Ranger Nadia greeted us  with plenty of advice on what to do and see on our visit.



Interesting exhibits showed us the history of early area residents and the fight to save the dunes.


Ranger Julie is getting a water testing activity area ready for visitors to the Douglas Center. Tanks along the walls contain local turtles, snakes, fish, and reptiles for observation.
Winter Hike, Miller Woods Trail
Hiking is Fun in Any Season on the Miller Woods Trail.
Mile long Miller Woods Beach is at the end of Miller Woods Trail, on Lake Michigan. A calm and peaceful spot to swim, or just enjoy the calm and Chicago skyline view. This is the eastern point of 5 continuous miles of walkable and swimmable beaches.  Surfers and beach goers park at Lake Street Beach and walk west.   
Even tiny hikers enjoy the Marquette Trail.  It connects the Douglas Center with West Beach (another national park section). Photo Credit:  Cullen Ben-Daniel

The Indiana Dunes National Park begins in Miller Beach

The Douglas Nature Center  is the western visitors center of Indiana Dunes National Park.  It’s only a block north of Gary’s Miller Beach neighborhood downtown on Lake Street, and has it’s own beach!  

The West Beach section of the national park forms our eastern border. The Marquette Greenway Trail runs through our neighborhood and connects the two park sections together. National park lands wrap around 3 sides of Miller Beach (Lake Michigan is the fourth side).  

Formally called the  Paul H Douglas Center for Environmental Education, 100 N Lake St, Gary, IN, the Douglas Center  is an attraction of its own!  Bring the kids and check out the exhibits of live turtles, snakes, and fish.  Get your national park stamp or Junior Ranger badge!  Join weekly programs involving free kayaking, guided hikes, water testing, or other family oriented activities.  Watch interesting videos that show what the park has to offer in Miller Woods or other areas of the park.


Hikers exploring Miller Woods
Early June hiking group on the Miller Woods Trail.
The new picnic area on the deck outside the Douglas Center overlooks trails, forest, and a wetland. Great place to stop and refresh! Two other picnic areas are available outside!  Ask a ranger 🙂
Stairs lead to a trailhead, or exit the back for an ADA loop through a pleasant wooded trail that is great for strollers, walkers, or wheelchairs.
An outdoor kids area includes another picnic area and drinking fountains.
Want to try snowshoeing? No worries, the Paul H Douglas Center has free loaners, and cross country skis, too!.