11 Things To Do In Clear Lake, Iowa

Are you looking for a perfect place to spend your weekend or summer getaway?

Look no further than Clear Lake, Iowa! Located in North Central Iowa, this beautiful destination offers something for everyone. Whether you want to explore the outdoors, immerse yourself in local culture and history, or take in its stunning natural beauty—there’s no shortage of things to do in Clear Lake.

The options are seemingly endless, from outdoor activities and water sports to shopping and dining. Here are the favorite things around Clear Lake to help you make the most of your time.

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Experience the Outdoors – Camping, Fishing, and More

Clear Lake has these and more if you’re looking for outdoor activities. Fishing is one of the top three most popular outdoor activities in the United States, and Clear Lake provides plenty of opportunities. The lake has several fish species, including bass, catfish, crappie, walleye, and more. Aside from fishing, you can also partake in canoeing, kayaking, bodyboarding, surfing, motorboating, and more.

The resorts around Clear Lake make camping a great option if you want to take advantage of the outdoors. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot or a resort filled with activities such as fishing and boating, there’s something for everyone.

Enjoy a walk or picnic at Clear Lake State Park

If you want something more active while visiting Clear Lake, you won’t miss out on the 50 acres of open spaces, mature oak trees, and stunning lake views at Clear Lake State Park. The park provides 10 acres of picnic grounds with tables and grills, perfect for getting together with family or friends. As you explore the park grounds, don’t forget to watch for local wildlife; this area is home to numerous species of birds, foxes, and other small mammals.

Situated on the shore of California’s largest freshwater lake, Clear Lake Park is a great spot to relax during your travels. Stroll around the lakefront and admire stunning views that have drawn visitors for centuries. Or take some time out for a picnic in the sun — it’s popular amongst locals and tourists! Whether you have a BBQ or just enjoy some sandwiches in the sun, having lunch at Clear Lake State Park is an experience not to be missed.

Visit the Surf Ballroom & Museum

If you’re a music fan, you should visit the Surf Ballroom & Museum in Clear Lake. Built-in 1933, this iconic music venue has seen some of the greatest acts in history—including Buddy Holly’s last concert. With its 6,300 square foot dance floor and capacity of 2100, it remains one of the most storied venues in Iowa.

A trip to the Surf Ballroom isn’t all about musical nostalgia—it’s also an educational and cultural experience. The museum features interactive exhibits with historical artifacts and photographs, entertaining audio-visual displays, beautiful pieces of artwork, and even a replica recording studio. And for those who want a truly unique experience, book a tour to learn about the history behind this special place.

Go fishing or kayaking on Clear Lake

Clear Lake is a great destination for outdoor adventure, especially when it comes to fishing and kayaking. This beautiful lake is known for its stocked largemouth bass and channel catfish population, making it ideal for fishing. Several rental shops offer everything from tackle and rods to boats, making getting a great day on the water easy.

In addition to fishing, Clear Lake is home to some of the best kayaking spots in the region. Kayakers can enjoy a peaceful paddle out onto the lake or explore one of the many breathtaking coves surrounding it. The calm waters make kayaking an easy and accessible activity for those of all ages and experience levels.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or a first-time kayaker, Clear Lake offers plenty of options for outdoor adventure. Be sure to bring your camera with you, as you’ll be sure to capture some amazing views along the way!

Take a sunset cruise with Lady of the Lake

As the light fades and the sky turns shades of orange, pink, and yellow, there’s no better way to take in the beauty of Clear Lake than a sunset cruise. The Lady of the Lake is a stylishly decorated paddlewheel excursion boat that can hold up to 10 or more passengers for a leisurely cruise around Clear Lake.

Your experienced captain is eager to reveal all the interesting sights you’ll see on your journey. Along the way, you’ll get an up-close look at several historic dockside estates while hearing all about the lake’s storied history. Throughout your adventure, you’ll also experience beautiful wildlife–from ospreys and blue herons to families of ducks swimming nearby.

The boat rides last approximately 90 minutes. All safety guidelines are followed as you enjoy a perfect moment on the lake with friends and family. For those looking for a private tour, custom charters are available upon request.

Play a round of golf at Veteran’s Memorial Golf Club.

Travelers visiting Clear Lake, Iowa, will find plenty to do. One of the favorites is to play a round of golf at Veteran’s Memorial Golf Club. This 18-hole, par-71 golf course is located on the south shore of Clear Lake and offers a variety of tee boxes, hazards, and bunkers to test your skills. It is a superb challenge for all levels of play and one that you won’t soon forget.

There are several amenities available at Veteran’s Memorial Golf Club too:

  • Golfers with a valid handicap can join the club’s Handicap League.
  • A full-service pro shop with all the latest brands
  • Practice facilities, including a driving range and two practice greens
  • Golf lessons available from highly experienced PGA professionals
  • Private tournaments can be arranged.
  • A full-service restaurant & bar for after your round

Whether you’re a casual player or an expert golfer, Veteran’s Memorial Golf Club has something for everyone. This is your chance to hit the links in Iowa and have fun in Clear Lake’s great outdoors!

Visit the Clear Lake Arts Center

The Clear Lake Arts Center is a great place for travelers to visit for a dose of culture. Founded in 1974, the Clear Lake Arts Center is housed in the historic Carnegie Library building built in 1910. Since then, it’s been used as an educational and cultural center, featuring a variety of exhibitions, classes, and workshops.

The Arts Center offers something for everyone:

  • Exhibitions: explore an eclectic mix of art by local and national artists, covering a variety of genres like painting, sculpture, and more
  • Classes and Workshops: join hands-on classes like pottery, drawing, or print-making, or take workshops to hone your skills in areas like music or photography
  • Art Videos: check out the latest art videos from regional and international artists
  • Special Events: You’ll never be bored here, from outdoor film screenings to concerts and other programs!

So if you’re looking for something to do while visiting Clear Lake, make sure you don’t miss the Clear Lake Arts Center!

Attend the Clear Lake Farmer’s Market

The Clear Lake Farmer’s Market is held every Saturday from 8 am to 12 pm and is a great way to explore the local culture. You can find everything from produce to bread and cheeses, locally made crafts, pottery, and jewelry. Not only will you get to enjoy some yummy eats, but you’ll get to meet the people who grow them!

The market is located in downtown Clear Lake, so it’s easy enough to find. You can choose what looks good while enjoying the lovely Iowa sunshine—true Midwest relaxation. Some vendors even offer samples, so you can try them before you buy!

Moreover, the market is a great place for families and friends alike. Whether you’re looking to grab some fresh food for dinner or just admire the locally-made products, the Clear Lake Farmer’s Market has something for everyone.

Visit the Central Gardens of North Iowa

There’s no shortage of interesting places to visit in Clear Lake—one of the best in the Central Gardens of North Iowa. This living museum is a labor of love for anyone passionate about horticulture or learning about native Iowa plants and flowers. The 10-acre site includes two acres of restored prairie grasses and over 60 varieties of trees, and it’s sure to be one of the highlights of your trip.

You can take a tour with knowledgeable guides or explore on your own, using brochures listing interesting facts about the different species that call the Central Gardens home. Whether you come to admire the esthetic beauty or to enjoy an educational experience, there’s something here for everyone.

The gardens have several seasonal features that will change depending on when you visit:

  • Springtime welcomes native wildflowers blooming in April and May.
  • Summer is spectacular; visitors can expect an array of vibrant colors, along with fragrant blooms and lush foliage.
  • Fall brings lovely shades as many trees begin their transition into winter dormancy.
  • Winter offers a cooler, more tranquil environment to spend time outdoors, admiring nature’s beauty from afar.

If you choose to visit Central Gardens during your trip to Clear Lake, you won’t be disappointed!

Try a wine tasting at Lake Time Brewery’s tasting room

Located on the southernmost shore of Clear Lake, you can’t miss the Lake Time Brewery, where visitors can enjoy delicious craft beers or even try a wine tasting if they’re so inclined. Home to various award-winning Iowa wines, it’s easy to spend an afternoon sipping on some of the best options and maybe even discover a new favorite!

At Lake Time Brewery, you can also enjoy the following:

  • A selection of over 10 beers on tap, from pale ales and IPAs to ambers and stouts
  • A selection of over 10 Iowa wines, from dry white and blush to sweet reds
  • Beautiful views of Clear Lake from their outdoor seating area
  • Delicious locally sourced light bites
  • Variety of events (live music, comedy nights, etc.) throughout the year

Whether you’re just stopping by for a glass or two in their beautiful tasting room or want to try their wine flight for something special, there’s plenty for visitors to enjoy at Lake Time Brewery’s tasting room. Get ready to explore everything that Clear Lake has to offer!

Enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants

Clear Lake offers a selection of eateries that will satisfy any appetite. You’ll surely find something delicious from Starboard Market, which offers sandwiches, wraps, and salads, to Ge-Jo’s by the Lake with their classic American pub food. Or, for a more casual dining experience, try Rumorz Bar & Grill, known for its wings and burgers.

Clear Lake has something that fits the bill regardless of your dining preference. If you’re looking for traditional home-cooked meals without having to do the cooking yourself, head to 7 Stars Family Restaurant. Here you can enjoy decadent entrees in a cozy atmosphere or take advantage of their catering services if you want something special. With so many great restaurants in one place, it’s no wonder Clear Lake has become such a popular destination!

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking for a quiet day of relaxation or an exciting adventure, Clear Lake has something to offer everyone. From kayaking and fishing to exploring historical sites, the town of Clear Lake is a hidden gem in Iowa. It’s the perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a summer vacation. Come explore the beauty of Clear Lake and find out why it’s one of the best places in the Midwest to visit!