What this secluded body of water lacks in sophisticated shopping and dining, it makes up for with pristine wilderness. Surrounded by forests and cornfields, Bass Lake is a 15-minute drive from the nearest small town. Unassuming as Knox is, you’ll find doughnuts at Fingerhut Bakery (5060 E. County Rd. 210, 574-772-7750) to get the weekend started right. Then head over to Bass Lake Beach and Campground (5837 S. State Rd. 10, 219-405-5322), where you can pick up a couple of bikes from Fit-n-Fun Rentals (574-806-5437). An 8-mile ride takes you around the lake, or pack a lunch and embark on the 18-mile Erie Trail winding through the countryside all the way to North Judson.
On the water, it’s not uncommon to see bald eagles that hunt and nest in the area. Bass Lake Marina (5095 E. County Rd. 210, 574-772-5084) can set you up with a boat for bird watching. And for those hoping to hook the lake’s namesake fish, Bass Lake Bait and Tackle (5067 E. County Rd. 210, 574-772-0229) stocks all the gear, snacks, and booze you’ll need.
If you fail to catch your lunch on the lake, join the locals who flock to Bass Lake Pub and Ristorante (2869 S. County Rd. 210, 574-772-6668), a dive known for its pizza and sandwiches. Just a stone’s throw from the shore, the Melody Drive-In Theatre (7055 U.S. Hwy. 35, 574-772-2045) screens films every weekend. It’s what passes for nightlife in sleepy Starke County. Which suits most visitors just fine. After all, you don’t come to this hideaway for the crowds.