Ralph & Marcos' Aug '05 Recon trip to Indiana Dunes
(August 19-21 2005) Indiana Dunes is a magnificent stretch of coastline along the south shore of Lake Michigan, and 46 miles from Downtown Chicago.
The Indiana Dunes Lakeshore is approx 8 miles of beautiful sandy beach. The whole lakeshore is a National Reserve and not developed. It also means there is not much there in the way of stores, parking, etc.
The State Park (Indiana Dunes State Park) is only one small section of the Nationally protected shoreline.
We went to West Beach first, as we had no clue where to go, and stopped at the guard shack where they wanted a $6 entry fee. The guard said no one ever windsurfed in there, and as far as he knew it was not permitted at West Beach as it is more orientated to swimmers and is the only beach with lifeguards - so we ventured on; past the Indiana Dunes State Park to Kemil Beach and there we saw some other windsurfers, waiting for wind.
We had to unload our gear at the side of the road, carry it down the dune to the beach, and then go to park the car. Not an easy task and much patience is required! Parking is sparse but presumably less full on windy spring/fall days.
The beach just goes on for miles, and the "different" beaches are not marked nor separated in any way, they all just merge into each other.
We were at Kemil/Dunbar Beach, and on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in August the beach was pretty quiet - and windless!!! There were people up and down the beach, but we had no trouble finding a spot to set up on.
And then we waited for the forecasted 17mph NW base to build.
It never did - we got skunked, but had a good time at the beach nonetheless and chatted with some windsurfing locals. The water was colder than Carlyle, and if windsurfing we would have needed at least shorty wetsuits, probably a long-john.
Despite the absence of wind, the waves were 2-3 feet in the shore break, so we expect hardcore ramps on a windy day!
The location is outstanding, and we can only imagine what it must be like when the wind blows! Its a long drive, but we can't wait to go up there and try again!
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