By Kate Siber
Indiana Dunes State Park
Indiana Dunes State Park, about 50 miles southeast of Chicago, is a sliver of wilderness in the unlikeliest of places: It’s surrounded by one of the heaviest concentrations of industry in the country. “It’s incredibly dramatic for the prairie state,” says Ted Villaire, author of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Chicago. “It feels isolated and remote.”
Get Hiking: Happily, there’s little reminder of nearby urbanity on the 4.5-mile loop (trails two, ten, and nine) that winds through forests, wetlands, and the 200-foot-tall dunes that have formed over millennia.
Après Hike: In nearby Chesterton, Indiana, stop at The Port Drive-In—a local institution since 1953—for chili dogs and homemade root beer floats.
Photograph by Alex C. Zaideman