ResourcesBeachwalk Vacation Rentals (800) 814-7501www.beachwalkresort.comI am always looking for an undiscovered vacation gem. I want a place for a quick but wonderful escape from Chicago. But I’m picky: I don’t want to drive forever yet I want to feel as if home is nowhere in sight. I can hardly believe I found such a place in Michigan City, Ind.My two boys and I spent two wonderful nights at the Beachwalk Resort Community in the dead of winter and were sorry we couldn’t stay longer.This 160-acre resort development community is the perfect place for an extended family vacation. It offers rental homes that accommodate up to 19 for $900 for two nights during this off-peak season. Or take just the immediate family—a one-bedroom home with a pullout starts at $360 for two nights or $700 for a week during spring break season. Beachwalk is less than 90 minutes away from Chicago, even in heavy traffic. Built on an old sand-mining site, this community is built to respect the nature around it. The gardens are filled with indigenous plants. The privately owned Victorian homes are painted bright mango, blue and yellow, offering a taste of spicy Florida in the Midwest. Since these are homes, not hotel rooms, each comes with a well-equipped kitchen. We stopped at Al’s Grocery so I could do what I love—cook—and the boys could do what they love—eat. Across the street and down a 400-foot boardwalk is the main attraction: Lake Michigan and its beach, just waiting for you to come down for a bracing winter’s walk and a little birdwatching. (OK, we know little more than that the birds are the ones with wings and they come in different colors. But we enjoy our version.) On one twilight walk, we were able to count the deer on the hill. Susy Schultz
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