By Steve Ellis
With 270 campsites, great hiking trails, swimming, fishing, boat rentals, horseback riding, a restaurant, cafe and a year-round nature center, you will not run out of things to do at Pokagon State Park near Angola, Ind.
This popular state park is only a little more than an hour away. To get there, take I-94 east to I-69 and head south for about a half hour. Pokagon State Park is located just south of the Michigan border on Lake James and Snow Lake.
While most Michigan state parks are very popular in the summer, Pokagon offers many year-round attractions that make this a great weekend getaway – even in the dead of winter.
In the center of Pokagon is the Potawatomi Inn. The Inn includes 126 rooms, eight cabins and four cabin suites. The Inn is divided into two sections – the older original section built in the 1930’s and the newer more modern section. The rooms in the older section tend to be smaller and cozier and less expensive.
Potawatomi Inn has a large pool and hot tub with windows looking out towards Lake James.
The lake side of the Inn has large windows with many comfortable chairs and tables for reading, playing games or simply looking out at the great view of the lake. The walls are decorated with shots of the park from days gone by and old Chris-Craft wooden boat pictures. The inn has a great collection of vintage boat motors, canoes, fishing equipment and other mementos that make it easy to image what it would have been like staying here 40 or 50 years ago.
One highlight of the old section is a large room with a huge stone fireplace and many over-stuffed chairs and big wooden tables – the perfect room to warm up from a long hike or just a great place to curl up with a good book. There are always many tables full of families playing board games and cards.
Out the side window you can catch the tail end of the ¼-mile-long toboggan run. Get up early to beat the crowds, as lines can get long on weekends. The track is open from Thanksgiving Day until the end of February. Speeds reach 40 miles an hour. Toboggan rentals run $20 per hour per toboggan and can hold up to 4 adults.
The old lodge style restaurant is very good and with seating for a couple hundred in vintage wooden chairs and tables.
The new part of the Inn has game rooms, a gift store, free movie nights and a library.
There are over 12 miles of trails in the park.
Angola is a fun little town with antique stores and an old-time movie theatre.
If you want to have a great weekend any time of the year, Pokagon State Park is hard to beat.