Area Attractions


The interconnected Iowa Great Lakes extend from the Minnesota border several miles southwest. The centerpiece of the five beautiful lakes is the corridor between East and West Lake Okoboji.  Some say, “this is where all the action is!” Water sports on West Lake Okoboji range from sailing to scuba diving and from swimming to water skiing. Sandy beaches invite all to spend lazy afternoons by the shore and in the swimming areas. For the more daring, wind surfing and parasailing provide more opportunities for excitement. The West Okoboji lifestyle tends to be a casual one in the spring and summer months when visitors to the area begin arriving to enjoy lake activities and the local events. Family reunions and fun BBQ gatherings are a familiar and enjoyable way to spend lazy days on the lake.

Emerson Bay The Emerson Bay Recreation Area is located on the south-west shore of West Okoboji Lake.  It is the perfect place for all kinds of land and water activities. The recreation area is a 120-acre playground of native plants and wildlife, with plenty of fun activities. Boat ramps are conveniently placed, and there are plenty of nature trails as well as a lake-side observation platform — a perfect location for bird-watching in the early morning and evening. Pets are allowed in this area, so the family dog is welcomed. There are some prime fishing spots in the area, with opportunities for shallow fishing in the bay and fishing in the deeper waters of the lake.  Fishing in and around Emerson Bay will yield yellow perch, bucktails, bulldogs, bluegills, and crank fish. In the winter months, the mouth of the bay is a great spot for walleyes.

Vern & Coila Memorial ParkLocated in the heart of a lovely residential area, the park is dedicated to Vern and Coila Titterington of Terrace Park. Cayler Prairie If you wish to see a historic virgin prairie, be sure to visit Cayler Prairie State Botanical Preserve, located five miles west of West Okoboji. An example of increasingly rare virgin prairie grassland; a unique outdoor laboratory. The 160 acre prairie is a National Natural Landmark and among the finest remaining examples of Iowa’s historic landscape, ranging from dry to wet prairie and marsh.

Green’s Beach One of Okoboji’s most popular public swimming areas is Green’s Beach. Picnics and swimming at Green’s Beach has lingered in the memories of many of West Okoboji residents and returning visitors!     AREA ATTRACTIONS The “Iowa Great Lakes area” of northwest Iowa offers a tremendous array of outdoor recreation opportunities, year-round. The unique setting of beautiful and clear Lake West Okoboji and other water bodies truly provides wonderful opportunities for outdoor recreation. The focal point for state parks and recreation areas in this region is beautiful Emerson Bay Recreation Area and State Park. It provides a pleasing, shaded setting on West Okoboji Lake and offers a well-rounded variety of outdoor recreation facilities. Click here to learn more or make a reservation. The City of West Okoboji is minutes from the historic mid-western amusement park, Arnolds Park. Other major landmarks near our city include the Central Emporium shopping mall, Emerald Hills Golf Club, and the Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum which highlights the history of the lakes region through photos and artifacts. These items include antique and classic wooden boats, an old boathouse, a replica of the former landmark store, period swimming suits, vintage amusement-park items, and a 1939 Chris-Craft boat that was raised after 50 years in the depths of West Okoboji Lake. Our area is filled with history. A favorite nearby historical attraction is the Abbie Gardner Sharp Cabin Museum, a site of the 1857 “Spirit Lake Massacre,” one of the few violent conflicts between European settlers and Native Americans in the Iowa Great Lakes region.