Iowa’s northwestern Great Lakes region — sometimes referred to simply as “Okoboji” — offers endless summer fun for salty sailors and land-lovers alike. Take in a drive-in movie, visit a classic car or maritime museum, or simply spend the day sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing or swimming until the sun goes down.
Distance from Iowa City: 285 miles, about 5 hours
Nearby: Spirit Lake, Arnolds Park, Milford, Lake Park, Wahpeton
Built in 1930, the Legend Roller Coaster at Arnolds Park Amusement Park is the 13th oldest wooden roller coaster in the world.
Okoboji is home to the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, which offers science and ecology classes and community outreach, as well as awesome “science cabins” and hiking trails.
The Grotto of the Redemption, located about an hour south of the Great Lakes, is built entirely of petrified wood, agates, geodes, jasper, quartz, calcite, azurite and other precious stones. The largest man-made Grotto in the world, it is sometimes referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
Photos and words by Dawn Frary
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 181