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 lodging options, including cabins, resorts and hotels. First-time visitors won’t go wrong with staying in a waterfront resort or a more traditional-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: Bridges Bay Resort – indoor waterpark and onsite arcade, need we say more? Fillenwarth Beach is steps from Arnolds Park Amusement Park and includes tons of on and off water activities for the kids and parents, and Crescent Beach Resort is located in a quiet neighborhood on West Lake Okoboji and features an awesome sand beach, huge playground and daily kids activities!
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 Waterfront and the Hi-Point offer seafood and best-in-state steaks, while the Waterfront also offers brick-oven flatbread pizza.
Saturday Morning – Quick Breakfast, Easy Exercise
Grab a coffee and pastry to start your lake-day off early. Arnold’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 lakeside yoga, paddle-boarding or a combination of the two.
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. Find the nearest beach here. No boat? No worries! Rent watercraft here.
Saturday Lunch – Beachy and Casual
Dock the boat, throw in the towel (for now!) and refuel at The Store or Barefoot 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.
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 Pearson Lakes Art Center or the Dickinson County Nature Center. And for the furry kids in your family, there’s the six-acre Lakes Area Dog Park.
Saturday Night – Which Door Will You Choose?
After a day of surf, sand and sun, your Saturday night can go one of many ways.
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, Kazarelli’s or Yesterday’s if you haven’t already. Then catch a show at the Okoboji Summer Theatre. The production is new every week, from a play, to a comedy to a musical.
For those who just want to eat and drink tamely, grab a drink and a listen to the live acoustic music at Bracco. Then settle in for the night at Okoboji Brewing Company or West O Beer Company.
For those looking for a lively nightlife, this option is for you. Grab a burger and beer from The Dry Dock or The Outrigger. Then you’re the captain of your night, but here’s a map: make sure to hit up Captains Getaway (check out the rooftop!), The Gardens, and Nautical.
Sunday Morning – Brunch
Whatever door you picked for your Saturday night, the next door you’re going through is at O’Farrell’s Sisters or The 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 Arnold’s Park shops (including The Three Sons – home base for the University of Okoboji), Central Emporium (also in Arnold’s Park), or Homeology (right across from the entrance of the Park!)
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!