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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

Summer fun at Lake Okoboji in Iowa USA

Summer in USA can be hot, so a great place to hang out is on one of the many lakes and rivers. Lake Okoboji in north western Iowa is part of a chain of lakes. Boating, swimming, fishing and camping are just some of the awesome activities to do here. There are several campgrounds, hotels and bed and breakfasts to stay at. I stayed with friends who have a camper at a local area. We spent the days on the water and visiting shops and bars in the area, and the nights grilling burgers, playing cards, chatting and eating snacks. A perfect vacation!



Spending lazy days on a boat or pontoon is ideal. With a maui mat (a floating foam fun pad) off the back, it is easy to slip into the cool waters on a hot day.

three women are sporting around on a maui mat in the water, being towed by a pontoon boat, their friend sits on the back of the boat watching them

Music playing in the background while you sail on the water, sipping a cold drink and hanging out with friends is the ideal way to spend a warm summer day.


Sailing on the lake means a wave and a shout of greeting to everyone you pass by whether you know them or not. Who could be unhappy here? Houses line the shores with jetties reaching out into the water, yet there is plenty of nature still left to explore.


One of the many activities enjoyed around the lake are the numerous bars. Food, drink and sunshine with great music playing in the background. Again, what a way to spend a summer day.

a beer and a slushy margarita on the tiled round table at the Barefoot bar. a piece of paper on the table says, Bringing the lake to life

There are hiking and bike trails around the lake, suitable for both the beginner and the more experienced adventurer.


Several golf courses, both 9 and 18 holes offer stunning views of the lake whilst enjoying your game. Or try your hand at one of the local minigolf courses.


During summer, Arnold Park hosts free concerts and fireworks on Saturdays. Indie stores sell a variety of souvenir items, water sport gear and clothing.


Since 1889, the Arnold Park amusement park has been entertaining visitors. In the museum, for a small $2 fee you can slide down the antique and colorful wooden slide. It was originally constructed in 1930 and has been delighting riders since then. Yes, I did this and it was a lot of fun. The museum has a display of historical amusement park rides. It is interesting to imagine that in the early 1900s, these were high tech entertainment devices.

an olden wooden slide with four lanes still delights riders. the stairs up are colorful red, yellow, blue, green and white steps. The wood slide is highly polished for maximum speed.

The lake is just under 16kms (3,847 acres) in size, so there is little chance of being overcrowded by boats. The peak camping season is from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Fall is also a fabulous time to visit as the changing foliage is a stunning colorful sight.


For over forty years the University of Okoboji hosts a winter games festival, that even includes a polar plunge for many brave souls.

Okoboji means "reeds and rushes" in the local Native American Dakota language. I consider the lake area one of the gems of the Midwest.

a pontoon boat in the lake, with three women lying on a maui mat that is being towed behind the boat.

Happy Travels!


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