WORTH THE DRIVE: ‘Lake, land and leisure’ at Buckeye Lake

If you like to spend your summer evenings lakeside, Buckeye Lake in the heart of Ohio is worth the drive.

The 3,100-acre lake just under two hours east of Dayton champions a destination for “lake, land and leisure.” Out on the lake, visitors can fish the waters, kayak, swim or rent a boat to take out for a ride, but Buckeye Lake offers even more summer fun around the water, too.

Credit: Kevin Oakley

Credit: Kevin Oakley

Buckeye Lake leans into being a lakeside destination with its nautical and coastal-themed restaurants and shops. Dips on the lake and Weldon’s Ice Cream both serve up treats for hot summer days. Weldon’s is an iconic ice cream spot at Buckeye Lake having served the area for close to a century.

Horvath’s Harbor, Pappy D’s Island House, Papa Boo’s, and The Canal on Buckeye Lake all offer patio dining right on the lake. Some of these establishments also allow boaters to float right up and dine on the patio. The Boatyard and several restaurants along the lake have a slew of local acts lineup for live music and entertainment through the summer months as well.

Snug Harbor on Buckeye Lake is home to the Fit ‘N Paddle, which involves an on-land fitness class followed by a paddle boarding adventure every Saturday at 10 a.m. through Aug. 5. To join and rent a paddle board for the morning, it is $50 and $35 if guests bring their own paddle boards.

For bar hopping with a side of exercise, the 3XP Tour in the town takes guest to popular bars, wineries, breweries and restaurants around the lake. Even so, the tour isn’t the usual pub crawl. The 3XP — which stands for paddles, pedals and pints — is a kayak and bike tour of local favorites with tour routes offering different experiences.

A four-mile walking trail wraps around the lake for a scenic walk and goes over a dam that connects the North Shore to Lieb’s Island.

Coming up at Buckeye Lake is the town’s 30th annual Wine and Woodies Antique and Classic Boat Show on Saturday, June 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The free event hosted by Buckeye Lake Winery brings out a parade of boats that are guaranteed to be at least 40 years old. Another boat parade takes to the lake in July for an Independence Day celebration, showing off the patriotically decorated boats throughout Buckeye Lake.

For more information on Buckeye Lake, visit https://escapetobuckeyelake.com/.

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