Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in La Porte County, IN

  • Published 2022/12/25

Nature and history lovers will find solace and excitement in La Porte County in Indiana.

The county has a beautiful trail system that passes around parks and lakes and is rich in natural resources.

It also has historical sites that are worth visiting and learning about.

The county’s name is derived from the French term “The Door,” based on the history of the place.

When the French settlers came to the area in the 1670s, they passed through the Indian trail in the forest next to a prairie.

This became a famed passageway among traders and explorers, which they called “La Porte,” leading to its present name.

Today, it is home to 112,390 people as of the July 2021 census.

Visit La Porte County and enjoy endless attractions that satisfy your thirst for knowledge and adventure!

Before heading out, don’t forget to read this list of the best things to do in La Porte County, Indiana.

Meet Animals at the Washington Park Zoo

Lemur at Washington Park Zoo

Lewis Photo Studio /

If you’re an animal lover, you will enjoy spending a day at the Washington Park Zoo.

Located in Michigan, the zoo has been operating since 1928.

The 15-acre facility houses over 90 species of animals native to Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, and North America.

You’ll enjoy seeing and learning about the animals while strolling through the hillside terrains and the pathways covered with trees.

Monkey at Washington Park Zoo

Lewis Photo Studio /

At the Washington Park Zoo, you’ll feel truly immersed in nature.

The zoo serves as a sanctuary for wildlife needing a home, with most of the animals coming from rescue missions or confiscations.

You can’t pass up on the Washington Park Zoo when you visit La Porte County.

Walk Around the Uptown Arts District

La Porte County isn’t just rich in history and arts.

If you are an art enthusiast, you should visit the Uptown Arts District in Michigan City.

It is an area of unique businesses and attractions stretching from Wabash Street to Pine Street and Trail Creek to 11th Street.

Here you’ll find the most exciting establishments with a touch of local artistry.

Among the businesses and structures you should see here are Beach Bum Jewels, Static Age, Sculptfusion, SFC Gallery, and Good News Vintage, among many others.

After walking around, drop by some restaurants to taste local food.

Lakeshore Coffee and Specialties, Trattoria Tonelli, and The Boathouse Grill are just some places where you can get food.

Appreciate the creativity of locals when you visit the Uptown Arts District.

Pick Up Fresh Produce at Garwood Orchard and Farm Market

You can’t leave La Porte County without trying its high-quality and fresh produce.

Drop by Garwood Orchard and Farm Market in La Porte to taste Indiana’s fruits and vegetables.

The business’s family has been growing to produce, specifically apples, on the farm’s land for over 180 years.

Here you’ll find different varieties of apples, including Zestar, EarliGold, Blondee, McIntosh, Early Fuji, and Honeycrisp, among others.

Other produce like strawberries, pumpkins, berries, tomatoes, eggplants, and many more are available depending on the season!

Stock up on fresh produce at Garwood Orchard and Farm Market.

Spend A Day with Nature at Friendship Botanic Gardens

Gazebo at Friendship Botanic Gardens

C. S. Reed /

Friendship Botanic Gardens is a well-known nature sanctuary in Indiana for a good reason.

It offers an outdoor space for people to get together and spend time with nature.

Located in Michigan City, the place is home to diverse wildlife.

It also features several trails and pathways where you can choose a more challenging woodland hike or a more leisurely walk in the landscaped gardens.

Lawn at Friendship Botanic Gardens

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are also dog-friendly trails available, so feel free to bring along your furry friends as long as you keep them on a leash.

The Friendship Botanic Gardens also has kid-friendly spaces, including a state-of-the-art playground!

Depending on the season, you may also go cross-country skiing, bird watching, and creek fishing.

Keep an eye out if you want to see Northwest Indiana’s most stunning bird species at the Friendship Botanic Gardens.

Pathway at Friendship Botanic Gardens

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn About Local History at La Porte County Historical Society Museum

History buffs visiting the area can’t miss out on the La Porte County Historical Society Museum.

It is located in the city of La Porte, the county seat.

The museum features several exhibits where you’ll learn stories and personalities from the county’s past and know all about their significance in the present time.

You’ll find the Belle Gunness Exhibit, the Kesling Auto Collection, the W.A. Jones Collection, and the period rooms.

The museum is run by the La Porte County Historical Society, a group that preserves, collects, and promotes the county’s rich history.

Make sure to add the La Porte County Historical Society Museum to your list of places to visit in La Porte County!

Have Fun with Friends at Sherwood Paintball

If you want to do an exciting activity with friends, go to Sherwood Paintball!

It is located in the city of La Porte.

Known as one of Indiana’s oldest and most popular paintball fields, Sherwood Paintball has been in operation for over 32 years.

The place offers all the gear you need to play paintball, so you won’t have to worry about anything other than bringing your A-game.

Whether a newbie or an expert in paintball, you’ll find something to enjoy while playing.

Feel free to book a date to secure a slot at Sherwood Paintball.

Spend a Day Under the Sun at Washington Park and Beach

Sunrise at Washington Park and Beach

Andy Konieczny /

Enjoy lounging on the shores of Lake Michigan when you visit Washington Park and Beach.

Located in Michigan City, the park and beach are perfect for people who want to beat the summer heat.

The beach has clear waters and a gorgeous stretch of sand where you can swim and play with family and friends.

People relaxing at Washington Park and Beach

Lewis Photo Studio /

You may also bring a blanket and picnic by the beach!

Washington Park and Beach is truly the ideal venue for gathering with loved ones and spending quality time together.

People strolling on the pier at Washington Park and Beach

Lewis Photo Studio /

Go Vintage Shopping at Blue Moon Vintage Market

If you enjoy hunting for treasures of vintage items, don’t pass on Blue Moon Vintage Market.

The 5,500-square-foot market is situated in the town of Westville in New Durham Township.

You may find here all kinds of vintage items, including industrial, salvaged, and architectural European home decor.

This spot is worth visiting if you also want to explore a quaint town.

It was even named the “Best Antique Store in Southwest Michigan” by the Herald Palladium in its 2019 and 2022 Reader’s Choice Awards.

The place also hosts events and workshops, so feel free to inquire if anything is happening at Blue Moon Vintage Market on the date of your visit.

Ride a Bike at Motoland

Motoland is an open riding track exclusively for bikes located in Kingsbury in Washington Township.

If you know how to ride a bike and are a daredevil, ride your way through one or all of Motoland’s five off-road tracks.

The place also offers training sessions, so inquire about their schedule if interested.

If you’re dedicated to riding, you may also camp all night at Motoland’s grounds.

At night, you may hang out and meet a community of riders throughout the course.

Here you won’t just enjoy riding but also find a space where like-minded people can gather.

Add off-road riding to your list of things to do when you visit La Porte County!

Explore the Old Lighthouse Museum

Facade of Old Lighthouse Museum

Eddie J. Rodriquez /

With a long history in Michigan City, the Old Lighthouse Museum will teach you about the critical stories of the past.

It is a popular attraction in the city that you can’t miss out on.

For sure, you won’t miss the historic structure when you reach the end of the city’s harbor.

View of Old Lighthouse Museum

Nejdet Duzen /

The structure was built in 1837 to serve as a beacon of light that would guide the sailors of the Great Lakes.

In 1965, it was restored through the efforts of the Michigan City Historical Society.

Years later, it was opened as the Old Lighthouse Museum.

The lighthouse was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 for its historic architecture and powerful stories in lake transportation.

Backyard of Old Lighthouse Museum

Henryk Sadura /

Go for an Extreme Adventure with Skydive Windy City Chicago

If you’ve always wanted to try skydiving but have never gotten the chance, this is your sign to go for it finally.

Skydive Windy City Chicago in Michigan City offers different skydiving opportunities.

If you’re a beginner, you may choose tandem skydiving, the safest and most popular type.

The business also offers a solo training program for those who wish to learn how to skydive alone and help you earn your skydiving license from the United States Parachute Association.

Licensed skydivers are also welcome to join Skydive Windy City Chicago’s jumpship that can accommodate up to 14 passengers.

To document your experience, don’t forget to avail their video and photo services!

Visit the Williams Orchard

Williams Orchard is a family-owned orchard in the unincorporated community of Rolling Prairie in Kankakee Township.

The 135-acre estate is an apple orchard and a venue for special occasions.

You may get fresh fruits here during its delegated U-pick season and roam around the beautiful orchard.

If you’re looking to celebrate something special and want a countryside venue, Williams Orchard is the ideal place.

You can hold your event in the restored barn or the orchard.

Be sure to keep Williams Orchard in mind when you plan an event!

Discover Local Railroad History at the Hesston Steam Museum

Train at Hesston Steam Museum

Susan B Sheldon /

Learn about an exciting piece of local history when you visit the Hesston Steam Museum.

It is located in the unincorporated community of Hesston in Galena Township.

The museum will teach you the significance of steam machinery in the United States’ history and its evolution.

Display at Hesston Steam Museum

Susan B Sheldon /

It features steam-powered equipment and railroad locomotives.

You may even watch how these steam engines function!

Even kids will enjoy this fun learning experience at the Hesston Steam Museum.

Visitors enjoying the train ride at Hesston Steam Museum

Susan B Sheldon /

Tour the Farm of Sandy Acres Clydesdales

Visit Sandy Acres Clydesdales in La Porte City and meet a herd of horses.

The farm, established in 2002, specializes in breeding majestic Clydesdale horses.

You may tour the farm and learn about horses and how they are fostered.

A VIP tour is available if you want to get up close and personal with the gentle giants!

Sandy Acres Clydesdales also hosts events occasionally, so check in advance if you want to join the fun.

Shop for Herbal Products at Lakeside Lavender and Herbs

Visit the Lakeside Lavender and Herbs to see herb and lavender farming.

This small and niche farm in La Porte City specializes in cultivating lavender.

The beautiful plants on the farm are a relaxing sight for sore eyes.

Here they also produce handcrafted products made from the herbs that grew on their farm, without harmful chemicals.

If you want to learn more about herbs, feel free to visit and consult the owners.

Get natural products straight from the farm when you visit Lakeside Lavender and Herbs.

Final Thoughts

La Porte County in Indiana boasts a variety of attractions brought by its rich heritage and culture.

Whether looking for a relaxing stay or a daring experience, you will find everything you want in this county.

Many of its offerings are sure to satisfy your thirst for adventure.

When planning your trip, save this list of the best things to do in La Porte County, Indiana.

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