Five glacial lakes—including Lake Okoboji—form a chain in northwest Iowa that has been a destination for generations. But there is more than water sports here.

By The editors of
June 08, 2012

Due to possible coronavirus-related travel restrictions, please check destinations' websites for the current status of attractions, events, restaurants and lodgings.

What to do

Abbie Gardner-Sharp Cabin and Museum Start here for an excellent introduction into the tragic events around the Spirit Lake Massacre. A short film and exhibits put the 1857 event into context. Pick up a flier to drive to area markers.

Arnolds Park Amusement Park Enjoy the nostalgia wave at a waterfront amusement park. Ride a wooden roller coaster built in 1927, carousel, and others. Take a sightseeing cruise.

Arnolds Park Amusement Park.

Maritime Museum Fill an hour or so with interesting tibdbits about the the history of lake recreation and industry. Free but donation appreciated.

Mau Marina Conviently located where the east and west lakes join, the staff was helpful and rates good when we applied a coupon from our hotel.

Okoboji Boat Works We like this marina on the west lake for its swimming beach and glass-bottom boat tours.

Okoboji Summer Theatre Make plays part of your summer fun at this theatre that has been around for more than 60 years.

Pirates Cove Mini Golf Play 18 holes of minature golf under waterfalls, through caves and past pirate-eating sharks while reading the history of pirates-none from these waters though!

Shopping Numerous independent stores sell antiques, beachy home decor, University of Okoboji wear, water toys and more.

Where to eat

Barefoot Bar This east lake spot is happening for drinks and standard bar fare. Tiki huts and palm trees set the party mood.

Bracco The seasonal open-air joint wins points with tropical island-inspired fare.

Maxwell's Beach Cafe Dine on upscale fare on the waterfront.

O'Farrell Sisters Restaurant Go to this diner for breakfast and pie.

Where to stay

Bridges Bay Resort This lodging has the only indoor water park in Arnolds Park.

Fillwenwarth Beach Resort Cruises, sailing, water-skiing, crafts and other extras ensure repeat visitors.

The Inn Hotel The new 38-room hotel celebrates the area’s golden age with Art Deco decor, tiki drinks at The Beach Club Lounge, and a rooftop pool and bar.

The Inn Hotel
Courtesy of The Inn Hotel

For information: Okoboji Tourism