Okoboji Couples Summer Getaway

fireworks over West Lake Okoboji
Credit: Tom Gustafson

Summer is an exciting time to explore the Iowa Great Lakes with your special someone! This time of the year allows you time to relax as much as you want or have as much adventure as possible. With plenty of options for lodging, dining and activities, there's something for both of you to enjoy!

Rest & Relax

Okoboji's Oakwood Inn
The Oakwood Inn

For an amazing summertime couples getaway that includes an unforgettable breakfast, check out the adults only Oakwood Inn Bed and Breakfast.  This property recently was given Select Registry status which is on of the highest honors for independent and boutique properties.  Other summer stays with dining on property include: The Inn, which was brand new in 2019, and houses Tavern at the Park, a modern gastro pub with great food and craft cocktails.

The Inn Hotel Pool
The Inn Hotel

Another option would be a stay at Vintage Block Inn and Suites. This unique motel style hotel is located a half block from East Lake boat access and within minutes of area attractions, shops and restaurants. Wake up in the morning for their yummy on-site breakfast to start your day in Okoboji! They even have Surrey Bikes for rent for you to take in the sights in style.

Vintage Block Bedroom
Vintage Block Inn and Suites

Bridges Bay Resort has lakefront views just steps away from your room or cabin. We recommend dining at The Waterfront Grille for brick oven flatbreads, fresh seafood, and some of the best steaks in the Midwest!


For a traditional hotel and a great night's sleep there is: Okoboji Inn and Suites, The Roadway Inn, AmericInn, Ramada, or Super 8.

EAT and Drink

Steak Dinner

Okoboji has amazing places to eat or sip on a cocktail all season long.  The Outrigger, Tweeter's, or The Waterfront Grille. For casual dining while watching your favorite college or pro team play, try The Hutt, The Gardens ,The Ritz, Captain's or Nautical.  For a dining experience that truly feels "vacation", check out Snappers Turtle Bay Cafe. If it's pizza you are craving, you MUST check out Pub 19 at Okoboji View golf course, Portside Pizza Pub with a huge selection of craft beer,  or the wood-fired pizza at West O.  If you would rather stay in the cozy quiet of your hotel room, you can have Jimmy John's, Godfather's, or Pizza Ranch delivered right to your door. Dinner at the Okoboji Store never disappoints with great lakeside atmosphere and delicious food. For a homemade breakfast or lunch, you also have to try O'Farrell Sisters!




Pub 19 Bar and Grill


The Outrigger

Hit the Links

Man taking a swing at a golf ball at Indian Hills Golf Club in Spirit Lake, Iowa
Indian Hills Golf Club, Spirit Lake

With more than 82 unique holes, golfing opportunities are abundant in the Iowa Great Lakes. You can golf a different, well-manicured course every day! With such great courses, we look forward to an early spring every year! Call Emerald Hills, Brooks, or Okoboji View to make your tee time.


fishing boat on Lake Okoboji landscape

Summer is the best time to enjoy time on Okoboji's lakes! Whether you have been craving beach time or adventuring out to catch fish, there's endless opportunities for lake fun. Plus you can have your sunset walk by the lake moment together!

Fishing tips: Stop by an area bait shop before you get on the water to find out where the fish are biting. The Hook Up at Oak Hill Outdoor in Milford can offer great tips, sell you any bait and supplies you need, and give helpful advice of locations to avoid to stay safe.  All of our area bait shops can give you helpful tips & advice on where to find the hot bite!  If you’d like more guidance, it’s well worth the money to hire a fishing guide to take you out for a few hours.  Your guide will have all the supplies you need and make sure you have a day to remember!

For the fish enthusiasts, you will want to stop at the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery, which offers free, informational tours to visitors during the annual spring fish-rearing season.  It is a popular destination for anyone seeking to view the aquariums that showcase the area's fish species, and learn more about fish stocking in the Iowa Great Lakes Area and beyond.

Summer is a wonderful time to kayak the canals on the west side of West Lake Okoboji or the wetlands at Kettelson Hogsback.


beach time at Lake Okoboji with towel down and bottle of water to enjoy

A summer getaway in Okoboji MUST include soaking in the sun while sticking your toes in a warm sandy beach or while having a picnic! Don't pass up the opportunity to take time to slow down and kick back at one of our public beaches and parks. Just don't forget that sunscreen!!

Live Music

Live music on Preservation Plaza stage in Arnolds Park

The Iowa Great Lakes has a thriving music scene in general, but once summer rolls around it gets hard not to hear music every week. Country, jazz, 90s rock...you will definitely feel the Okoboji vibe wherever you go! Interested in more information about our local venues to plan your adventures? We have what you need here!


Bike Trail

Summer is a great time to hit the multi-use trail system that winds its way through the Iowa Great Lakes. With over 60 miles of paved trails there are lots of places to see and explore on foot or bike.   The "spine" of the system is a 14-mile trail through the heart of the Iowa Great Lakes region, connecting to the spine trail are several other shorter trails to explore including the Kenue Park Trail, Arnolds Park City Trail and the Spirit Lake City Trail. If you are looking for a hike off the beaten path, check out the nature trail at Kettleson Hogsback Wildlife Area, which is great for bird watching, The Interpretive Trail at Gull Point, or Horseshoe Bend recreation area south of Milford.

Gull point hike

Gull Point Hike


Okoboji Classic Cars

Okoboji Classic Cars

History buff or not, summer is a fun time to visit Okoboji's many and varied museums.  Our local museums can help take you on a trip through time to learn about how this place came to be! Start at the Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum located in the year-round Iowa Welcome Center and gift shop.  The friendly folks here can help point you in the direction of anything going on in Okoboji!  The Maritime Museum itself houses an impressive collection of antique wooden boats, and maritime history. While here you can also swing through the Iowa Rock 'N Roll museum, which preserves the legacy of Rock 'N Roll in Iowa. We are not exaggerating when we say you could spend ALL DAY at the Clark Museum in Milford.  This museum features thousands of historic photos of the area as well as artifacts from restaurants, the amusement park and so much more. There is also a historic reading area, which includes information on darn-near every county in Iowa!  You will most definitely want to visit the Okoboji Classic Cars Museum, which showcases a rotating inventory of restored classic cars amidst a backdrop of floor to ceiling murals by artist Jack Rees.  Even if you are not a classic car lover you will be WOWED by Okoboji Classic Cars! The guided tour they take you on through the building enhances your experience, and makes it fun for all ages!

Indoor Entertainment

Art Center exhibit

Pearson Lakes Art Center

If you're looking for more indoor fun to cool off from the summer heat, channel your inner artist by strolling through the Pearson Lakes Art Center.  While there check out their class listing and work on your own artist skills.  Speaking of art you can also paint your own masterpiece at the Kurio Kastle Pottery Painting Palace in downtown Spirit Lake, call ahead for an appointment. Next, stop at the Dickinson County Nature Center where environmental learning abounds! There is always something to see and do, whether it be visiting an exhibit or playing with the permanent displays. Plus, it's all free!

The Throwing Post, Okoboji's hot new attraction, invites you to come throw some axes.  Guaranteed to be easier and way more fun than you think it possible!

Catch a movie at  Great Lakes Cinema 7, which has multiple screens and a popular selection of the newest movies! The Milford Pioneer Theater has added a second theater which boasts all leather recliner seating, highlights the newest movies and has online booking where you can even pick the seat you want. Both have comfortable seating, buttery popcorn, and a wide variety of delicious treats!

Juniper Lanes Bar & Grill in Spirit Lake is in the process of being renovated. Delicious food, drinks, music and, of course, bowling. Cosmic bowling on Fridays and Saturdays is a blast!!

Riddle Me That is the perfect place to work on your communication skills as you work together to solve a mystery to ESCAPE from a room full of puzzles and clues! Make your reservations in advance to include this fun (and challenging) stop on your trip.


women shopping at boathouse apparel in Arnolds Park along Lake Street

No trip to Okoboji is complete without doing some shopping and Summer is one of the best times to refresh your wardrobe! The stores are filled to the brim with all things summer. What's even more exciting is that the seasonal shops in Arnolds Park are now open!

Be sure to check out Homeology and Elements right in the center of it all in Arnolds Park. Next, head up toward Spirit Lake stopping at West Boutique in Okoboji, on the hill by Okoboji Boat Works, with a great selection of clothing and shoes. The next stop is Mary’s, where you can shop home decor, clothing, a huge selection of kitchenware and gourmet food perfect for entertaining.  Next stop is at the Great Lakes Mall where you will you will find The Look, Wild Child, Fashion Formula, Interiors, and Spirit Lake Silver and Gold.

In downtown Spirit Lake, Allure & Co. is your one-stop for coffee, lunch, clothing, home decorating, and furniture. They really have it all, even a yoga studio, The Studio Yoga and Barre, a photographer and beauty salon.  If you are more into antique shopping, there are plenty of antique stores in Okoboji. Antiques Etc., Spirit Lake Antique Mall, and Timeless Consignments are all great places to explore and find your special treasures. The stop no one should miss on a trip to Okoboji is The Three Sons in downtown Milford.  This is your spot for official University of Okoboji gear!  Proof that you're working towards your degree in fun!

The Three Sons

The Three Sons

Okoboji Treasure Shopping

Antiques Etc.

Day trip

Round Lake

Looking to branch out for a day? Start the day off with a late breakfast at The Hutt (weekend breakfast only) or O'Farrell Sisters and then take off for Round Lake Vineyards in Round Lake in Minnesota. The vineyard and grounds are beautiful and the wine and food are amazing too.  Hop back in the car and head east to the Little Swan Lake Winery where you will find great musical entertainment most weekends. For dinner, make your way back to Okoboji for many great options to end your day on a delicious note.

As always, if you have any questions or need other recommendations please call us at 1-712-332-2209. We would love to help you plan your summer getaway to Okoboji!

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