Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Photo Essay: Indiana Beach

Who wouldn't fall in love with sights like these quirky saucers
pouring into each other?

Amusement parks are closing as the season ends, and so I'm thinking, wistfully, of our trip to Indiana Beach Amusement Park in late August. I'm not one for amusement parks in general. I don't like the crowds, nor the fakey entertainment, nor the ridiculous prices. I only manage our annual trip to Six Flags Great America because a dear friend comes along, and we spend hours chatting on a bench while our boys ride together.
How about having the boardwalk to ourselves?

But last year we went to Indiana Beach for the first time, courtesy of my younger son who'd put that on his wish list as a reward for finishing an extra workbook, and I fell in love with its old-fashioned boardwalk charm. So we went again this year. Both times we went off season, i.e. just before the park was going to close, and most schools were back in session (luckily, not ours). A two hour drive from Chicago, and hidden in the middle of the cornfields of Northwest Indiana, Indiana Beach is an unassuming place. With its cluster of vacation cottages, it has retained a 1950s charm of summers spent lakeside.

We went on a Walgreens Wednesday, which meant two for the price of one. Refreshments at Indiana Beach cost about a third of what they do at Six Flags. Rides aren't as outlandish but if you go off season, you never wait in line and can ride over and over again, which my kids did, of course.

 I can still hear those carts rattle.

These cars make me wish my kids were smaller and would
still think these are cool to ride.

View from the ferris wheel.

Spinning over the waters of Lake Shafer in seats with creaking safety
locks and sunbaked umbrella roofs.

The Skyride ambles high above the boardwalk.

My favorite ride last year has sadly been moved off the water.

How's that for droopy? Spinning over asphalt just ain't the same.

Flying through the air is the ultimate summer feeling for me -
which is why I used this photo for my post on having a summer.

More than anything, though, I am in love with the shapes and
forms of Indiana Beach, like this dome of the gift shop.


  1. The swings were always one of my favorite rides. I haven't been on them in years. Thanks for the nice trip down memory lane.

  2. Wish I could go! Looks fantastic!

  3. I love old amusement parks. There's one in Green Bay, WI that's really fun and inexpensive. I'll have to check out this park sometime.

  4. Oh how delightful!!!!! This is what family memomries are made of...and I love the fact you found all the ways to get the best deals and prices...off peak season....two for the price of one...etc...my husband would be taking his hat off to you!

  5. I live in Indiana and have never been to Indiana Beach, can you believe it? It looks like a charming place and perfect for an "old world" girl like me. Maybe next year...

    Thanks for the fun post, the lovely pictures and making me see what's practically at my back door.

  6. Kelly - get back on those swings!

    Natalie - it's definitely fun.

    Deb - yes, check it out!

    Anjuli - thanks for reaffirming for me that family memories are indeed made of outings like this.

    Kate - if you're an "old world" girl, you will love Indiana Beach! But get there fast, they are already dismantling some of the old rides in favor of newer stuff like climbing courses that just aren't as charming.

  7. I'd love to ride on a roller coaster. I really like adventures like this one. I'll visit this place when I go there.

  8. Indiana Beach is one of the places in Indiana that needs to be checked up on. It is a great place and these amusement parks will definitely give you a goose bumps. I loved the roller coasters too and I make sure to ride on it when I get back to this place.

  9. holiday park - Definitely go and visit Indiana Beach this summer. I have a feeling that some of the vintage charm is slowly falling victim to "modernizations."

    broome accomodation - My kids and I were just talking about how we want to go there again this summer. Glad to hear you like it, too!

  10. With these amazing reviews and comments, I think I'm going to visit Indian Beach too. I will make sure to include this on my list. By the way, how about the fees?