Ever have that itch to get away? Sometimes I just need a vacation – but then reality sets in…I can’t take any more time off of work. Who would watch the dogs? Can I even afford an overseas flight?
Lucky for me – and now those of you reading this - my job has allowed me to discover offbeat destinations right here within this glorious country of ours! I say “offbeat” because haven’t we all either been a college student on spring break in Daytona, participated in the Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans, or, at the very least, seen the Baywatch crew run in slow-motion on the beaches of Los Angeles? If you’ve been there, done that, and are looking for some variety, our “Travel America” articles will explore the hidden gems across the United States – cities and towns waiting for you to arrive…
I’ve never been to the Great Lakes, but ever since that 2003 surfing film depicted guys riding the waves off of Minnesota, I’ve wanted to visit. There are many small towns dotting the lake’s coastlines, but one town in particular, Michigan City, Indiana, piqued my interest.
Michigan City has long been a vacation destination for the residents of Chicago (it’s only about 50 miles east of the windy city – on a clear day you can even see the Chicago skyline!) and for residents of nearby areas of Indiana, but it is gradually becoming better known by the rest of the US.
Plan your trip to Michigan City for one of the summer months if you plan to hit up the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore – nearly 25 miles of beaches, sand dunes, marshes and woodland forests along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. The Lakeshore is home to over 35o species of birds and has one of the most diverse plant communities of any National Park in the US.
Visit the Lighthouse Place Outlet Mall for Michigan City’ s best shopping and some great dining options. The outlet was named after the Old Michigan City Lighthouse – one of the state’s few lighthouses.
And if birds and lighthouses aren’t quite your thing, pony up at The Blue Chip Casino! The largest riverboat in Indiana, The Blue Chip Casino, offers 24/7 boarding and a 65,000 square foot gaming floor. Casino’s are fun and all, but I am on a budget here. I think I’ll check into the casino’s entertainment scene, which attracts National acts to the 15,000 square foot Stardust Event Center.
While Michigan City has a variety of accommodations, ranging from camping to hotels, my friends and I would rather rent a house or apartment. And I confess, because I rarely travel the US without my fur-babies, it can be hard to find a short term rental that allows my dogs to stay with me. I am booking my stay at the “Miami” – a lakefront home I found that has panoramic views of the dunes, beach, and Michigan City’s famous lighthouse. There is not going to be anything between me and the fine sandy beach but a foot path through the sand dunes to the lake!