20 Reasons We Love Iowa
The "Iowa Great Lakes"
Some people might be surprised by this classic vacation spot 210 miles northwest of Des Moines. A string of glacial lakes covers about 15,000 acres, forming the "Iowa Great Lakes." Families return to places such as Big Spirit Lake (population 4,700) and Okoboji (population 850) year after year, fishing off docks and hopping on carnival rides at Arnolds Park, a turn-of-the-last-century theme park that's as retro as they come. (800) 599-6995; arnoldspark.com
Okoboji Boat Works, a popular stop between the west and east lakes, offers a swimming beach, a playground and glass-bottom boat tours. (712) 332-9904; parksmarina.com