Northern Indiana is the northern third of Indiana generally east of Lake Michigan.
Northern Indiana is the region of Indiana including 26 counties bordering parts of Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. The area is generally sub-classified into other regions. The northwest is economically and culturally intertwined with Chicago, and is considered part of the Chicago metropolitan area. The north central area is focused around South Bend, Indiana with economic connections to southwest Michigan, and is referred to as Michiana. The northeast is centered around Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The landscape is probably the flattest in the state, and is characterized physically by fairly level terrain ranging from 600 to 1,000 feet above sea level with pockets of larger, rolling hills primarily in LaPorte, Stueben, Porter, Noble County, and some certain portions of St. Joseph County. The Eastern Continental Divide goes through Northern Indiana following the top of the Valparaiso Moraine part of the way. Besides urban areas (Northwest Indiana is larger than all of Marion County) and occasional state parks and wildlife areas, much of northern Indiana is farmland.
The northwest corner of the state is part of the Chicago metropolitan area and has nearly one million residents. The region is marked with swell and swale topography as it retreats South from Lake Michigan. The ecology changes dramatically between swells, or on opposite sides of the same swell. Plants and animals adapted to marshes are generally found in the swales, while forests or even prickly pear cactus are found in the dryer swells. This area is also home to the large sand dunes at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore which features large sand dunes (i.e. Mount Baldy ~ 126 feet) with a beach view of the Chicago skyline near Lake Michigan, and several of the wetland/marsh features described earlier toward its southern boundaries. Historic towns such as a Beverly Shores occasionally dot the lakeshore, along with the remains of the once-giant steel industry near Gary.
Northern Indiana is home to many natural lakes, the vast majority of which are the remains of the glaciers that covered Indiana thousands of years ago. North central Indiana is home to several kettle-hole lakes, many of which are thousands of years old. County Parks, state parks, and Fish & Wildlife Areas in this region contain such habitats, as well as natural meadows, old-growth pine forests, wetlands, and several opportunities to view migratory birds from around the hemisphere.
Sometimes referred to as Indiana lake country, northeastern Indiana has the largest concentration of natural lakes in the state, including Lake James in Pokagon State Park, Lake Maxinkuckee, Lake Wawasee and Lake Tippecanoe. Lake Wawasee is the largest natural lake in Indiana, while Lake Tippecanoe is the deepest, reaching depths of over 120 feet (37 m). Both lakes are located in Kosciusko County. Chain O' Lakes State Park, located in Noble County, contains 11 lakes, 8 of which are connected by natural channels.
Northern Indiana is known in television media for having the flattest accent amongst its citizens of almost anywhere in the country. Newscasters from various US cities, in some cases, been instructed to watch news broadcasts from South Bend or Chicago in order to try and rid them of their local dialect. As such, it is typically not difficult to understand anyone's speech from Northern Indiana who is a native to the area, though once south of US 30, one may notice a considerable difference as the North Midland accent begins to develop and continues to southern portions of the state.
Many local words are derived from Chicago slang, such as a cigarette being called a "square."
The main roads are east-wests I-90/80, which runs from Illinois to Ohio through South Bend and Elkhart, and I-69, which runs up from Indianapolis to Michigan through Fort Wayne. Both are very convenient traveling roads throughout the region, with high 70mph speed limits, and relatively light traffic.
Northern Indiana is very rural, and is worth exploring, if only to see the natural beauty of the state.
Outdoors and Landmarks
South Bend Chocolate Company There are many different locations including South Bend and St. Joseph. It serves everything from ice cream to chocolate covered spoons!