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Things To Do At Okoboji

Arnolds Park, Iowa
Level Contributor
4 posts
70 reviews
Things To Do At Okoboji

TripAdvisor needs some help to make this more complete for people thinking of visiting Okoboji. Let's start with some obvious opportunities.

The Water -- The Okobojis, especially West Lake Okoboji, have some of the BEST water in the world for recreation. It's clear, warmish,and has plenty of opportunity for fishing. There are public beaches in Arnolds Park, a couple of state parks with access, and boat launch ramps in nearly each of the lakes. Recreational boating with skiing, tubing, and sailing is very popular. You can rent boats at Extreme Watersports in Arnolds Park, Okoboji Boat Works on Smith's Bay, and elsewhere around the lakes.

Destinations for entertainment -- No shortage here. First on my list is the historic Arnolds Park Amusement Park. It's a compact little amusement park that features an astonishing array of rides suitable for kiddies to grownups. The Legend roller coaster and the large Ferris Wheel overlooking West Lake are area icons.

Next door, a place known as Preservation Plaza (formerly known as The Green Space due to the expanse of lawn) hosts concerts all summer, as well as antique and classic car shows and an art show.

Bridges Bay Resort has the area's only indoor water park, as well as amenities that include a swim-up bar, lakefront dining and play activities for children.

Thinking indoor?

The Pearson Lakes Art Center has an amazing array of displays, and offers special events and classes all year long.

The Maritime Museum in Arnolds Park is mentioned elsewhere on these pages, but it truly is a vast resource of Lakes history.

The Iowa Great Lakes area is also home to the only professional-level theater in Northwest Iowa. The Okoboji Summer Theater is staffed by theater students from Stephens College, guided by professionals.

Additionally, Spirit Lake has a new professional level theater in the SAMI Center for The Performing Arts. Look for a wide range of entertainment, from opera, to theater, to rock legend performances.

At the other end of the performance spectrum is the Treasure Village famly fun park. This venue shows how much fun home-grown entertainment can be for kids and their parents. Every summer, the owners and their families put on a Children's Theater. There is also miniature golf, gospel concerts and flea markets.

These are just a few of the many THINGS TO DO at Okoboji. Please add your own comments so that TripAdvisor readers get the complete picture.

See you there soon!

Level Contributor
1 post
13 reviews
1. Re: Things To Do At Okoboji

Thank you so much for your post! I am a frequent TripAdvisor user and found their information lacking, am planning my first trip to Okoboji and had no idea where to start! Very helpful!

Level Contributor
7,152 posts
257 reviews
2. Re: Things To Do At Okoboji

Thanks for the information, Okoboji_observer. We have never been, although a nephew made annual trips for years. You know that TripAdvisor lists many of these Things to Do as you have reviewed a number of them. An easy, although not infallible, way to find attractions on TripAdvisor is from the Things to Do link for individual towns or cities. For example, the Arnolds Park page has a map which pops up and can be panned and zoomed to find nearby places of interest. tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g29371-Activitie… You can pan your way around the lakes and beyond. I think it is a mistake for TripAdvisor to list bars as Things to Do, but that is the way it is.

Stilwell, Kansas
1 post
3. Re: Things To Do At Okoboji

I'm a native (although I've lived in Kansas City metro for 20 years) but my parents still live on West lake and we get up about once a year on the 4th of July:

1. 4th of July fireworks at Arnold's Park. Awesome!

2. Okoboji Summer Theater. Regional stock theater from Stephens College in Columbia , Missouri. It pairs students with professional actors with well-done plays from tragedy to comedy.

3. Bike trails on old railroad rail beds provide a nice path to bike without traffic. Also, biking on the east side of the lake, which has smaller, meandering roads is scenic. Car traffic isn't usually bad except for major weekends or during the 4th of July.

4. Nutty bars/draft root beer/salt water taffy at Arnold's Park is a local tradition

5. The Taco House. A local landmark between Arnold's Park and Milford. Good Mexican fast food, a local icon. Not always appreciated by non-locals but good stuff!

6. The Three Sons clothing store in Milford. In an older building in Milford, stocking a variety of sports/leisure wear and University of Okoboji paraphernalia, another local icon. Herman and Emil Richter have been helping lakes shoppers for many years and are local philanthropists as well.

Edited: 01 August 2014, 11:05
Rockwall, TX
Level Contributor
167 posts
328 reviews
4. Re: Things To Do At Okoboji

I was in Okoboji in July and besides what has already been mentioned other worthy places to visit are:

The Okoboji Classic Car Museum

The Prisoner of War Camp Museum in Algona

The Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend

I visited all three and enjoyed them all plus Preservation Plaza.

Arnolds Park, Iowa
Level Contributor
4 posts
70 reviews
5. Re: Things To Do At Okoboji

The Okoboji Classic Cars museum is actually a working auto restoration business. You can buy most of the cars on display, too. But what makes this worth visiting is the historically-themed mural art and recreated store fronts, depicting downtown Spencer and Arnolds Park Amusement Park and environs. I like cars, but the murals are a realistic walk down Memory Lane -- it truly has to be seen to be appreciated!

For your $10 admission, you get a guided tour with personable, knowledgable guides ready to tell the stories surrounding not only the murals and locations, but the cars on display, as well. Better still, your $10-spot can be applied to any of the caps, shirts and automotive stuff for sale in the lobby.

Bottom line: go, you won't be disappointed with what 1960 felt like.

6. Re: Things To Do At Okoboji

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