The Ultimate Packing Guide for Miller Beach

Prepare for a magical beachy escape just minutes from downtown Chicago when you book a vacation rental in Miller Beach, Indiana! This charming town nestled on the shore of Lake Michigan has long been a favorite of Chicagoans looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy peace, quiet, and beautiful scenery. 

This small community is home to one of America’s newest national parks, Indiana Dunes National Park. This small community is a fantastic destination for a vacation with your family or partner or as a restorative solo getaway. 

Peruse our extensive packing list to prepare for your upcoming unforgettable stay in a beautiful Miller Beach vacation home.

About Miller Beach

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

A neighborhood of Gary, Indiana, and located just 40 minutes south of Chicago, Miller Beach is a wonderful and convenient location for a relaxing getaway. Situated on the southernmost shore of Lake Michigan, this small community provides wonderful activities such as hiking, swimming, and dining.

Miller Beach is considered the Gateway to the Indiana Dunes as it is largely surrounded by the Indiana Dunes National Park. Designated as the nation’s 61st national park in 2019, it encompasses an area of about 15,349 acres with many hiking trails and is an incredibly unique and beautiful ecosystem. If you want to explore this gorgeous area, Miller Beach is the perfect base.

Miller Beach is a beloved beachfront vacation spot for travelers from Chicago due to its proximity and convenience. The South Shore Line takes you right into town, and you can even see the Chicago skyline from the beach! 

The community offers many sights and activities for children and adults alike. Although you may think of it as a summer vacation destination, Miller Beach is also a fantastic spot for a mid-winter escape from the city. Each season brings something special to this charming town. 

What to Pack on a Trip to Miller Beach 

Depending on the season, your packing list for an unforgettable vacation in beautiful Miller Beach will differ greatly. With yearly temperature fluctuations from average lows of 21 degrees Fahrenheit in January and highs of 83 degrees Fahrenheit in July, the things you will need vary wildly. 

Consider some of the activities you would like to do during your Miller Beach vacation so you can properly pack everything you may need. If you intend to do a lot of hiking, you will likely have a different packing list than someone who plans to relax at the beach. 

Of course, certain items are always a good idea to pack for any vacation, regardless of the weather or your intended activities. In order to help you pack everything you may need, we have compiled three lists: year-round necessities, warm-weather necessities, and cold-weather necessities. 

Year-Round Packing List

Clothing Basics

Photo Credit: Kira Budaieva

Of course you know to pack your normal clothing basics, but adding them to your packing list never hurts so you don’t forget anything! Typically it is recommended to bring an outfit per day, plus a few extras, but since many of the Miller Beach Vacation Rentals are equipped with a washing machine, you can get away with packing fewer items. 

Do consider your intended activities during your time in Miller Beach; if you intend to go on a long run or hike each morning, you might need some extra changes of clothes.  

Electronics and Chargers

Photo Credit: Jaromond

You’ve got to make sure your phone stays charged so you can share pictures of your exciting vacation! It is easy to forget to pack the items you use every day, especially since you will likely be using them until the day of your departure, so create a “morning of departure” packing list and put it somewhere you will see it. That way, you won’t forget to grab your chargers and other electronics. 


Photo Credit: Anastasiia Chystokoliana

Miller Beach has endless opportunities for entertainment, but you might wish to bring some of your own as well. If you are hoping to read on the beach or in your cozy rental home, don’t forget to pack the next book on your “To Be Read” list! 


Photo Credit: KucherAV

Although Miller Beach has fantastic restaurants, bars, and cafes, enjoying a drink or meal from the comfort of your rental home is always nice. It is a good idea to stop for groceries on the way into town so you can settle in and relax once you arrive. Items like coffee, milk, beer, and snacks are great to have on hand. 

No need to get your groceries in Chicago; there are multiple grocery stores and supermarkets in Miller Beach. Your options include Meijer, A&M Supermarket, Miller Mini-Mart, and Lake Street Supermarket. 

Warm-Weather Packing List

Summer Clothing

Photo Credit: New Africa

Summer travel to Miller Beach means you will likely spend a good deal of time outdoors as you hike through the gorgeous Indiana Dunes National Park or speed across the waves of Lake Michigan on a boat or jet ski. The weather tends to be hot and sunny in the summer months, so ensure you bring plenty of quick-dry, moisture-wicking clothes. A hat is a great addition to keeping the sun off your face. 

Consider light, flowy clothing that keeps you cool for days spent in town. Many of the establishments in Miller Beach are fairly casual, but it’s a good idea to bring one nicer outfit if you decide to go out for a special meal. 

Sun Accessories

Photo Credit: Capricorn Studio

The quickest way to ruin a summer vacation is to get sunburned! Ensure you pack plenty of sunscreen, sun hats, coverups, and sunglasses. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied regularly, especially if you’re in the water, so make sure you bring it with you when you go to the beach. 

Swim Clothes

Photo Credit: svitlini

Don’t forget the swimsuits! Whether you are just looking to get a little sun on the beach or you’re planning to try out every water sport available, a swimsuit is a must for warm-weather travel to Miller Beach. It’s all in the name; the beach is one of the best spots in town!

It is a good idea to bring cover-ups for long days in the sun to avoid burning. Sun shirts, hats, and long flowy pants are great if you intend to spend a lot of time on the water. 

Beach and Water Accessories

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Beach toys are a must for kids and adults alike! Don’t forget your frisbees, footballs, volleyballs, kites, and sand castle molds. Bring inflatable floaties to relax in the water, and life jackets are always a good idea. 

If you are interested in paddling out onto the lake, you can bring your own canoe, kayak, or SUP board or rent one from a local outfitter. This is a great way to explore the beauty of Lake Michigan!

Cold-Weather Packing List

A Parka and Layers

Beach and Water Accessories

If you plan to leave the warmth of your Miller Beach rental, it is important to bring the proper clothes for cold weather. 

Even short walks in sub-freezing require base layers, midweight layers, and a heavy coat or parka. Hats, gloves, and a scarf are also needed to keep you toasty warm. If you dress appropriately for the weather, you can enjoy the stunning scenery that winter in Miller Beach provides. 

Winter Boots

Photo Credit: Miro Vrlik Photography

Same as above, insulated winter boots are a must to keep you warm and safe on winter walks. Choose boots that have good tread to avoid slipping on ice. Ensure you have boots that leave you room to wear thick wool or synthetic winter socks, and waterproof or water-resistant boots will keep moisture from snow or rain out. If you intend to see the famous shelf ice at Indiana Dunes, proper winter boots are a requirement!

Safety Items 

Photo Credit: J.A. Dunbar

Winter isn’t always fun and games when you’re right next to a mighty Great Lake! Packing some safety gear for your vacation is important with the possibility of snow, ice, and blizzards. Cars should have snow tires and/or snow chains, and ensure you have a scraper to remove ice and snow from the windshield. 


Photo Credit: Tada Images

While your well-equipped rental has TVs so you can stream all the movies and shows you would like during your stay, you might enjoy a family game night while you watch the snow falling outside! Pack classic games like Scrabble, Sorry!, Monopoly, or Trivial Pursuit, and make wonderful memories with your family. 

Outdoor Gear and Toys

Photo Credit: ClimbWhenReady

There are many options for winter sports in Miller Beach. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and sledding are all popular wintertime activities, so either bring your own gear or contact a local outfitter to rent what you need. 

Pack for the Best Getaway Ever in Miller Beach 

Don’t forget a thing when packing for your Miller Beach vacation home! Use our packing list as a guideline to assemble all the items you need for the perfect getaway. 

Whether you intend to travel in warmer seasons to bask in the sun or you are ready to strap on your skis and enjoy the winter wonderland, Miller Beach is the perfect destination for your next escape!

Featured Image Credit: HAKINMHAN

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