Okoboji Lakes/Spirit Lake

Overview

Introduction

Located in the northwestern part of the state on the Minnesota border, this area offers year-round recreational facilities, from swimming and boating to snowmobiling. There are two Okoboji lakes—East Okoboji and West Okoboji. The western lake is bordered by two state parks, and Spirit Lake, just north of the Okobojis, is the site of another state park. The towns of Arnolds Park, Okoboji and Spirit Lake cater to vacationers.

Aside from the lakes themselves, there are several area attractions. The Abbie Gardner State Historic Site in Arnolds Park is a restored log cabin and museum named after Abbie Gardner, one of the members of a pioneer family killed by the Sioux during the Spirit Lake Massacre in 1857. The town is also the site of the Arnolds Park Amusement Park (open Memorial Day-Labor Day), which offers rides, games and entertainment. Visit the Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum to learn about the history of boating in the area, then tour Cayler Prairie, a remnant of virgin tall-grass prairie that is a state-owned preserve. Approximately 23 mi/37 km west of the lakes is the Ocheyedan Burial Mound, measuring 170 ft/52 m top to bottom. The Okoboji Lakes are approximately 155 mi/250 km northwest of Des Moines.

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