Okoboji: All Things New

Arnolds park Promenade

The most asked question every spring in Okoboji is, "So what is new this year?"  This year the list is almost a mile long!  So let's jump right in!

Arnolds Park Roof Garden
Arnolds Park Roof Garden

Two things you will notice right away upon driving into Arnold's Park are the Roof Garden and the Arnolds Park Promenade.  The all new Roof Garden should be finished in late July.  The Grand Opening will kick off in August with a month long celebration of events and concerts.  Travel north of the park  towards the Central Emporium and you will see work progressing on an Imagine Iowa Great Lakes project, the Arnolds Park Promenade. With 9 arches, 4,700 pavers, 10 benches and more trees, flowers, and plants than any one could count, the Promenade will be beautiful enhancement welcoming guests to Preservation Plaza and overlooking West Lake Okoboji. You will also notice new restroom facilities by the Arnold's Park entrance as well as updated facing and a fresh coat of paint on the Three Sons and Godfather's Pizza.  Just steps away on Dam Road The Inn Hotel is opening, reviving the Golden Age of Lake Life Society and providing 35 luxurious rooms.  It also includes the Beach Club Lounge, for small bites and cocktails in an elegant, luxurious setting.

More New at Arnolds Park!

You will be blown away by the all new Iowa Rock N Roll Museum!  The transformation of this museum is something not-to-be-missed during your next visit! You will be able to spend hours reading, remembering, listening and tapping your toe to the songs of yesterday.  In the Arnolds Park Queens Court Localish, a farm to table general store, is the new-kid-on-the-block.  Books N Things in the Queen's Court is under new ownership, but you'll find many of the gifts, clothing, and books you've loved for years with some fun new products also added!  After you checked out all of the great Queens Court Shops, step inside Arnold's Park Amusement Park and you will be WOWED by the Carousel that was added mid-summer 2018. Then take a ride on the Wild Mouse, the Park's newest nostalgic addition, which is sure to please thrill-seekers of all ages!  Finally there is a new parking lot in the works just north of the Welcome Center and Maritime Museum.  It will include 56 additional parking spots and a new pathway to the lake!

More Totally New!

Terrace Park Beach-goers will be SO EXCITED to know that a new restroom facility was constructed last fall!  Drive out to Bridges Bay Resort, and you will see 2 new buildings going up. One building will house 68 new hotel rooms and the other will bring new condo's to the complex.  Two new attractions to the area The Throwing Post, an Axe throwing bar, and Paddle Tap boat are sure to be popular with groups coming to Okoboji.  Coffee with a purpose?  Check out The Bridge Coffee Shop in Milford.  The Bridge is a mission minded, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting local missions as well as missions in Honduras and Peru.

For those missing Gingham Inn Chicken and fixings in Spirit Lake, you will be delighted to know that Gingham Inn To Go will be serving up the same great food at the same property.  So grab some chicken and head toward the Dickinson County Nature Center for a picnic. Then let the kids run and play in the outdoor play space or go inside to see all the new exhibits and experience hands on learning!  From there go to the Pearson Lakes Art Center and check out the Art Smart Learning Center, which has been updated and refreshed with old favorites and lots of new things.

New Events, Shops, & Ownership

Farmer's Market in the Park is a new event this summer taking place every Saturday from 7:30 am until noon, Memorial Day through Labor Day.   Live music will fill this open air market as you cruise the vendors selling art, woodwork, fresh flowers, coffee, local meat,  fresh produce and many other products. Make sure and make plenty of time to walk up the Promenade to explore the Central Emporium as it continues to undergo updates and changes.  You will find the Sugar Shack doubled in size, some stores shuffled around and a fun new store Frolic and Hem.  Speaking of changes and shuffling in Arnolds Park, Yesterday's Restaurant is under new ownership.  New owner, Jenny Phelp-Ferrell's says not to worry! The food and atomosphere you've loved over the years will remain unchanged, and Duane and crew will still be around to help and advise this year. Speaking of changes, Brooks Golf Course has also changed ownership, but you will still find many of the familiar faces from last season to welcome you for a round on the beautifully kept 27-hole course that will appeal to any golfer!

Renovated Hotels & Resorts

Many area lodging properties have also been refreshed and updated to welcome you!  Vintage Block Inn and Suites has undergone a major refreshing with beautiful new accent walls, ceiling, floor coverings, and more.  Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center has updated all its rooms, lobby and meeting rooms!  The fresh new look is welcoming throughout the property. Fillenwarth Beach Resort has a beautifully renovated office and lobby.  Okoboji Inn and Suites (formerly Boulder's Inn) has undergone a name change but ownership and management has not changed, and you can still expect the same great service.

In Case You Missed Them Last Season

There are many "newish" places to check out as well!  Big Spirit Resort opened last year with 5 rooms - all with kitchenettes! It is located across from Big Spirit Lake and East Lake Okoboji, and with Gingham Inn To-Go on the property you will most certainly have a GREAT stay.  Looking to grill?  Stop by  Ruthven Locker on Hill Avenue for all your fresh meat needs.  Want to try a new form of exercise or take your yoga practice to the next level, while enjoying the beauty of West Lake Okoboji?  Amanda at The Studio Yoga & Barre - Sup Yoga, located at Okoboji Boat Works, has a class for all abilities and loves to help first time paddle boarders get comfortable on the board. After class stop in the Okoboji Boat Works Inconvenience store to see their remodel and new food and drink offerings.  While you're there, you can also book a spot on one of the new public cruises.  The hardest part will be deciding which cruise to join... Shake the Lake, OBW Dockhop or new cruises for this year: Miller's Bay Yacht Party or Sunset & Fireworks Cruise.  For a "newish" breakfast experience, check out Nektar this summer for coffee, smoothies, smoothie bowls, and pastries.  Looking for a place to host an event or reception?  Check out the Boat Club at Parks Marina, and while you are there grab a bite to eat at Snapper's, 2 of our "newish" venues in that area!