Field Trip: Explore Iowa’s Great Lakes region

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.”


Learn more:


Photos and words by Dawn Frary
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 181

Curious what's happening this weekend? Sign up here to stay in the know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene


Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.

Little Village
2019 Give Guide

Get to know some of the nonprofits helping to make the CRANDIC a better place to live.