It was definitely a LOOONG drive, from Southern Ontario to Calgary, Alberta, but I am so very thankful that my husband continues our tradition of stopping at any and every place that looks interesting along our route. We also have a habit of stopping at every welcome center in each new province or state, and in so doing, we found this gem of a place! I laugh within at the fact that our sons-in-law may have to deal with this expectation from our daughters ;)
Ever feel like you need a tropical vacation, but cannot afford to fly somewhere tropical? Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is truly a beautiful and almost exotic place! At least we found it to be so! We simply pulled into a welcome center for a break and a pic of the Indiana sign, and once inside, saw all this information for the Dunes... then hopped back in the vehicle to keep going, and were
enticed by this:
We had been talking about getting a tandem bike for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity to try one! The young people at Pedal Power were super sweet! I have to say, though, I probably would not get a tandem bike now... Know this: firstly, in my defense, my husband had just recently lost sight in one eye...just sayin', and secondly, I have issues with control ;) Sitting behind my husband, who is taller than me, and completely having to put my trust in his leadership on this bicycle that we had never ridden before...it was...a lesson for me! Let's just say, there was a lot of squealing, and "slow down!" coming from the back seat driver, while Fern laughed and laughed. (And there IS joy in making others laugh!)
Taking the trail, we came upon a National Park, and rode in for free! What a beautiful site we stumbled upon! Huge sandy dunes to one side, interspersed with huge trees, and a vast beach in front of us, leading into gorgeous, clear waters!! It was like falling into a dream! We were as children on Christmas morning! Fern and I couldn't stop smiling! All stressors fell away... We parked our bike, and ran for the sand!
The sands were amazing! Soft, deep, and cool. There are 15 miles of this shoreline! We fully enjoyed the difficult hike up the dunes, laughing like idiots, and barefoot, of course! Took in the awesome view from the top, and just breathed! The breathing alone brings contentment...
To add to the crazy level of happiness, we ran, with total abandon, down the dunes to the water! I truly hope that at some time, you dance in the rain, run down a grassy or sandy slope with arms open wide, or just let yourself enjoy childlike exuberance over simple, clean fun! Yep, we delight in simple pleasures! A short video of my lunatic husband.
Speaking of simple pleasures, you can rent a backpack complete with all the information and equipment needed to enjoy birding here. It always impresses me when activities are offered free of charge. That is wonderful hospitality.
The waters of Lake Michigan were clear and refreshing! (It is no wonder that Parent Magazine rates this beach in the top 5 family beaches.) Does this photo not give the illusion of being at the ocean? Even more blissful in the fact that I didn't have to be concerned with sharks ;)
I must say that we would return to this magical place, and actually have already! You must take it in for yourself! Go and enjoy a deep breath of contentment!