Social Distance Where You Can Have Fun: Come to Milford Lake

Monday, August 03, 2020

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Geary County’s Milford Lake known as “The Fishing Capital of Kansas” is located just five miles northwest of Junction City which was named one of the “Top 200 Towns in America to Live for Anglers and Hunters'' by Outdoor Life Magazine. Milford Lake, a sparkling gem nestled in the heart of the Flint Hills, has over 163 miles of shoreline — including sandy beaches — and close to 16,000 acres of water to spread out over to enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the perfect place to have fun where social distancing comes easy. Located just one hour from Topeka, under two hours from Kansas City, and with easy access from five major highways, it is a treasure for more than just Geary County residents.

“Milford Lake is the single largest tourist attraction in terms of size and visitation in all of Geary County,” says Mike Harris, owner and general manager of Acorns Resort. “We will have guests coming from an average of 40 states each and every year. Kansas visitors outside of Geary County are the number one visitor to the lake. During the summer months, approximately 20% of our guests come from the state of Nebraska.”

Acorns ResortAcorns Resorts offers 25 cabins, nine lodge rooms, 61 utility campsites, three yurts, and two picnic shelters. Other amenities include The Cove Bar and Grill, the Milford Lake Conference Center, boat rentals, indoor and outdoor boat and RV storage, an amphitheater for outdoor events, two beaches, and an office and convenience store.

The influx of visitors drawn to the area also helps other businesses in a very symbiotic way according to Harris. “Many other local businesses rely on tourists who visit Milford Lake,” says Harris. “Businesses from gas stations, convenience and grocery stores, bait and tackle shops, boat dealers and repair shops, movie theaters, bowling alleys, tire repair services, vehicle repair services, restaurants and bars, liquor stores, to even realtors all have increased business due to Milford Lake visitors. All of these visitors help to increase the local tax base, transient guest tax, and employment to name just a few benefits.” 

Ty Arneson, managing partner of Thunderbird Marina and RV Resort and Flagstop Resort and RV Park, agrees saying, “The more people on the lake the better it is for all of us. The lake is a great component to the quality of life in Geary County. It’s easy to access and easy to have a great time because of all of the amenities.”

There are plenty of amenities to be enjoyed at his two getaway sites. Thunderbird Marina and RV Park is a secure gated community with a sandy beach, two boat ramps, over 160 RV sites, over 100 boat slips, and a restaurant that is also accessible by boat. Flagstop Resort and RV Park has nine cabins, a convenience store, a restaurant, and over 200 RV sites.

Fishing tournaments are drawn to Milford Lake too. According to Harris, Acorns Resorts is the host location for many tournaments with “Milford Lake probably having close to 100 tournaments per year ranging in size from local club tournaments to national ones.” Anglers find a plethora of fish species including walleye, crappie, and a variety of bass including wipers, smallmouth, largemouth, and white, but it is the catfish that drew in the National Cabela’s King Kat Tournament.

As reported in The Hutchinson News, Jeremy Coe, Cabela’s King Kat Tournament director, said, “Milford Lake is one of the top destinations in the sport of catfishing. We look forward to seeing everyone, whether they come through the weigh-in line or as a spectator.” 

While Harris has had to cancel some events at Acorns Resort like weddings and family reunions due to COVID-19 crowd size restrictions, he has also seen an increase in business in other areas due to “an increase in outdoor recreation since many experts are agreeing that social distancing outdoors is safer.” It has also been helpful that the “fishing has been great this year.” 

Arneson also reports that it has been a very busy summer.

Thunderbird Marina“There are more people on the lake than I have ever seen in recent history,” says Arneson. “And there are a bunch of old boats. Because people have been looking for things to do, I think every old boat has been dragged out of the barn, worked on, and taken to the lake. Though there is also a fair share of new boats and RVs too.”

To keep up with what is happening at these family-friendly destinations, follow Acorns Resort, Thunderbird Marina, and Flagstop Resort on Facebook. Learn more about all of the amenities available in Geary County here.

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