It’s summertime and the living is easy, particularly in the Southern Lakeshore area. It’s the ideal season to pack a day or overnight bag, load the kids into the car and drive to one of the many nearby destinations. Here are five places perfect for a mini-getaway – and they’re all right in your backyard.
All your nostalgic yearnings for a good old-fashioned campground will be satisfied at Potato Creek in North Liberty, Indiana. Home to Native American tribes for thousands of years, this historical park is ready to play host to thousands of tourists and locals each year. It features several campgrounds as well as roomy cabins for rent. You can also rent bikes, kayaks, canoes, paddleboats and other crafts. Boat launch ramps make it easy to spend an afternoon on the water, and any fish you catch can be cleaned at the convenient fish cleaning station. With playgrounds for children, the whole family is sure to have a great time.
For a dose of tough football players and fast cars, there’s no better place than South Bend, Indiana. Your first stop is the College Football Hall of Fame, where even the most reluctant fans will be entertained by interactive exhibits that allow you to test your own football skills, including speed, agility, punting and blocking. Grab lunch at the restaurant, and pick up a souvenir at the gift shop before heading to the Studebaker National Museum. A car enthusiast’s heaven, the museum displays over 70 vehicles, including President Abraham Lincoln’s carriage, a Conestoga wagon and the Studebaker used in The Muppet Movie.
Center for History
The Center for History, also located in South Bend, has something for everyone. Check the South Bend website for current exhibits. Misbehaving Michiana, which runs through 2012, is a particularly quirky look at some of the illegal activities Michiana has hosted in the past, and the Voyages exhibit shows some of the hardships that the early settlers encountered. The Navarre Cabin was built by one of the first European settlers, and offers a glimpse into pioneer life. The Copshaholm mansion, built by the Oliver family in the late 1800’s, displays the original furnishings in its thirty-eight spacious rooms, and is also one of the Center’s must-sees.
St. Joseph, Michigan
Located on the scenic shores of Lake Michigan, St. Joseph offers leisure and laughs for the whole family. The inviting sands of Silver Beach offer volleyball, fishing and swimming. You can also take a walk to and explore the Silver Beach lighthouse or watch the kids spin around and around the Silver Beach Carousel. St. Joseph houses an array of entertainment options with the Krasl Art Center, the Curious Kids’ Museum, and Jones Berry Farm all located in the lake-side city. Unwind after a long day in the sun with winery tours and fine dining.
Warren Dunes State Park
Warren Dunes State Park provides a unique opportunity to climb among sand dunes, and there’s no better place to wash off that sand than Lake Michigan. The park is home to several large sand dunes, including the 240 foot high Tower Hill. This topology makes it a great place to try out some new summer activities, including sandboarding, metal detecting, and hunting. The park is almost 2,000 acres, so there’s plenty of room for crowds, and there are ample opportunities for wildlife watching. Cabins and campgrounds abound throughout the park, as well as concession stands and playgrounds.
There’s no reason to be bored in Michiana this summer.