Not only did Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore welcome a record number of visitors last year, but most came from out of the immediate area, demonstrating the pull sandy beaches and cool waters can have during a hot summer.
Lakeshore officials tallied 2,165,605 visitors last year, an increase of nearly 12 percent from 2009 levels.
“Surveys show that approximately 80 percent of the park’s visitors are not from the local area,” said Superintendent Costa Dillon. “That means some 1.6 million of these visits are from people outside northwest Indiana contributing to the local economy through tourism spending.”
Nearly 500,000 visitors came to the park in July, the park’s busiest month, and June and August saw more than 300,000 each, according to a release. The Dunewood Campground had 23,439 people stay at least one night either in a tent or a camper.
The 2010 survey of park visitor satisfaction revealed that 91 percent rated the park’s recreation opportunities as 'good' or 'very good.'
The most-visited area of the park was the Lake Michigan shoreline. Visits to individual sites included 172, 840 at Mount Baldy, 118,743 to the Bailly/Chellberg area, 176,920 at West Beach, and 140,304 at Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of beach, woods, marshes, and prairie in the northwest corner of Indiana.