Native Plants and Wildflowers in Miller Beach

Did you know that Indiana Dunes National Park  is the United States’ 5th most bio diverse national park?  We think it’s the best place to see rare and hard-to-find dunes flora in northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. Come to Gary’s Miller Beach neighborhood to discover beautiful wildflowers  blooming throughout the dunes  in the spring and early summer!

Local botanists and plant lovers say that Miller Woods is THE place to see the prolific spring blooms of thousands of lupines and other native dunes plants.  They are easy to find and clearly visible, right off of the Miller Woods Trail and the Paul H Douglas Trail.  The lupines have a lasting bloom in May and June, along with many other native wildflowers. Their magnificent blooms are a truly beautiful sight,  along with the regionally rare dune and swale ecosystems, wetlands, and oak savannas on these trails.    

Here are highlights of some of our native wildflowers and plants.

August blooming sunflowers with Monarch butterfly, by the Calumet Lagoon.
Common Milkweed (Asclepias Syriaca).
Sniff this Common Milkweed (Asclepias Syriaca), it has a heavenly fragrance. Summer blooming cluster along the Calumet Lagoon, Marquette Park.
Bloodroot, Spring bloomer. Miller Woods, Indiana Dunes National Park.
Bloodroot is a spring bloomer in Miller Woods, seen from the Miller Woods Trail.
Spent wildflowers add interest and texture to the dunes, even in the winter.
Blue Gentian
Early October brings a brilliant display of blue gentian on the Chanute Trail.

Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia), May blooming, Marquette Park.
Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia), May blooming, Marquette Park.
Cluster of wildflowers blooming in June on the Marquette Loop Trail.


Eastern daisy fleabane (Erigeron annuus)
Eastern daisy fleabane (Erigeron annuus) show their sunny dispositions in the summer.

Native Rosepink (Sabatia angularis)
Native Rosepink blooms in late summer on the Chanute Trail in Marquette Park.
Native Sunflower (Silphium Integrifolium)
Sunflower, native to Indiana Dunes, blooming in Marquette Park, late summer.
Moss Stays green under the dune grass, even in winter!!
Moss Stays green under the dune grass, even in winter!!
Marram grass (Ammophila arenaria), beach grass in fall bloom
Marram grass (Ammophila arenaria) in Marquette Park, Gary. Observe the blooms in late fall and early winter near the lakefront.
False Solomon's Seal
False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum) native wildflower mixed with non native Lilies of the Valley on the Marquette Loop Trail.
Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria (L.) Bernh) bloom in April, in Miller Woods
Hoary Puccoon, native wildflower, blooming mid summer in Miller Woods.
Chanute Trail summer native blooming.
Monarda fistulosa, Wild Bergamot, summer blooming in Marquette Park.
The brilliant rust of native grasses in early winter, at sundown on the Marquette Trail.
Miller Woods wetlands from ADA boardwalk, Winter View
Miller Woods wetland growth is frozen with views of blue below the surface ice, Miller Woods Trail.
Indiana Dunes National Park in Miller Woods
View of Miller Woods wetlands from the Boardwalk
little blue stem lines a beach path to Lake Michigan.
Little blue stem in late fall with it’s cottony bloom heads, lining a beach path in Marquette Park, with Lake Michigan in sight.
Oak savanna, dune and swale in Miller Woods.
Fall scene of shining sumac in Indiana Dunes National Park on the Marquette Trail.
Wetlands/Seasonal Pond, Paul H. Douglas Trail behind the Douglas Nature Center
Indiana Dues prickly pear cactus
Native prickly pear cactus in full summer bloom, Marquette Park, Gary, Indiana.
Lupines blooming Miller Woods
Thousands of lupines bloom on the Miller Woods Trail in May and June. Photo Credit: Peggy Vanhala
native wildflower Indiana Dunes National Park
Native white snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) in full fall bloom on the Marquette Trail.
Goldenrod bloom into the late fall, in Marquette Park.
Horsemint (monarda), native wildflower gives us a pretty summer show. Photo by Peggy Vanhala
Tenacious Frost Aster Blooming in late October in the Marquette Beach parking lot!
Showy goldenrod stems and leaves turn a brilliant red, in late fall.