Indiana Summer Family Fun | Indiana Dunes Mini Family Vacation (Giveaway)

by Beth Montgomery on May 11, 2012 · 135 comments

in Contests, Giveaways

UPDATE: This contest has ended. The winners are Julianna & Janet. Congratulations!

This post is part of the Indiana Summer Fun 2012 series. Be sure to check out all the ways to enjoy Indiana in true frugal fashion this summer!

Though I’ve lived in Indiana my entire life, last year was my first trip to Indiana Dunes. My family and I love the outdoors, but I was shocked to see the amazing beauty the was right here. Every Hoosier should venture at least once to see the dunes that truly are a masterpiece of nature.

This year our venture began at Inspiration Wood, a new private retreat in Westville, Indiana. The comfy cottages made it seem like you were staying at the cottage of a good friend, but you had all the amenities of a hotel. The cottages are nestled in the woods surrounded by nature and near a lake where you can spot ducks and other beautiful birds. But inside you find deep tubs that beg for you to just relax and huge king-size beds with thick pillows.

I go on vacation with my entire family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc…) often, but when I’m away on a family vacation with just my immediate family, it’s not often I think, “I wish the rest of my family was here.” It’s not that I don’t love them, but 21 people on vacation together is crazy. With the cottages at Inspiration Wood close enough together to visit, but far enough you get time apart too, it really was the perfect place for a family reunion or, with FREE Wi-Fi throughout the area, a company retreat. They offer bonfires, gathering spaces, and the owners go above and beyond to make your stay perfect.

While at Inspiration Wood, we journeyed to Taltree Arboretum & Gardens who has taken an extra step to make gardens exciting for even young toddler boys by adding a huge train set that twists and turns around dwarf trees and small waterfalls.  When I heard the word “garden”, I assumed my son would be bored out of his mind, but since even Thomas the Train was riding the rails, I couldn’t get him out of there. We made 2 1/2 slow trips around the large Railway Gardens, before heading off to the Rose Gardens and off on the trails to see the only two Trumpeter Swans in Indiana who live together on a small island in the wetlands.

After hiking through the woods, we headed back to Lucrezia Cafe where we enjoyed the best meal ever last year and got the same delicious Italian fare this year. Lucrezia is a small Italian restaurant with live music and friendly staff that goes out of their way to make your experience great, even if that means walking down the street to get milk for my son. Even my picky children devoured every bit of their Fettuccine Alfredo, along with more than their share of bread and dip.

While we hated to leave the comfortable cottage at Inspiration Wood, after two nights we headed to Indiana Dunes State Park to pitch our tent and sleep outdoors. While personally, I prefer the comforts of a bed (and that deep tub), my kids love sleeping in sleeping bags listening to the sounds of racoons scouring the campgrounds and birds chirping high above. And, really, my husband and I love going to bed early to avoid the mosquitoes and  and snuggling under the thick sleeping bags.

Why We Love Indiana Dunes Tourism

Why it’s great for families: At Indiana Dunes, you’ll find something to interest every member of the family. There’s the nature center, gardens, beach, trails, and, of course, animals. It’s nature at it’s finest.

What we love most: We love the fact that most of the best spots to visit are family-owned, so they make you feel like you’re with friends by going out of their way to make sure you’re visit is everything you expected, plus more.

Our Tips for a Successful Visit

Tips for Young Children & Infants: Indiana Dunes is hilly, so be prepared for walking up and down large hills when hiking. For very small kids, bring a carrier for when they get tired.

Tips for Older Children: Check out the schedule of events happening at the gardens and parks. There are many great events for school-age children and families where you can experience nature and see wild animals up close and personal.

Tips for Adults: Leave the kids at home! Indiana Dunes is also the perfect place for a romantic getaway.

Ways to Save

  • Stop by the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center and pick up coupons sheets, including the coupons in the Enjoy Indiana Dunes Country at its Best Booklet.
  • You can enjoy the beach and trails at Indiana Dunes State Park for only the cost of park entrance, which is per car.
  • Bring food with you, plus a picnic basket, to save on the cost of eating out. Many places are picnic-friendly.
  • Bring board games and books to enjoy quiet nights relaxing together.

Plan a Visit

Indiana Dunes Tourism
1215 N. State Road 49
Porter, Indiana 46304
Visit Online


Enter to Win


One (1) lucky In Good Cents readers will win one (1) FREE Indiana Dunes Country Package valued at approximately $500 that includes:

  • Two-Night Stay at Inspiration Woods Cottage
  • Gift Card to Lucrezia Cafe
  • (4) Passes to Taltree Arboretum &Gardens

One (1) lucky runner up will will the 2nd place prize valued at $40 including:

  • (4) Passes to Taltree Arboretum &Gardens

**eMail and RSS subscribers must visit this post to enter for a chance to win. Entries by email will not be accepted.

Enter to Win

This giveaway is open to Indiana residents only.

Leave one (1) comment for each entry. Each entry is worth one (1) entry, for a total of up to (7) seven possible entries. Entries will be confirmed before a winner is selected and announced.

Required Entry Question

1. REQUIRED ENTRY: What would you most look forward to if you were off to visit Indiana Dunes Country?

Bonus Entry Methods (OPTIONAL)

1. Subscribe to my FREE daily deal newsletter via email or RSS feed reader and confirm your subscription. Once your a subscriber, leave a comment letting me know you’re getting your dose of daily deals.

2. “Like” In Good Cents on Facebook. Leave a comment to let us know.

3. “Like” Indiana Dunes Tourism on Facebook. Leave a comment to let us know. 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!

4. “Like” Inspiration Wood on Facebook. Leave a comment to let us know. 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. Follow @InGoodCents and tweet about the giveaway. Leave a link to your tweet in a comment. An example tweet is below for your use:

Visit #IndianaDunes for #SummerFun in #Indiana for the whole family. #EntertoWin via @InGoodCents #Giveaway #Win

6. Pin it! Pin this giveaway to one of your Pinterest boards. Leave a comment to let us know you pinned it.

Entries will be accepted from now until 11:59 PM Eastern on Saturday, June 16, 2012. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by email.

Official Rules and Small Print: This is a game of chance. Your entry will have the same chance to win as every other entry. A winner will not be revealed until the sweepstakes ends. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY to enter or win. Purchases with In Good Cents and/or Indiana Dunes Tourism will not increase your chances of winning. Must be a legal Indiana Resident and 18 years of age or older to enter and have a valid mailing address within the state. Limit of one (1) entry per entry method per person. Duplicate entries will be void. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries visible below. Employees of In Good Cents, LLC and/or Indiana Dunes Tourism are not eligible for participation. Prizes must be accepted as is and are not redeemable for cash. In Good Cents, LLC and Indiana Dunes Tourism are not liable for any injury or damages to person and/or things as a result of the acceptance of the prize offered. Void where prohibited. Winner is responsible for any taxes and/or fees that may result from winning. For a full set of sweepstake rules, please read the full terms & conditions.

This giveaway was sponsored by Indiana Dunes Tourism and conducted by In Good Cents. For more information, please read my disclosure policy.

This post may contain affiliate links, which help support this site. For more information, please read the Disclosure Policy.
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