Marina Boardwalk cruises revive a Maxinkuckee tradition

It’s been more than a quarter-century since the public could take advan­tage of regular boat cruises around Lake Maxinkuckee, but as of this summer Cul­verites and visitors can do so -- with a twist.

The Culver Marina de­buted its lunch and dinner tours of the lake by pon­toon this summer, some­thing Marina owner Gary Aker says was a response to an ongoing query from customers.

“There was the question of how do you get out on the lake (short of owning a boat),” he notes. “You can rent a pontoon or you can just go out this way.”

The Marina’s Board­walk Grille, added in re­cent years, has produced a steady stream of visi­tors and lo­cals, many of whom had just that curios­ity. Marina staff began working out the details last winter after draw­ing it up “on a nap­kin,” Aker says. “We had a boat we used for dock work, and we just rebuilt it. It was kind of our little project.”

The result was seating for 20 for the regular cruises (11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Satur­days and Sundays) and 16 for evening dinner cruises, which must be scheduled by appointment.

Dinner cruises may be scheduled any day of the week; so can regular tours, which can be scheduled most any time throughout the day if made by appointment. Reservations may be made at 574-842-3375.

The cruise fee, according to Aker, is $20 per adult or $15 per child, with each cruise lasting one hour and 15 minutes (dinner cruises are slightly longer). Cost of food ordered from the Boardwalk Grille is additional. The Ma­rina may not provide alcohol for the cruises, but guests may bring their own, “which is better (for them), in a way,” Aker adds.

Cruises leave the Marina dock and head along the south shore, wrapping around the lake from there.

Many Culverites have fond memories of the area’s longest-running cruise boat, The Maxinkuckee, and the tales spun by its pilot, Capt. Frank Amond. Gary Aker explains Marina cruises tend to allow guests to enjoy “a nice, quiet cruise around the lake,” Aker explains, though the staff is happy to answer any questions people ask, as best they can.

In addition to the cruises, the Marina, which offers more information online at www.culvermarina.com, also rents out pontoons, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards.