Indiana Dunes: Family Getaway {GIVEAWAY}

by Beth Montgomery on June 26, 2011 · 2 comments

in Contests, Freebies & Samples, Giveaways

Summer Fun in IndianaThis giveaway is part of the 2011 Summer Fun in Indiana series. Make sure to check out all the places to visit and ways to save on summer fun in Indiana! Enjoy your summer!

Ady walking to the top of the Beach Blowout for a spectacular view of everything from Chicago across Lake Michigan to Indiana Dunes State Park.

We just returned from our Indiana Dunes mini-family vacation and it took me so long to write this post, because I couldn’t pick which parts (and pictures) I most wanted to share most. As someone who has never visited the Indiana Dune before, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

The DunesWalk Inn was close to town, but you felt so isolated. It was quiet (until we arrived)!

Our first stop was the DunesWalk Inn, a small inn inside what used to be the Furness Mansion.   The inn is very close to town, but you felt like you were miles away from civilization.   My husband and I both agreed we’d love to go back without the kids.   It was the perfect place for a romantic getaway.   The quiet rooms made you long to curl up and spend the day in bed.   Plus, there was a sense of small-town trust and the rooms had everything you needed to make you feel at home.

Lucrezia Cafe had the best Italian food I have ever tasted!

That night we ventured into the quaint small-town of Porter for dinner at Lucrezia Cafe.   The staff treated us like friends who stopped by for dinner (we even noticed one waiter run down the road to the grocery store to pick up milk for my son!), the customers at other tables made small talk in the small dining rooms, and live music played on the patio, but that wasn’t the best part.   There are no words to describe the food!   Even my vegetable-hating husband cleared his plate claiming, “I don’t know what they did to those vegetables, but they were out of this world.”

Daelan driving the "fire truck" in front of our tent.

After enjoying the small locally-owned stores and small town, we switched to a more rugged vacation, camping at Indiana Dunes State Park where we ran on the beach, explored the Nature Center, hiked up and down the hilly dunes, and enjoyed breath-taking views.   My youngest had so much fun and wasn’t clean for a second, even jumping in the mud puddle created by the drinking fountain outside the bathrooms after his showers.

Daelan spotting his first raccoon in the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center.

What surprised me most about the Indiana Dunes was that it wasn’t what I expected.   I expected to feel like I was in Indiana outdoors experiencing nature, but you feel so much more while exploring the dunes!   Standing on the beach as the wild Michigan Lake waves beat against the shore and seagulls chirped overhead, it felt like you were standing on a beach in Florida.   Tucked inside the cozy DunesWalk Inn, you felt like you were miles from civilization without a care in the world.   Laughing inside Lucrezia Cafe you felt like you were part of a small town surrounded by friends.   And, standing on top of a high point in Indiana Dunes State Park, you felt like you were seeing the most beautiful parts of nature.   It was the perfect place to really get away from the stress of every day life.

Daelan, dirty again after his shower and exhausted after a fun vacation.

Visit, Follow, and Fan:

Indiana Dunes Tourism

Visitor Center

1215 North State Road 49

Porter, IN 46304

T: 219-926-2255

Website *Facebook *Twitter *News vis RSS Feed *Flickr *YouTube

Why it’s a great place for families: Indiana Dunes can be the perfect vacation spot for everyone, no matter what their interested in doing.   With so much to do from hiking to browsing small local shops, you can customize a vacation to make sure everyone has a blast.

Walking up and down the hilly dunes may be tiring for little ones.

Must-See Attraction: The Indiana Dunes (of course!)

Tips & Recommendations for The Whole Family:

Babies & Infants: While the town is very stroller friendly, bring a sling or baby carrier if you plan on hiking.   You would not want to push a stroller through the sand that is found on many (if not all) of the trails!

The kids throwing rocks into Lake Michigan.

Toddlers & Preschoolers: Little kids love the little things in life, so keep your eyes peeled for things that will “wow” them.   Bring a pail to build a sand castle, search for shells along the beach, catch fireflies, and throw rocks into Michigan Lake.   Plus, watch for animals!   We found a raccoon, mouse, interesting caterpillar, cows, horses, buffalo, turtle, fish, seagulls, squirrels, birds, lizard, beautiful butterflies, and snake.

Lurcrezia Cafe was so fun with live music, outstanding staff, and even friendly customers who made you feel so welcome.

School-Age Kids: Indiana Dunes is full of intriguing history! Every place we visited from the DunesWalk Inn to Lucrezia Cafe had an interesting story.   I was shocked to walk into the bathroom at Lucrezia Cafe and find an article about Lucrezia and how she “most likely didn’t poison anyone“.   I had to laugh at the idea of a restaurant being named after someone who probably didn’t poison anyone, but Ady loved hearing each and every story.   She soaked it up and asked questions.   Visit the museums and nature center at Indiana State Park for even more history and learning opportunities.

Teens & Pre-Teens: Hit the beach!   I wouldn’t plan on swimming with all the warning and notices posted, but many teenagers were running up and down Devil’s Slide at the Indiana Dunes State Park just to say they did it, playing Frisbee on the beach, and simply hanging out.

Adults: I was shocked to find that Indiana Dunes is a great place for a romantic getaway (and affordable!), so leave the kids at home and go alone!   Enjoy a mouth-watering dinner for two, be lazy and stay in bed for a day snuggling, pamper yourself with a couple’s massage or spa day, cook a romantic meal together in your room’s kitchenette.

What We Love Most: The view from the top of the Beach House Blowout in Indiana Dunes State Park. It’s breath-taking!

Ways to Save on Your Visit:

  1. Find discount vacation packages on Indiana Dunes Tourism website.
  2. Stop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center   building upon arrival for exclusive discount flyers and coupons found in the visitors information racks.
  3. Most museums and attractions at Indiana Dunes are FREE or charge minimal admission!
  4. Save money by splitting your vacation between a nice hotel and camping like we did.
  5. Take advantage of the natural attractions, like the Indiana Dunes, beach, Lake Michigan, hiking, bird watching, fishing, and all the outdoor activities that are FREE!
  6. Watch for special “VIP” coupon booklets in your hotel for shopping and restaurants.
  7. Look for coupons coming soon to the Indiana Dunes Tourism website.
  8. Bring food!   The DunesWalk Inn had a nice kitchenette in every room with tableware and everything we needed to make our own meal and nothing is better than a meal cooked over an open fire.

The girls showing off their S'more hands and traditional around-the-campfire look.


One (1) lucky In Good Cents readers will win a FREE Indiana Dunes Vacation family prize-pack including:

How to Enter

Giveaways on In Good Cents are run via survey. Comments do not count towards entry. You will receive one (1) additional entry for each completed bonus entry. Bonus entries will be confirmed before a winner is selected and announced.

There are 9 possible entries available! Here’s what you can do to enter to win:

Required Entry Question

1. REQUIRED ENTRY: What would you visit first when vacationing at Indiana Dunes?

Bonus Entry Method (optional)

1. Subscribe to In Good Cents via e-mail AND confirm your subscription.

2. Subscribe to In Good Cents via RSS.

3. “Like” In Good Cents on Facebook.

4. “Like” Indiana Dunes Tourism on Facebook. While it’s not required, feel free to leave a comment on their wall, letting them know you found them on In Good Cents and/or thank them for this wonderful opportunity!

5. “Like” Lucrezia Cafe on Facebook. While it’s not required, feel free to leave a comment on their wall, letting them know you found them on In Good Cents and/or thank them for this wonderful opportunity!

6. “Like” DunesWalk Inn on Facebook. While it’s not required, feel free to leave a comment on their wall, letting them know you found them on In Good Cents and/or thank them for this wonderful opportunity!

7. Follow @InGoodCents, @IndianaDunes, and @LucreziaCafe, on Twitter AND tweet this:

Visit @IndianaDunes for natural splendor & @LucreziaCafe for heavenly food! #Giveaway #Indiana #Win via @InGoodCents

7. Grab the Summer Fun in Indiana button on my sidebar and place it on your website or blog.




Entries will be accepted from now until 11:59 P.M. Eastern on Saturday, July 2, 2011. Winners are selected randomly through and announced on the In Good Cents Giveaway page. Check out all the current & past giveaways for more chances to win on In Good Cents!

Official Rules and Small Print: 1.) No purchase necessary to enter or win. 2.) Must be a valid Indiana Resident and 18 years of age or older to enter and have a valid mailing address within the sponsor’s distribution area. 3.) Limit of one (1) survey entry per person. Duplicate entries will be deleted. 4.) Odds of winning depend on the number of entries. 5.) Employees of In Good Cents, LLC and/or sponsoring company are not eligible for participation. 6.) Prizes must be accepted as is and are not redeemable for cash. 7.) In Good Cents, LLC and the sponsoring company are not liable for any injury or damages to person and/or things as a result of the acceptance of the prize offered. 8.) Void where prohibited. 9.) Winner is responsible for any taxes and/or fees that may result from winning. 10.) Limited to residents of the state of Indiana.


Disclosure: Sponsored by Indiana Dunes Tourism and conducted by In Good Cents. I did not receive payment. I did receive products for review. However, as always, all opinions are my own, regardless of compensation. For more information, check out my disclosure policy. This giveaway is not associated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by Facebook or Twitter.

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