By Joy Neighbors
August is the month you begin to wind down the summer, but don’t round out your vacation time without a visit to Patoka Lake in southern Indiana.
This is the number one recreation lake in the state, spread across three counties: Dubois, Orange and Crawford, which means that Patoka Lake has lots to do, both on and off the water.
This 8,800 acre lake is surrounded by 26,000 acres of Department of Natural Resources land including marshlands, dunes, sandy beaches and a section of the Hoosier National Forest. The scenic views are breathtaking, and the water is clean and clear, perfect for swimming, boating and family fun. Even in the height of summer, the lake isn’t crowded and the water is always accessible.
Outdoor recreationists can spend ample time on the water; every day can be a new adventure when you can rent pontoon boats, party barges, even 50-passenger cruise boats, along with water skis, tubes, canoes, kayaks and fishing boats for crystal clear summer fun.
The lake is stocked with bass, bluegill, croppie, catfish and walleye, and has 10 ramps and two private marinas, Patoka Lake Marina, located on the southside of the lake, and Hoosier Hills Marina, on the western side of the lake in Dubois County.
Landlubbers have plenty of options like horseback riding, hiking and biking, archery and disc golf, or can head to the caves for a spelunking adventure. Learn the history of the region at the Patoka Lake Visitor and Nature Center, or take a drive into the country and check out one of the county museums.
Ready to shop? Then head out to area antique stores, flea markets and craft shops for one-of-a-kind gifts and vacation souvenirs.
Lodging is not a problem on the lake; whether you want to camp primitive style, or pull your RV into one of over 500 sites.
If you’re planning to stay on the west side of the lake, Hoosier Hills Marina is the perfect home base. Tucked into a quiet lake cove, you can rent pontoons and fishing boats, or select a houseboat to rent and enjoy life on the water. There are slips and mooring for 200 private boats here, from pontoons to 80-foot houseboats. A convenience store offers groceries and supplies including bait, tackle and gasoline, along with a new restaurant, Patoka Lake Pizza and Wings, so you never need to leave the marina.
Eating at the lake can be as simple as freshly caught fish cooked over a camp fire to fine dining at an area restaurant, or any thing in between. There are delis, local bar and grills, fast food stops, groceries, even a local convenience store will provide you with something to nosh and nibble on.
Patoka Lake Marina can set your world to rockin’ with a floating cabin, the first available in Indiana. April through October you can take a lake tour on the Patoka Voyager, soak up the scenery and keep a sharp eye out for bald eagles, osprey, herons and loons. Sunday afternoon cruiser tours offer snacks, tea
and lemonade, plus a cash bar. Set sail for a relaxing summer evening onboard a sunset wine or beer cruise featuring libations from Hoosier wineries and breweries. Enjoy food, paired with five to seven wines or beers, along with two full glasses of your favorite beverage and a souvenir glass. Cruises depart from the Patoka Lake Marina on select Friday evenings in July and August. Fall foliage wine cruises will be offered on Saturdays during September and October.
For reservations call
(812) 685-2203 ext. 101.
Wrap up your summer, or plan an amazing autumn get-away with a visit to Patoka Lake where fun in the sun is a way of life.