3 must-ride boating attractions to check out this summer

Summer in Kosciusko County is not complete without a trip to one of the area’s local lakes, and what better way to experience the waterways than from the comfort of a boat?

Whether you’re looking for historical tours, floating party boats, or relaxing moon-lit cruises, there’s no shortage of ways to sail Kosciusko County.

Here are three must-ride boating attractions to check out this summer.


Dixie Sternwheeler

The Dixie has been cruising Webster Lake for a milestone 90 years this season.

History lovers will delight in a narrated cruise aboard the Dixie Sternwheeler, Indiana’s oldest sternwheel paddleboat. Built in 1929, the Dixie has been cruising Webster Lake for a milestone 90 years this season.

Tours last 75 minutes, and guests can enjoy a snack or beverage from the concession stand as they learn about Dixie history, view stunning lake homes, and find out where Depression-era gangsters may have hidden out.

Twilight cruises offer a more serene--and often romantic--setting. Instead of listening to narrated tours, passengers simply relax to music as they watch the sunset.

The North Webster community also celebrates Dixie Day each year to honor the historic paddleboat. The 2019 Dixie Day is Saturday, July 27, with downtown activities and special Dixie cruises.

Throughout the summer, the Dixie is also a popular venue for weddings, parties, group outings, and other types of gatherings. To charter a private event aboard the Dixie, call 888-803-4943. 

Docking Address
401 S. Dixie Dr.
North Webster, IN 46555

Cruise Times
Monday-Friday, 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Saturday: 6 p.m and 7:30 p.m.; special twilight cruises at 9 p.m. (additional Dixie Day cruises at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on July 27, 2019 only).
Sunday: 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:30 and 8 p.m.


SS Lillypad II

The SS Lillypad II is a floating event venue that carries up to 110 passengers.
Docking at The Frog Tavern in Syracuse, the SS Lillypad II is a floating event venue that carries up to 110 passengers in style. Not one, but two bars, plus TVs, a stereo system and, of course, dining make the Lillypad a favorite for private parties or public tours alike.

The Lillypad's menu includes appetizers, meat options, choice of potato, vegetable options, and dessert. Drink options include both domestic and import beers, liquors, and wines. Details about how to book a private event are available online.

Public events on the Lillypad include Woody's Famous Cruises, Mother's Day excursions, fundraisers for local organizations, and more. Tickets for public cruises need to be purchased at least a week in advance.

You can also visit the Lillypad weekly for Lake Wawasee’s non-denominational Boat-in church services held at Oakwood Resort. Every Sunday morning between Labor Day and Memorial Day, the Lilly Pad departs The Frog promptly at 7:45 a.m. Seating is free, but first-come, first-serve.

Docking Address
1116 S. Harkless Dr., Syracuse

Cruise Times
Public cruises: Dates and times vary. Visit www.sslillypad.com for a complete schedule of 2019 public cruises and special events.
Boat-in service: Departs at 7:45 a.m. Sundays Memorial Day through Labor Day


Oakwood Resort Boat Tours

The Oakwood Resort boat was originally custom-built as a U.S. Parks Department canal boat.

Since 2013, Oakwood Resort has offered its own, unique boat tours of Lake Wawasee on a custom-built U.S. Parks Department canal boat that was originally used in Maine. You do not need to be an Oakwood guest to enjoy this 40-minute narrated cruise around Indiana’s largest natural lake. Highlights include scenic bays and points, plus several locations for celebrity sightings. Passengers may recognize names like Eli Lilly and Al Capone.

Tours depart promptly at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, weather permitting. Space is limited to 44 passengers, so reservations, though not required, are strongly recommended. Contact the Oakwood front desk at 574-457-7100 to confirm.
Boat tours run May through September and last 30 to 40 minutes. Tours are $10 per person, but are free to Oakwood guests Tuesday through Thursday. 

Docking Address
702 E. Lakeview Road, Syracuse

Cruise Times
7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
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Read more articles by Amanda Demster.

Originally from Bremen, Ind., Amanda Demster graduated from Bethel College in 2008 with a B.A. in English. She has ten years of combined experience writing and editing for small-town publications and currently works in special events.