Indiana Dunes Tourism is planning a special kickoff to the beach season this holiday weekend.
The Visitor Center, located at at 1215 N. State Road 49 in Porter (State Road 49 and U.S. 20), will have Valpo Velvet ice cream parlor selling ice cream from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27.
Indiana Dunes Tourism is partnering with Valpo Velvet because both Valpo Velvet and the Indiana Dunes recently made Top 10 lists on the state tourism website -- www.visitindiana.com. Valpo Velvet was chosen as one of the “Top 10 Indiana Places for Ice Cream,” and the dunes was picked as one of “Indiana’s Top 10 Summer Gotta-Dos.”
In addition to having ice cream available, Visitor Center staff will be on hand to pass out the new Activities Guides, which are full of ideas for summer fun throughout Porter County.
The staff will also be able to provide people with information about which beach parking lots are full.
Indiana Dunes Tourism is alerting the public that Memorial Day weekend is historically one of the busiest weekends at the Indiana Dunes.
People are advised that if the weather is warm and sunny on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday of Memorial Day weekend, traffic backups are likely on Ind. 49, entering Indiana Dunes State Park.
The peak hours for entering Dunes State Park are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. People are advised to arrive earlier in the morning, or wait until about 3 p.m., which is the time when traffic usually clears up and many of the early arriving guests leave and free up parking spaces. In addition, guests can help speed up the entry process by paying with cash rather than a credit card.
Indiana Dunes Tourism Executive Director Lorelei Weimer said that West Beach, located on Lake/Porter County Line Road in Portage, like Dunes State Park, has extensive parking and is a good option for holiday weekends. Many of the beach access points with smaller parking lots fill up much earlier each day than West Beach or Dunes State Park.
Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day weekends are generally the busiest weekends if the weather is good.