Photo Friday: The beaches of the Indiana Dunes

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Although Kathleen Stachowski now resides in Montana, the Great Lakes, and Lake Michigan in particular, will always hold a special place in her heart. Born and raised in Michigan City, Ind. near Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Stachowski’s life has always been tied to the dunes and the lake. Her childhood was filled with family trips to the lake and the dunes, seeing it then as a place of both wonder and solace. “The dunes had a truly wild feel in those days and not many people went there,” she recalled.

Indiana Dunes named top 10 urban escape

Geographic popularity contests have been kind to the Lake Michigan shoreline this summer: The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has been named a top 10 urban escape by National Geographic. The distinction comes on the heels of another sandy hotspot, the Sleeping Bear Dunes in northwestern Michigan, named by Good Morning America as the most beautiful place in the country. The Indiana Dunes Lakeshore was lauded as an escape from nearby Gary, Ind., and Chicago because of its 15 miles of lakeshore, biodiversity, and dunes that offer panoramic views of the lake.  The “Top 10 Urban Escapes” list is part of National Geographic’s, “Ten Best of Everything — National Parks,” book. Nearby communities are banking on their unique shoreline with a recent redevelopment plan dubbed Gateway to the Indiana Dunes.  The collaboration of dune towns is designed to spur development complementary to the natural resources and beauty. They have something to build on as 2010 was a record year for the dunes with 2.2 million visitors – an all-time high

So if you’re tired of staring at buildings and breathing city air, northwest Indiana wants you.