers then pack your flip flops!) was perfectly warm on our exposed toes for the hike there.

We only had to scurry to the shady spots a few times on the way back…which is not so bad for my risk-taking crew.

Seed Planted

There is safety in expectations met. Most kids like to know what to expect and all the details that go along with it. Mine are no different. How long will it take to get there? Are we meeting anyone? How long are we staying? Should we pack our life jackets? Which beach are we going to? When I tell them we are heading for West Beach…it’s just a yay.

They know the answers to the rest of the questions and are at ages where they can help me take care of the rest. Close enough to home so it’s never a hassle, it’s only ever been a treat.

No matter how many times we visit, we are always ready and willing to go back again soon.

Go Play!

Here are the up to date details. Have fun!

Published by dirtonkids

Let's play!

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