If you’re visiting during the summer, you’ll want to bring extra swimsuits. (Putting on a cold, damp bathing suit is the worst!) Flipflops will be easy to get on and off (or just take some water shoes, if you prefer). If you’re prone to sunburns, don’t forget the sunscreen and sun hat! An extra pair of clean clothes is nice too at the end of the day at the beach.
Hiking: To avoid overheating, make sure to wear wicking, lightweight activewear clothing on hikes. Avoid dark colors too as these absorb more heat/sun. Depending on what else you have planned for the day, wear a pair of broken-in waterproof hiking sandals or your regular hiking shoes. Don’t forget to stash your water in your daypack and a cooling towel too, while you’re at it.
Boating and fishing: Although there are no places to rent a boat within the park, there are places nearby. Whether you plan to go kayaking or sailing, you’ll want to dress about the same as you would for hiking. Light colors and fabrics will help keep you cool and reflect the sun, which can really bake you on the water. Make sure your clothes are quick-drying too. Wearing wet clothes all day doesn’t feel great. Some snug sandals or water shoes are a good idea too so you don’t lose them if you accidentally tip over. And again, a sun hat and sunscreen are musts too for spending time on the water.
Camping: Indiana Dunes National Park has a very popular campground that stays booked up in the summer. If you’re lucky and get to take advantage of one of these spots, be sure to take comfy clothes for relaxing around the fire. (Especially ones you don’t mind getting a little dirty.) Tennis shoes or sandals are fine. We prefer the latter because they’re a lot easier to get on and off if you’re going in and out of a tent!
Interpretive center: casual clothes, tennis shoes
Indiana Dunes has a cool interpretive center with displays of the history, wildlife, and more of the park. It’s a great stop to make any time of year, but especially so as a place to cool off on a hot summer day. Things are laid-back here, so casual clothes and tennis shoes are fine. No need to dress up.