Welcome to Meandering Mondays, where we provide brief reviews of naturist places we have visited, simply to offer our admittedly subjective thoughts about what we experienced there. With over 150 pins on our naturist travel map, we have a lot of reviews to catch up on. Once posted here, I’ll move them over to the “Places” index under the main menu of our blog.
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This week: Lake O’ the Woods Club, near Valparaiso, Indiana
We were surprised to find this little oasis of wilderness tucked away in a not so distant corner of what an east-coaster might consider suburban Chicago. We were headed westward in early September and stopped in for a midweek visit, having read about the history of the place on their spiffy updated website. Established in the 1930s, I suspect it was out in the countryside back then, but now it’s only a stone’s throw from Valparaiso University. On this autumn day, there was a cloud cover and a cool breeze that kept us from getting out on the lake, but it would be a great place for paddling around in a kayak or canoe. Unlike some other “legacy era” clubs, the RV/camping area is spread out around the periphery of the lake, resulting in a much more serene environment than you might find at places where RVs are packed in row after row. I’m told that there are several families that are regulars at the club, so kids might expect to make friends there in the summer – always an added bonus for the entire family! 🙂 No fancy amenities beyond a very adequate pool, a shaded picnic area, and a path around the lake that takes 30-40 minutes to complete the loop.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE? Lake O’ the Woods (LOWC) may be one of the few naturist places in America that you could almost get to on public transportation, though you’d still need to Uber or walk the last couple miles from the local bus station. As we were arriving by car, we called the day before to learn there was no reservation or pre-registration procedure required – “Simply show up and ring the buzzer at the gate and they’ll let you in.” Which they did.
WHAT’S THE FAMILY VIBE? It’s no secret that American nudist places are facing a challenge in attracting families with young children these days, but LOWC seems to be doing better than most. We just missed meeting up with a family from the greater Chicago area who reports that they’ve checked out several places within driving distance, but this has become their go-to naturist escape. Conversely, there are a couple other camps in the region that tend to downplay the “party atmosphere” (interpret that as you will) that has become a marketing tool for holiday weekends. The receptionist on duty the day of our visit made it clear that LOWC was most definitely family friendly – throughout the entire season, which runs from May to October. If you’re a reader who frequents this resort, please comment below to provide us a little insider trader knowledge on that front.
HOW ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS? If you have an RV, you’re good to go, as long as they have a spot available. Tent camping is possible as well, but not during COVID since that involves shared facilities. We were hoping we might rent a small cabin, but only a couple are available through AirBNB and our timing was such that that didn’t pan out. That said, every hotel chain you could hope for is within a five minute drive of their front gate, so if you’re up for the luxury of a cushy hotel room with a mini-nakation during the day, that turned out to be an excellent option for us.
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW? Should I have the opportunity, I would be delighted to return on a summer weekend when there are more than a half-dozen people there. Especially smaller establishments, such as this one, are truly defined by the clientele. The few folks we did meet suggest that this place is the real deal!