Tuesday, August 7, 2012

#270: A South Bend RV Trip

The RV industry is very important to the economy of northern Indiana.  Ever wonder what the region looks like from the perspective of "recreational vehicle"?  Check out today's guest post featuring  someone who knows a thing or two about RVs, Joe Laing, Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals.  He also contributes to Monty's Musings RV Travel Blog.

Take an RV trip to South Bend, Indiana for a vacation filled with outdoor fun. You will discover so many activities for the whole family to make it a getaway worth remembering. This will be an appealing trip, especially in an RV. You will have your "home" right along with you so in between adventures you can relax surrounded by the familiar and comfortable things you love.

If coming from Chicago, enter Indiana on Interstate 80 heading east. Follow I-80 and after passing Gary, Indiana, you can take a short side-trip on the Dunes Highway. This will take you to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. An amazing and enchanting time awaits you here, with a sandy beach, miles and miles of trails to hike and wetlands and forests to explore. The visitor center is open from 8 am to 6 pm in the summer and from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm in winter months.  Be sure to visit the West Beach with only a fee of $6 per car per day.

Further on, you will find a great golf course so you can perfect your game. At Michigan City Golf Course you'll discover a lovely 18-hole course in a beautiful wooded setting. Any level of skill is welcome. Browse the pro shop for a full choice of equipment. If you don't play golf, now is surely the time to take it up as a thrilling hobby.

Cut back over to Interstate 80 and on your route to South Bend, stop at Hudson Lake. Get out on the lake on your personal watercraft, and go fishing. You'll catch some largemouth bass or bluegill or both. You can also make this spot your home base for your trip to South Bend. Find RV camping at Lakeside RV Resort. Here you will find a boat launch, horseshoe pits, a swimming pool and much more. You're right on the lake with great views.

Next stop is South Bend, Indiana, your actual destination on this RV vacation. Tour the downtown area by enjoying a horse drawn carriage ride. Catch a ride any Friday evening from 7 to 10 pm. Another popular stop is the East Race Waterway, an artificial whitewater course. Here on the east side of the St. Joseph River, you can ride the rapids. If you are visiting South Bend anytime between 9 June and 12 August, don't miss this special adventure. It is open on weekends only from 12 to 5 pm on Saturdays and 1 to 5 pm on Sundays.

Throughout South Bend you'll find many parks where you can get out into the sunshine. Go to Wheelock Park or Merrifield Park in town. This latter one has a number of sports fields and an Olympic size swimming pool with water slide. If kids are with you (or even if there aren't children on this trip), you will love this park.

Thirty minutes to the west, you will find Bendix Woods County Park. Here is a popular place to go to see wildflowers in bloom during the springtime. Hike the trails and stretch your legs. Enjoy the historic sites available to visit too, such as the original clubhouse and the famous Studebaker pine tree sign. If there in March, stop by the Sugar Camp Days Festival (see 365-SB post #150). Hours vary for this park so call when planning your trip. The number is 574-654-3155.

Other places of interest are the Chamberlain Lake Nature Preserve in South Bend and Potato Creek State Park about twenty-minute drive to the southwest. But you can't neglect the many festivals that are held in and around South Bend all year round. Events in and around South Bend can fill in the times when you need a little change from all that physical activity. In June there are two favorites, Notre Dame's Cleveland Shakespeare Festival and the South Bend Blues & Ribs Festival (see 365-SB post #202).

If coming to South Bend in August, you simply must include the South Bend Reggae Festival on your itinerary. Held annually at the Saint Joe County Fairgrounds, this fest is the best for live entertainment and great food. Gates usually open around 2 pm, and kids under 12 are free.

A South Bend, Indiana RV trip will prove to be quite an entertaining excursion, with all the outdoor recreation you can imagine as well as some history and festivals thrown in. The time will be memorable and you are sure to have experiences that you will share with future generations.


  1. What is Wheelock Park? Not in South Bend. Merrifield Park is in Mishawaka. The Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival is in August not June, also. I think you should have checked this for accuracy before posting. He is correct about the Reggae Fest, though. Great music and food.

  2. Actually Wheelock Park exists in South Bend. 2400 Darden Road is the address and while I can find it on Google Maps I have absolutely no idea how to get there from the road.

    Says it has a flush restroom though. :-)

  3. And question solved. The Izaak Walton League apparently has Wheelock tied up with a lease.

    Seems that land donated by the founders of SB Lathe to the city is now private property. Why does that just feel wrong?