Lonely Planet Writer

Now you can reserve a campsite at America’s newest national park

Travellers who want to spend a night in the newest national park in the USA can now reserve their campsite ahead of time.

Take a camping trip in Indiana Dunes National Park. Image by Daniel A. Leifheit/Getty Images

Indiana Dunes National Park – which received the federal designation in February – is creating a reservation system for the park’s eleven picnic shelters and 34 campsites. Users will be able to book their trip up to six months in advance, instead of arriving and hoping to get a spot on a first-come, first-served basis. With the new system, half the total sites in the campground will be available for reservation, while half will remain first-come, first-served for any last minute campers. The campsites cost US$25 (€22) per night and reservations can be made on at www.recreation.gov.

The booking system will likely entice travellers – particularly those who live further away – who don’t want to risk heading to the park without a guaranteed spot. It’s also a chance for visitors to check out the first national park in Indiana, which was upgraded from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore earlier this year. Covering 15 miles of the Lake Michigan shoreline, the park boasts beaches, woods, marshes and plenty more for outdoor recreation.

An added benefit of the new park is that it is just two hours on public transit from Chicago. Travellers can take the South Shore Line from Millennium Station in the city and get off at Dune Park Station.

However, if you find yourself on the road and unable to find a spot to camp, two campsite booking website – Tentrr and Hipcamp – have recently expanded their offerings for users seeking campsites on private land.