Every year my nieces make the trek from Seattle, Wash., to visit me in Porter County.
We have a blast hiking and relaxing along the beaches of the Indiana Dunes, stopping for root beer and chili dogs at The Port Drive-In in Chesterton and watching movies under the stars at the 49er Drive-in Theatre in Valparaiso.
It’s fun for me to take off my tourism director hat and play the resident tour guide to my nieces as well as enjoy our destination as visitors do.
We residents sometimes take our wonderful communities for granted. Because we are a major recreational fun spot, 6 million visitors explore our destination annually. They travel from Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit and even farther to enjoy the dunes, our other attractions, our one-of-a-kind restaurants and our unique lodging.
These annual visitors pump more than $300 million into Porter County’s economy and more than $2 billion into the economies of the seven counties in the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission.
I have worked at Indiana Dunes Tourism for 22 years, and I have seen our communities grow and improve, which is why visitors continue to discover us.
My nieces will be excited because this year I plan to take them to the new Seven Peaks Waterpark Duneland, Bass Pro Shops, Taltree Arboretum Railway Garden and Marti's Place. Summer wouldn't be complete without stops at Valpo Velvet and Piggies and Cream.
I’ll spend a little more money when my nieces are in town, but the memories created will be worth it. Plus, I am keeping my dollars local. As tourism director, I think it’s cool that every dollar our agency spends on promoting tourism returns as much as $15 in revenue.
I encourage you to become a visitor in your own backyard, so you can become a tour guide for your visiting friends and relatives. Your guests, as well as you, will be surprised to discover everything Indiana Dunes Country (Porter County) has to offer.
Contact our office to get your free copy of our Activities Guide, Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail Guide, Culinary Tour Guide, Fishing Guide, Kid's Guide, Birding Guide, Biking Guide, Northern Indiana's Art and Earth Trail Guide, and Foodie Trail Guide.
Many of our residents comment how these guides help them discover so many new things for the first time. The guides will help you turn Indiana Dunes Country and Northern Indiana into a treasure hunt of fun things to do.
You can get these free guides by visiting www.indianadunes.com, by calling our office at (800) 283-8687 or by stopping in the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center at 1215 N. Ind. 49 in Porter. For information about Northern Indiana, visit www.northernindianagetaways.com
I have chosen to live in Porter County, and I am proud to call it my home. I hope you are too, and will help showcase it to your family and friends.