As I mentioned last week, one of my goals for 2019 is to travel monthly – at least a weekend trip. With a two week break from school and work, the beginning of January seemed like the perfect time to start meeting that goal!
UPDATE: Call ahead to check on changes at the Inn and the toboggan due to COVID.
A few days after ringing in the New Year, we went on a quick overnight adventure to Pokagon State Park in Northern Indiana. Pokagon is one of seven State Parks in Indiana that has an Inn on-site, and we were lucky enough to get a room for the night during a very busy week! The location of the Inn is perfect – it’s close to the toboggan run, sits on beautiful Lake James, and is minutes from outlet shopping, wineries, restaurants, and downtown Angola, Indiana.
We arrived at the Potawatomi Inn just after lunch and were pleasantly surprised to find our room was ready. We were thrilled to stay in one of the patio rooms with a gorgeous view of Lake James. In fact, I woke up early the next day to get some beautiful morning shots of the still water. The room was large with a small fridge and microwave oven. The beds were comfy and clean and it was the ideal lodging for our quick trip.
Our room was right across the hallway from the game room which contained a variety of video games, ping pong, air hockey, and a new family favorite, Boccerball. None of us had ever heard of it before but we spent quite a bit of time playing – watch the short video below and you’ll get why it’s so addicting.
The Inn has an on-site restaurant perfect for enjoying a relaxing dinner so you can then spend the rest of the evening running back and forth between the sauna and hot tub – an ideal way to spend a cold and dreary night. There is also a fairly large indoor pool to enjoy. It was a super busy night at the Inn, so the restaurant was only serving a buffet and/or pizza. I’m not much of a buffet person so I split a pizza with my daughter and my husband ordered the buffet. According to him (and he’s pretty particular about eating good food), the soups, fried chicken, and roast beef at the buffet were amazing. He was really impressed. We loved our garden pizza – it was loaded down with toppings and we also were able to enjoy a salad from the salad bar. Everyone left satisfied.
Pokagon is actually one of the original state parks in Indiana – number 5 and opened back in 1925. The area where it’s located is noted for its many lakes. In fact, the region is often called the 101 lakes region. This means it’s a hot destination in the summer months for boating, fishing, swimming and relaxing. Luckily for us, Pokagon State Park also offers a very exciting winter option, a quarter-mile, refrigerated toboggan run.
Even in the winter, hiking is another fun activity – and if there is snow, cross country skiing. As we didn’t have snow this time around, instead of skiing we enjoyed a quick hike down to the beach. I can imagine how fun this area would be in the summer! If this looks too cold to you, no worries, there are tons of little nooks situated around the hotel with fireplaces, comfy couches, tables for puzzles and games and lovely views.
Insider tip: pack your favorite games so you can grab a hot chocolate and play a fun family game before dinner. Here are a few of our favorites!
The next morning, after a delicious buffet breakfast back at the Inn’s dining room (both hot and cold options available), we picked up our toboggan and started enjoying the fun. There are quite a few stairs to climb and the toboggans aren’t light, but the view at the top and the 35 mph ride is well worth the effort. My son wasn’t sure about the experience but when we hit the bottom his first words were “That was awesome!” I’ll call that a win for starting our 2019 travels off on the right foot!
Make sure you dress warm as it can get pretty cold at those speeds! If you need tips on what to pack, check out this post “What to pack for a ski trip” as the same layers will be perfect for this trip too!
The toboggan typically runs from late November through the end of February. Normal hours are Friday 5:30 – 9:30; Saturday 10:30 – 9:00 and Sunday 11 – 5. They are open extended hours over the Christmas/ New Year’s holidays and MLK and President’s Day. Cost is an affordable $13 an hour for a 3 or 4 person sled.
There are many other fun things to do in the area so watch out for next week’s blog post where I share a sampling.
Have you ever stayed at a State Park Inn? Do you have a favorite? We visit the parks all the time to hike but this was our first overnight and it was wonderful to be right there in the midst of everything. I think it might just become a goal of ours to spend a night at each of them!
*Special thanks to the Steuben County Tourism Bureau for arranging and sponsoring our stay and toboggan run at the Inn. We enjoyed the getaway immensely. Please remember that all opinions and comments are 100% my own.*
Pokagon State Park, 450 Lane 100 Lake James, Angola, IN (260) 833-2012
Don’t forget to pin this post in case you get to Indiana in the winter: