Patoka Lake’s 8,800 acres sprawl across Dubois, Crawford, and Orange Counties in southern Indiana, about an hour from Bloomfield and light years from the doldrums of summer. Fishing, boating, and snorkeling make Patoka Lake your destination for a wet and wild summer. Caving, archery, and hiking take you out of the water to explore above and below ground. You might even want to venture into Amish country for a whole day in the rich farmlands where the food is exquisite and the tranquility is priceless. While you think about your next vacation dates and search for the best Patoka Lake vacation rentals, look at this list of ten amazing family activities that await you.
1. Hit the Lake in a Pontoon Boat
Launch your vacation with a bang on a pontoon from Patoka Lake Marina. Take your family out on a 10-foot by 30-foot Fun-N-Play pontoon boat, complete with a sliding board. Enhance the fun by adding tubing to the day’s adventures to put smiles and smiles between you and the humdrum of daily living. Pontoon boat rentals include life jackets for a maximum of 15 passengers. The marina also offers larger pontoon models as well as fishing boats. While you’re at it, be sure to ask about pet-friendly boats if you happen to have a pet who loves the lake.
2. Swim and Snorkel
Plop the luggage down, shimmy into the bathing suits, and race the kids from your lake shore cottage to the end of the dock to see who can dive into the refreshing water first. Or, if everyone can wait, settle in before you head over to Lake Patoka’s large beach area, located near the main campground. Enjoy the convenience of a beach house and nearby recreation equipment for the youngsters.
3. Go Caving
Hot day? Move the action underground for an hour or so of unique and fascinating fun at Indiana Caverns in Corydon, less than an hour southeast of the lake. View dreamy waterfalls, ice age animal bones, breathtaking formations, and take a boat ride on the underground river. At Marengo Cave, about 30 minutes east of the lake, in Marengo, explore the cave, enjoy gemstone mining, and join the kids on a crawl through the warm and dry cave simulator.
4. Take a Hike
Get your day started off on the right foot along the exciting hiking trails that vary from two miles to six-and-one-half miles, starting at the Newton-Stewart State Recreation Area Nature/Visitor Center. Prepare your family for a moderate to rugged hike on your own, or ask about guided walks. Remember to carry some drinking water and healthy snacks to keep everyone hydrated and energized for a good experience.
5. Practice Your Archery Skills
If you want to bring your archery equipment along, Patoka Lake is your perfect vacation destination for activities to suit the whole family. Visit the archery range to hone those bow and arrow skills or sign up for lessons for the kids. When you put a bow and arrow in their hands, watch their eyes light up. Look for that expression that means something good is happening. You hit the bull’s eye on this one.
6. Let the Kids Race Go-Carts
Even your littlest driver wants to climb into a go-cart and race around an indoor track, so take them to Family Fun Center. The center features the Falcon Raceway for the four-to-eight-year-old racers and other tracks for older kids and adults. After a few turns on the track, turn them loose in the arcade and the bounce house area. Twenty-five games, including milk jug toss and Skee-Ball, let kids try their luck at winning prizes. You know you’ve always wanted a cool lava lamp. Right?
7. Catch a Fish
Get a line, grab a pole, and take the kids to the fishing hole, which happens to be an 8,000 acre lake. The really big fish hang out in the deep water, but sometimes the really big fun happens right at the edge of the shore. Step over to Patoka Lake Marina floating store to get bait, tackle, and fishing hot spot maps. Experience the exhilaration of seeing your little one come alive at that first nibble. Help reel in a day to remember, no matter what size the fish.
8. Play a Round of Disc Golf
A little action on a disc golf course challenges Frisbee skills, and Patoka Lake’s 18-hole course keeps players hopping. Experience traversing a course, making as few throws as possible while reaching objects placed throughout the area. Expect to meet obstacles, such as trees and water, and follow standard golf rules, without all the various golf clubs in tow. You need some basic knowledge of golf terms, including tee, hole, hole-in-one, putt, and par. It’s for people of all ages, so grab some discs and watch the birdies.
9. Kayak With the Kids
When you share an exciting activity with the kids, the rest of the world fades out of existence for a while. Kayaks provide so much adventure and fun that they can transport your whole family away for an entire morning. The activity requires little equipment other than the kayak, paddles, and life jackets. Pick all of those up at the marina, along with some instructions and safety tips. You supply the sense of balance and good humor.
10. Experience Amish Culture
Vacationing at Patoka Lake puts you near Gasthof Amish Village, a place to soothe your jangled nerves as you experience the quiet life and beautiful rural landscapes. Treat yourself to the unforgettable displays of Amish quilts, antiques, and collectibles in the village shops. Immerse yourself in authentic Amish culture in the restaurant, a rustic building of traditional mortise-tenon joints and pegs, made of Indiana oak and popular wood. The buffet features Amish recipes and fresh bread, cakes, and noodles made daily.