Head to this lake in Birdseye, Indiana, for a stay aboard a fully equipped houseboat and other on-the-water recreation.  

Boat on Patoka Lake in Birdseye, Indiana (photo courtesy of Patoka Lake Marina)

Southern Indiana is a land of caves, winding roads, hills and hollows, but it is also home to the 8,800-surface-acre Patoka Lake. As the second-largest reservoir lake in the state, there’s plenty to do during the summer months. 

Start with a wine tasting at the Patoka Lake Winery, home to delightfully sweet wine slushies. For food options, stop by Hoosier Hills Marina on the other side of the lake for wings, pizza and sandwiches at The Idle Zone restaurant. Get the most out of the lake’s recreational opportunities with fishing, boating and swimming, or simply lounge on the beach where you may even hear the call of an eagle or osprey passing over. 

Patoka Lake Marina in Birdseye offers an array of lodging, including houseboats with multiple bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, full baths, outdoor gas grills and lounge chairs on deck for watching the stars and getting some sun. Houseboats offer the chance to pull up anchor each morning and explore the lake’s expansive coastline with its many coves and inlets. Near the swimming beach, boaters can drop anchor and jump in. 

Along the shore, visit the Patoka Lake Nature Center or follow the rugged, 6.5-mile Main Trail that includes the chance to see Totem Rock, a large rock shelter used by Native Americans and early settlers. A 2-mile loop trail illustrates wildlife-management policies employed at the park, while the short Garden Rock Loop Trail offers a hilly walk that can be completed in less than 45 minutes. 

Those looking to get out on the water with a bit of luxury can climb aboard the 60-foot Patoka Voyager cruise ship, which offers a variety of excursions, including those centered around sunset, wine tasting and wildlife viewing. (marina) 2991 Dillard Rd., Birdseye, Indiana 47513, 812/685-2203, patokalakemarina.com