It’s kind of hard to call any place in Indiana a “beach town,” but Michigan City probably comes the closest to earning this designation. Located right on Lake Michigan and almost adjacent to the Indiana Dunes National Seashore, the area picks up its share of tourist activity from Chicago and all over the Midwest in the late spring, summer and fall. Otherwise, both Michigan City and LaPorte have a strong industrial heritage, with an important but somewhat declining old-economy manufacturing base.
Michigan City in particular has the well-preserved markings of a typical Midwestern industrial melting-pot city. Downtown is clean and features a number of places of historic interest. There are some minor arts and culture amenities, including museums, theater and waterfront performances. Cost of living is low. Chicago, 60 miles to the west, is relatively close and can be reached by commuter rail services.
Northern Indiana is generally flat, and if anything, it gets flatter as you approach the Lake Michigan shore. The area sits on a glacial coastal plain, naturally treeless close to shore, transitioning to agricultural use with stands of deciduous forest moving south. The continental climate is pleasant in summer, but proximity to the lake causes high winter winds and substantial precipitation, while also moderating extreme cold. Cloudy days are common. First freeze is early October, last is early May.