Knowing Where You’re Going is the First Step
Northern Indiana has some of the most beautiful sights to see in the U.S., from beautiful Wawasee Lake to the Indiana Dunes to the college of Notre Dame; there is no shortage of places to visit that satisfy every taste for adventure. If you’re looking for things to do in Warsaw, Indiana, Syracuse, Chesterton, or any other place in the northern part of the state, it helps to have an idea of what’s there so you don’t miss anything you might want to experience.
You may be asking: What kinds of places are there to see?
Northern Indiana has many different types of sites and places. Some appeal to those who fancy the outdoors, while others are for fans of history. There are also places that offer stores renowned for their unique items, and there are endless activities that promise an enjoyable, unforgettable experience – and they’re all within easy distance of the world-famous Oakwood Resort in Syracuse.
1. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
As one of the nation’s most unique treasures, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has left its visitors in awe by the amazing landscape of towering sand dunes. With the clear and refreshing waters of Lake Michigan, this location has been a favorite for those with a love of nature. Along with the colossal sand dunes and the gorgeous Lake Michigan, there are 15,000 acres of mystifying wetlands, winding rivers, and peaceful woodlands.
At the Indiana Dunes, there is something for everyone! You can enjoy a walk on the 15-mile beach and take a swim in the refreshing waters, or you can hike to the very top of the sand dunes. (Be sure to try your hand at the Three-Dune Challenge!) There are over 50 miles of hiking trails to choose from, either in the dunes or further inland. The trails allow you to immerse yourself in the deep forests and give you a chance to see many different types of wildlife not found anywhere else. For example, dedicated birdwatchers have flocked to the area to observe more than 350 bird species.
2. Michigan City Pier and Lighthouse
In Michigan City, swimmers and strollers can enjoy the shore at Washington Park. Beachgoers can pick their spot to relax on the sand or take a swim in the cool waters of Lake Michigan. The only working lighthouse in Indiana, the East Light, stands within view at the beach. For history lovers, you can take a tour of the Old Michigan City Light to learn about the community’s past. Into fishing? You can always find fishermen of all skill levels at the boardwalk leading to the famous lighthouse, so be sure to bring your rod and worms.
Not only does Michigan City have a gorgeous place to relax on the shore of Lake Michigan, it is known as the “Coho Capital of the World.” Lake Michigan’s waters offer some of the greatest Chinook and Coho salmon fishing around, not to mention yellow perch, smallmouth bass, steelhead, brown trout, and lake trout.
Getting on the water to take part in this fishing adventure has never been easier with Michigan City’s professional charter boat captains. These experienced captains give you everything needed, from the boats, licenses, and bait to poles and lures. The charters cater to parties of families, friends, and corporate or other groups.
3. Lake Wawasee Tours
If you’re looking to spend the afternoon on the water, Oakwood Resort offers renowned boat tours of Lake Wawasee in Syracuse, Indiana. For just $10 (if you are a non-guest of the resort) you can board the historical Oakwood Tour Boat and tour the scenic Lake Wawasee. The 30-40-minute tour feels so much shorter when you are immersed in the beauty of the lake and the surrounding areas. For nature lovers and those who enjoy relaxing boat rides, the Lake Wawasee Tour is a perfect way to spend your afternoon.
Oakwood Resort offers more than 27 acres of gorgeous property that is ripe for adventure. The resort also features a paved one-mile-long track near the lake, and is surrounded by plenty of hiking, biking, and walking trails. Once you’ve experienced the boat tour and have gotten in your morning jaunt, grab some lunch at the resort then head out for an afternoon kayaking and paddle boarding on the lake. Finish up the evening with basketball on the court at the resort, frisbee, Giant Jenga, and cornhole right on the property.
4. Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets
This attractive and renowned shopping center has over 100 outlet stores that allow shoppers to spend their day browsing top brand merchandise and purchasing items at competitive prices. With the shopping mall close to Lake Michigan, it claims a prime spot that is only 60 miles from downtown Chicago and close to the I-90 toll road.
The stores at the outlet mall offer everything from shoes, baby clothes, and designer fashions to books, specialty items, gifts, and housewares. Visitors can find many of their favorite brands, like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Adidas, Michael Kors, Carter’s and Coach. After you’re done shopping, you have a variety of eateries you can visit, and being so close to downtown Michigan City, there are no shortage of options.
5. Bass Pro Shop
Bass Pro Shop in Portage, Indiana is every outdoorsman’s dream! Located right off of I-94, this “Outdoor World” has everything you can think of for outdoor adventures and sports. Inside you can find a towering waterfall that exhibits many different types of animals and gives a glimpse of local wildlife. The in-house restaurant, Islamorada, promises delicious fish dishes that will appeal to everyone’s needs. Before heading out on an outdoor adventure, Bass Pro Shop is a must see!
6. The University of Notre Dame
This historical college located in South Bend is filled with thrilling activities all year. The Golden Dome, expansive quadrangles, and classic Gothic architecture leave visitors in awe on walking tours. These tours can be taken with or without a student guide, though many opt for the student guide so they can be sure to experience all the campus offers.
No matter if you are looking for quiet spiritual reflection, outdoor activity, or shopping, the campus of Notre Dame has it all. The best place to visit first is the Eck Visitors Center, which allows you to look at the history of Notre Dame. This is where you can find information regarding guided campus tours. The famed Hammes Bookstore is located in the Visitors Center and is filled with Notre Dame-themed odds and ends and an incredible selection of books.
You can attend Mass at the inspiring Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and you can also tour the church. At day’s end, Morris Inn is the place to unwind. The newly refurbished building has two legendary restaurants: the Rohr Irish Pub and Sorin’s. Sorin’s is for fine dining and the pub is for casual fun and fare.
7. Syracuse is a favorite little city in Northern Indiana for vacationers, and for good reason. In addition to everything that Oakwood Resort has to offer, travelers come to Syracuse and the surrounding areas to enjoy places like the Creative Fish Art Gallery & ArtZie Workshop, the Blue Barn Berry Farm, an afternoon of golf at Maxwelton Golf Course, and shopping at The Blessed Nest.
Just six miles from Oakwood Resort is the Heart of the Lakes Antique Mall and Pie Eyed Petey’s – a traveler’s favorite. Nine miles from the resort, you can experience the Annie Oakley Perfume Factory Tour; on your way back to Syracuse, be sure to stop at Stoney Creek Winery in Millersburg!
In this bustling community, the Amish come to shop and work on bicycles and horse-drawn buggies. Visitors enjoy shopping for Amish food, furniture, quilts, and other unique creations here. Shipshewana gives people a fantastic opportunity to experience and learn about the culture of people who live simply and faithfully. In the Amish and Mennonite Visitors Center, Menno-Hoff, you can find more information about the way of life for the Amish. Buggy tours and stage performances are other means to immerse you in this rich environment.
In Shipshewana, you’ll find no shortage of shops and eateries. Stores sell numerous types of items, from Amish peanut butter to beautifully handcrafted clocks and cabinets. Amish food brings visitors to restaurants that have no shortage of chicken, roast beef, ham, noodles, potatoes, and more! For dessert, there is nothing more satisfying than choosing one of the many pies to eat. Starting the first of May through September, every Tuesday and Wednesday, the large Shipshewana flea market offers many items that display top-tier craftsmanship.
9. South Bend’s Museums
Despite being best known for the University of Notre Dame, South Bend has rich history that you can learn and see at the History Museum. Here you can learn how the J.D. Oliver family made plows that influenced agriculture not only in Indiana, but around the world. At the site of the museum, you can take tours of a worker’s cottage and the J.D. Oliver family’s Victorian mansion. For children, Kidsfirst Children’s Museum allows young ones to experience what it was like going to school in a single-room schoolhouse, live in a cabin, and bargain at a trading post.
10. The Lake House
If you’re looking for things to do in Warsaw, Indiana one of the most visited attractions is the Lake House, which is located in The Village at Winona. This store offers garb for water sports and is a premier surf shop. You can find brands like Hurley, Billabong, O’neill, Patagonia, Nixon, and many more. They also have a marketplace, along with a bar. With hundreds of options to choose from, there is something for everyone at The Lake House.
When planning a vacation, it is often believed that the most difficult part of planning the trip is deciding where to go. Oftentimes it is true, but when you decide to venture to a place like Northern Indiana, the true obstacle is figuring out what to do when you get there. With a place so rich in culture and history and accented with the beauty of nature, one could feel overwhelmed. Forming an itinerary can help you and your travel buddies blueprint everything you want to do and see so you don’t leave anything out!
Northern Indiana offers a plethora of places to visit, whether your goal is to get in touch with nature, shop in renowned stores, or tour history, there truly is something here for everyone.
Start your journey at Oakwood Resort and make Syracuse your hub while on vacation. Contact us today to reserve a room at our magnificent resort, and be sure to catch your boat tour with us while you’re here!