Spirit Lake Iowa is a town on the western shore of East Okoboji
Lake and the southern shore of the lake of the same name in the north central
part of the state. You can't mention Spirit Lake in Iowa without also bringing
Okoboji Lake into the conversation. These are two of the lakes
that comprise one of the most popular vacation destinations in the state. They
are the largest natural lakes in the state, and are known collectively as the
Iowa Great Lakes Region.
From the town, all of the lakes and their attractions
are just a short drive away. There are plenty of Spirit
Lake hotels, motels, and resorts both in town and in the surrounding area.
There are also Spirit Lake rentals
of cabins and cottages all around
the lakes. Look also for charming little bed and breakfast inns, several of
which are in lovely historic homes. You can even find Spirit Lake rentals for
entire houses, sleeping as many as twelve people and ideal for families and
You can get a taste of Iowa's Native American history on your vacations to Spirit Lake at the Abbie Gardener Cabin, which is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the state. It is one of the sites of the Spirit Lake Iowa 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 was 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. There are also several nearby small, but worthwhile, wildlife refuges and bird sanctuaries.
After lake activities, one of the most popular things to do at Spirit Lake in Iowa is golfing. More than fourteen courses and golf resorts serve the lakes region. Most are nine-hole courses, while some have eighteen holes. And, vacations to Spirit Lake aren't limited only to summer fun, as this is a year round destination. There are ice fishing, winter carnivals, and other cold weather activities, and the miles of hiking and cycling trails are transformed into cross-country skiing and snowmobiling trails.
Vacations to Spirit Lake offer a number of things to do involving outdoor recreation, including camping, boating, and golfing. And, it's possible to hire Spirit Lake rentals in the form of boats, fishing gear, golf clubs, and off-road vehicles to visit the wildlife refuges and beaches. Orleans Beach on Spirit Lake in Iowa is perhaps the least crowded. It has an off-shore diving platform, a boat ramp, shady areas, and a very long sandy beach.
Perhaps the most popular of the attractions in the area is the amusement park in historic Arnold Park (built in 1889) in Smith's Bay on Okoboji Lake. A water toboggan slide was constructed first, followed over the next 100 plus 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. This is an embarkation point for scenic cruises on the Queen II excursion boat. Most all people who visit Spirit Lake Iowa will spend time in this popular park.