Park Glow

Make Okoboji your getaway summer vacation destination. With six lakes, Okoboji is the lake life you’ve been craving. And with countless activities and unique experiences, a vacation to Okoboji is one you’ll never forget. Outlined is a weekend trip itinerary with suggestions on lodging, dining and activities. Whether you’re wanting some QT with the fam or a break from hectic work and kids’ schedules, we’ll help you plan your escape.

Friday Afternoon – Travel
Okoboji is the destination for lake-life seekers from Kansas City (332 miles) to Minneapolis (181 miles) and every town in between (Omaha, Nebraska – 179 miles; Des Moines, Iowa – 205 miles). It’s a short drive for many, and a half-day off work at most.  

Friday Evening – Lodging
Okoboji offers a variety of opens in a new windowlodging options, including opens in a new windowcabins, opens in a new windowresorts and hotels. First-time visitors won’t go wrong with staying in a opens in a new windowwaterfront resort or a more opens in a new windowtraditional-style inn nestled among nature. Those with children should stay at a property focused on family and keeping your kids entertained nonstop! A few great options include:  opens in a new windowBridges Bay Resort – indoor waterpark and onsite arcade, need we say more?   opens in a new windowFillenwarth Beach is steps from Arnolds Park Amusement Park and includes tons of on and off water activities for the kids and parents, and   opens in a new windowCrescent Beach Resort is located in a quiet neighborhood on West Lake Okoboji and features an awesome sand beach, huge playground and daily kids activities!

Bridges Bay water park

Friday Night – Eat, Drink, Relax
Relax, unwind and perhaps wine up for the night with dinner and drinks at one of Okoboji’s waterfront restaurants. (When in Rome Okoboji…) Both the opens in a new windowWaterfront and the opens in a new windowHi-Point offer seafood and best-in-state steaks, while the Waterfront also offers brick-oven flatbread pizza.

Blue Water Pizza Co.

Saturday Morning – Quick Breakfast, Easy Exercise
Grab a coffee and pastry to start your lake-day off early. opens in a new windowArnold’s Perk Coffee House and Daily Addiction are two charming spots to get your caffeine (and carb) boost. Stop by Daily Addiction later for hand-dipped ice cream in a homemade waffle cone. You heard us. Then ease into the day with opens in a new windowlakeside yoga, paddle-boarding or a opens in a new windowcombination of the two

Arnolds Perk


Saturday Late Afternoon – Lake Life
Now it’s time to get your lake life on! Whether you’re a sunbather or a wave-racer, there’s plenty of beaches and water for everyone.  opens in a new windowFind the nearest beach here. No boat? No worries!  opens in a new windowRent watercraft here.

Jumping off boat

Saturday Lunch – Beachy and Casual
Dock the boat, throw in the towel (for now!) and refuel at opens in a new windowThe Store or opens in a new windowBarefoot Bar. You can arrive by land or sea at either restaurant, making for a delicious and convenient pit stop. The Store features Iowan comfort food, including cheese curds, corn on the cob and a kid-friendly menu. The Barefoot Bar offers Phil’s Phamous BBQ ribs, tacos, pizza and more. Both are casual, beachy atmospheres offering fun and food for your whole crew.

Okoboji Store

Saturday Afternoon – Nature and Arts
For those interested in lake and land, the Iowa Great Lakes trail is yours to walk, run, bike and explore off the beaten path. And when you find your way back, check out the opens in a new windowPearson Lakes Art Center or the opens in a new windowDickinson County Nature Center. And for the furry kids in your family, there’s the six-acre opens in a new window Lakes Area Dog Park.   

Nature Center

Saturday Night – Which Door Will You Choose?
After a day of surf, sand and sun, your Saturday night can go one of many ways.


Door #1
For those who want to relax and unwind after a full day on the lake, this option is dinner, drinks and a show. First, enjoy dinner and drinks at Tweeters opens in a new windowKazarelli’s or opens in a new windowYesterday’s if you haven’t already. Then catch a show at the opens in a new windowOkoboji Summer Theatre. The production is new every week, from a play, to a comedy to a musical. 

Door #2
For those who just want to eat and drink tamely, grab a drink and a listen to the live acoustic music at opens in a new windowBracco. Then settle in for the night at opens in a new windowOkoboji Brewing Company or opens in a new windowWest O Beer Company.

Door #3
For those looking for a lively nightlife, this option is for you. Grab a burger and beer from opens in a new windowThe Dry Dock or opens in a new windowThe Outrigger. Then you’re the captain of your night, but here’s a map: make sure to hit up opens in a new windowCaptains Getaway (check out the rooftop!), opens in a new windowThe Gardens, and opens in a new windowNautical.

Sunday Morning – Brunch
Whatever door you picked for your Saturday night, the next door you’re going through is at opens in a new windowO’Farrell’s Sisters or opens in a new windowThe Common Tasting Room for brunch. O’Farrell Sisters is well-known for their pancakes and pies, they’re open until 2 pm in the summer. If you’re looking for quiche or lobster benedict, don’t miss brunch at the Commons!


Sunday Late-Morning – Walking and Shopping
Walk off the brunch (and the night before) in Arnold’s Park. Be sure to grab some souvenirs and Okoboji swag before heading home at the opens in a new windowArnold’s Park shops (including opens in a new windowThe Three Sons – home base for the University of Okoboji),   opens in a new windowCentral Emporium (also in Arnold’s Park), or opens in a new windowHomeology (right across from the entrance of the Park!)

Okoboji Herman and Emil

Sunday Night
After your drive back home 🙁 start planning your next vacation to Okoboji!  There’s so much to do you’ll want your next trip to last even longer than a weekend!