If in the Chicago area, we highly recommend a visit to the Indiana Dunes. Don’t be fooled by their location in Indiana — the area is only an hour’s drive from Chicago and also reachable by public transportation. Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Park are adjacent to each other and feature some wonderful running options through a variety of terrain, including spectacular dunescapes, marshlands, forests, and many miles of beachfront along Lake Michigan. Note: some of the trails feature a soft sand surface, which is a challenge for running, so we’ve tried to point out the trails that are the most ‘runnable’.
Indiana Dunes National Park. We’ve researched the best running options among the 50 miles of hiking trails, 37 miles of bike trails, and 15 miles of beaches. See our complete Indiana Dunes National Park guide.
Indiana Dunes State Park: Don’t be fooled by this route’s location in Indiana — public transportation makes it accessible from Chicago in less than an hour. The trip is well worth it for stunning views of Lake Michigan. Running along the loose sand of the dunes is tough, but sand conditions are great for running along the beach and there are miles of paths through the forest behind the dunes. Trail 10 (5.5 miles) is the best of both worlds. MAP