About the Iowa Great Lakes

Nestled in the northwest corner of Iowa, the Iowa Great Lakes include Iowa’s largest natural lake, Spirit Lake, and five interconnected lakes: West Lake Okoboji, East Lake Okoboji, Upper Gar, Lower Gar, and Minnewashta. These beautiful lakes are the result of a geological drama that occurred over 14,000 years ago – when the Des Moines Ice Lobe of the Late Wisconsin Glaciation period retreated southward across the upper Midwest. The result was a phenomenon that sculpted the earth with unimaginable power and beauty, fashioning the landscape now known as the Iowa Great Lakes.

Iowa Great Lakes map

The chain of six natural lakes, covering more than 12,000 acres with nearly 70 miles of shoreline, is a noted fishery for such game fish species as walleye, northern pike muskellunge, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, crappie, and bluegill. Big Spirit Lake is the largest natural lake in Iowa at 5,684 acres. West Lake Okoboji is one of only three blue water lakes in the world, spring fed and 136 feet deep. Water recreational opportunities, from boating to sailing to various water sports, are boundless.

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For numberless seasons now, the waters of the Iowa Great Lakes have comforted, thrilled, and given joy to endless processions of admirers. The Iowa Great Lakes chain is one of the largest tourist destinations in the state, attracting more than a million visitors annually. Families have made this their summer vacation destination for generations. That is why the area, collectively referred to as Okoboji, has come to be known as the land of lakes and family fun.

The Iowa Great Lakes community is passionate about water quality issues, helping to preserve the environmental integrity of the area for locals and visitors alike.

On behalf of our residents, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing our beautiful area for your vacation or event.

Why Vacation Okoboji? From our beautiful lakes to our historic landmarks, our rich traditions to our newest innovations in fun, our efforts to preserve the past while we look to encourage future generations of visitors – we are an area rich in history, respect for natural beauty, and all around fun for all ages. We urge you to indulge in and enjoy every experience the Iowa Great Lakes has to offer. Enjoy your Okoboji vacation and we hope you return as often as you can!