The Indiana Insider Blog

Madison Lighthouse Restaurant for Riverfront Dining

I’m someone who typically judges a restaurant almost exclusively on the quality of the food. Bad service? I can forgive the occasional rude server or mistake in my order. Atmosphere? I’m as happy at a dive bar as I am at a 5-star restaurant.

But sometimes a dining experience is so unique I hardly remember the food at all. One example is the Madison Lighthouse restaurant in Madison, Indiana. The restaurant itself is essentially a floating barge directly on the Ohio River. In fact, boaters drive directly to this spot, tie up, and sit down to eat. You almost feel as though you’re eating beachside in Florida (and the kitschy nautical decor stays right in line with that thinking).

Truthfully, I don’t really remember what I ordered. I think it was the fish sandwich. I know I was satisfied. But I also know what I really enjoyed was watching my son ooh and aah at the big boats and barges that floated by. I remember how thrilled he was to walk down the giant ramp that leads down from the riverwalk pathway to the restaurant. It seemed like it was such an adventure, and it truly was. And I’ll always have wonderful memories of him giggling when the table next to us fed the catfish with scraps from their meal.

Its location makes it an ideal spot to grab a meal, and then finish it up with a walk all along the brick paths that line the Ohio River. Or just sit on a bench and enjoy more of the river activity. That’s what my family did after our lunch there. (You can read about our day visiting Madison with kids here.)

Is Indiana landlocked? Technically, I supposed so. But you need only venture to riverfront spots like the Lighthouse in Madison (or the dunes in northwest Indiana, for that matter) to know that water views don’t belong exclusively to the coasts.

The Madison Lighthouse restaurant is located at 375 West Vaughn Drive in Madison, Indiana. They’re open for lunch and dinner daily. If you need more information, call them at 812.265.3280.

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Written by : Nicole is a stay-at-home mom and blogger living in Columbus, Indiana. She blogs about adventures at home and away with her husband and 2-year-old son at She grew up in Plainfield, Indiana and graduated from Butler University in 2002. She grew up in Plainfield, Indiana and graduated from Butler University in 2002. She spent seven years living and working in downtown Indianapolis following college. Nicole is always looking for fun, kid-friendly outing ideas. You can contact her via email or find her on Twitter at @arrowssentforth. Nicole receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.