Okoboji Lake Iowa is one of three glacial lakes
that make up one of the most popular vacation destinations in the state. They
are the largest natural lakes in the state, and include East and West Okoboji
Lake as well as Spirit Lake.
They are known collectively as the Iowa Great Lakes Region, but sometimes the
simple phrase, Okoboji Lake Iowa is used to describe the entire region. The
largest is West Okoboji Lake, and it is one of only three blue water lakes in
the world; Lake Geneva in Switzerland and Lake Louise in Canada are the other
two. A blue water lake is a lake in which the water is supplied from an underground
spring or source of fresh water rather than being produced by the collection
of rainwater and runoff.
The Okoboji attractions are diverse, including camping, boating, and golfing. And Okoboji vacations aren't limited only to summer fun, as this is a year-round destination.
Perhaps the most popular of Okoboji attractions is historic Arnold Park in Smith's Bay. Built in 1889 during the golden age of amusement parks when steamships plied the waters, most everyone on Okoboji vacations spends some time here. A water toboggan slide was constructed first, followed for more than the next 100 years by roller coasters, bumper cars, Ferris wheels, and carousels. Today, there are nearly twenty amusement park rides, including The Legend, constructed in 1927 and one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the country. There are also a number of dining venues, including food stands, cafés, and restaurants. Numerous concerts and special events are held here, and this is an embarkation point for scenic cruises on the Queen II excursion boat. There's even a fishing pier. This is the most "happening" Okoboji Lake Iowa hotspot.
Beaches at Lake Okoboji include scores of both public and private stretches of sand, both secluded and full of activities. Several of the lake resorts have lake frontage, and you can also find wonderful rental cabins right on the water. One of the most popular beaches at Lake Okoboji can be found in Gull Point State Park. The park has miles of hiking trails and a campground with more than one hundred camping sites as wells as showers and restrooms. There is a lovely rustic lodge built in 1930 that is excellent for special events like weddings and reunions, and facilities for boating and sport fishing. The beach itself is wide and sandy, and has shade trees. The beaches at lake Okoboji can also be found on other lakes. Perhaps the least crowded is on Spirit Lake. Orleans Beach has an off-shore diving platform, a boat ramp, and a very long sandy beach.
Other Okoboji attractions include several nearby small, but worthwhile, wildlife refuges and bird sanctuaries. Part of Iowa's Native American history is also here. The Abbie Gardener Cabin is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the state. It is one of the sites of the Spirit Lake Massacre that occurred in 1857, when a band of Sioux killed between 35 and 40 settlers in one of the only violent conflicts between the while settlers and Native Americans. Abbie Gardener's entire family killed, and she was taken captive by the Sioux. Her little log cabin has been restored to its mid-nineteenth century appearance, and is full of fascinating historical artifacts.
One of the most popular activities for Okoboji vacations is golfing. More than fourteen courses and golf resorts serve the lakes region. Most are nine-hole courses, while some have eighteen holes.