The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore runs dozens of miles along Lake Michigan and is filled with beaches, dunes, camping, nature centers and more. While there are lots of different trails to tackle, Trail 8 will take you to the top of the three tallest dunes.
The older kids took on this challenge running. Literally. There were many times they were so far ahead that we had to yell out to them to wait up. The trail takes you through wooded areas and out in the sun. The sand makes walking the trails even harder than if they were paved. But when you get to the top, the view is amazing.
Four year old Will struggled a bit of the big dunes and had to get carried a few times. I would say 6 or 7 is a great age to attempt the 3 Dune Challenge for the first time. We knew it was going to be an extra challenge for Will and, being the youngest, he just got dragged along for the ride.
After climbing Mt Holden we took a detour off Trail 8 to take our visitors from the South down to the beach.
You definitely could pack a back pack with towels and go for a swim in the middle of the challenge. We decided to hike light so the kids just put their feet in and jumped a few waves.
Lake Michigan makes about the perfect backdrop for photos so we snapped of few of the kids in their cousin shirts.
We just loved the back of the kids' shirts! Nicknames and their birth order from 1 to 5.
Hiking the 3 Dune Challenge really strengthened the bond between the cousins. Abby hung back with Will and they got to spend some extra time together while Ellie, Madeline and Alex ran ahead.
Doing the 3 Dune Challenge took about 90 minutes but if you want to detour and hang out at the beach for awhile, you might want to add in a little extra time. It you aren't up for a challenge but still want to walk the trails there are plenty that are less intense but still show off the beauty of the dunes.