While parts of the Lake Michigan shoreline are in private hands, there are still plenty of beach-going options available to the public, either through the National Lakeshore, the Indiana State Park, or some municipalities. These options sometimes require a fee to enter, while other locations are free and first , first served.
One of these free options is Central Beach, in Beverly Shores, Indiana, just West of Michigan City. The parking lot has 70 spots and, while there were only a few spots taken on a recent Fall-like weekday morning, I believe that Summer weekends are probably a madhouse.
The beach is open seasonally from mid-April through mid-November, with access from 6:00 a.m. to 30 minutes past sunset. According to the National Park Service website, restrooms and potable water are offered from mid-April through mid-October, though everything was shut down when I visited in late September. Porta-potties were set up near the parking lot, so no need to go off-trail to relieve oneself.
Central Beach, Beverly Shores, Indiana Slideshow:
Besides strolling the beach, swimming is the main activity. Since there are no lifeguards, you swim at your own risk. The area does see rip currents and occasional big waves, so swimming can be hazardous if you’re not prepared.
While not prohibited, visitors are advised not to climb up the dune directly behind the beach. These dunes lie just West of Mount Baldy, which swallowed a boy in an unexpected hole in the dunes.
Pets are permitted on a leash (6′ or shorter), but please pick up after your dog. Alcohol is permitted when used responsibly, but be aware that glass containers are prohibited on all beaches, including this one.
Directions to Central Beach:
Other nearby destinations: