7 Things To Do In Spirit Lake Iowa

Iowa is a beautiful state, with rolling hills, lush farmland, and a wealth of interesting towns and cities that truly bring it to life.

Of all the small towns and cities in Iowa, Spirit Lake stands out for its unique attractions, activities, and events – which you won’t want to miss.

Located in Dickinson County in northwest Iowa, Spirit Lake is ideal for those looking for an active getaway. From hiking trails and scenic drives to unique local restaurants and noteworthy cultural attractions, there’s something for everyone here! In this article, we’ll cover some of the most unmissable things to do in Spirit Lake, Iowa, that will make your vacation extra special.

Visit the East Okoboji Lake

Spirit Lake, Iowa, is a great destination for visitors, parents, and travelers. Home to the sparkling East Okoboji Lake, plenty of fun activities are available in and around the area. Visiting East Okoboji lake is one unmissable thing you won’t want to miss out on during your stay in Spirit Lake.

The lake is well-known for its crystal-clear waters, sandy beach, and abundant fishing opportunities. You can enjoy a day of sunbathing or reclining on the dock with a book. There’s no shortage of activities both on land and water, with paddle board rentals and boat tours available. You can even sign up for lessons if you want to try something new — windsurfing, sailing, or kiteboarding — there’s something for everyone!

Whether it be a summer afternoon spent swimming in the lake’s cool waters or a winter morning spent ice fishing, there’s no doubt that visiting East Okoboji Lake should be at the top of your to-do list when in Spirit Lake, Iowa!

Fishing With the Family

Families looking to spend quality time together while on vacation in Spirit Lake, Iowa, should consider spending a day out fishing. Located only a few minutes away from places such as West Okoboji Lake is the perfect place for a weekend fishing trip or a longer one.

The lake has many species, including black bass, northern pike, and yellow perch. If you want an even bigger challenge, try ice fishing during winter.

Fishing can be a great bonding activity for family members of all ages and abilities. You could take along some basic equipment or hire a local guide to help you learn the best spots, techniques, and tips to guarantee you don’t come back empty-handed!

More: 10+ Things To Do In Waterloo Iowa

Take a Hike in Arnolds Park Amusement Park

If you’re looking for a classic outdoorsy experience, Spirit Lake, Iowa, is the place to hit up. A can’t-miss outdoor attraction is the Arnolds Park Amusement Park—a great spot for adventurous looking to explore beautiful nature without leaving the city.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a first-time visitor, there are many incredible views and trails to explore here. With over ten miles of paths, hikers have many options, ranging from easy beginner trails to more rugged advanced jungle treks. Enjoy the fresh air while you wander through dense pine forests and steep ravines, taking in sweeping views.

The park is also home to numerous other activities, including camping sites and nature centers featuring educational programs about wildlife conservation. You can even rent kayaks and paddle boats on the lake! So don’t miss out on this unique opportunity—grab your hiking boots and head out for an unforgettable adventure in Arnolds Park Amusement Park!

Bird Watching at Okamanpeedan State Park

If you’re a bird watcher, you’ll want to visit Okamanpeedan State Park in Spirit Lake. It’s one of Iowa’s premier birding destinations and offers visitors the chance to see a variety of bird species all year round.

The park is home to over 250 unique species, many of which are migratory, including warblers, orioles, eagles, and woodpeckers. Whether you’re an experienced birder or just getting started, there are tons for you to enjoy.

Some of the great features of the park include:

  • A system of trails, boardwalks, and observation platforms perfect for finding the best spots to watch birds
  • A native prairie restoration area with lots of open space and tall grasses which attracts certain species
  • Hiking trails that travel through wooded islands in West Lake that are home to herons, pelicans, and other waterfowl
  • A pollinator garden planted with native plants that attract butterflies and other pollinators

Okamanpeedan State Park offers some truly awe-inspiring views that will leave lasting memories for years. Plan your visit today!

Biking on the Iowa Great Lakes Trail

One of the unmissable things to do in Spirit Lake, Iowa, is biking on the Iowa Great Lakes Trail. This 15-mile trail runs along the southern shores of the 5 lakes and provides a gorgeous view of the lake, as well as lush forests, prairies, and wetlands.

The trail suits everyone, whether you are a beginner or a more advanced cyclist. There are rest areas every few miles, so you can easily grab a bite to eat or use the restroom as needed.

There’s something for everyone; you can explore easy-type systems like gravel trails and boardwalks, challenging mountain biking trails with many curves and hills, or multi-use trails that are great for families with kids or dogs. You can also find some amazing fishing spots along the way if you want to take a break from biking or have some fun on your bike ride.

To ensure your experience is safe and enjoyable, bring all necessary equipment like helmets, lights/reflectors for night rides, repair kits with spare tubes/tires, etc. With these tips, you will have an amazing time biking on the Iowa Great Lakes Trail!

Enjoy Some Shopping and Dining on Main Street

Main Street is where the action’s at in Spirit Lake—you can enjoy some shopping, dining, and entertainment here. Plenty of unique stores offer souvenirs, memorabilia to take home with you, and sweet little vintage shops that’ll keep you busy for hours. And when it comes to dining, there’s something here to suit all tastes!

Head to The Breakfast Barn for breakfast and brunch, swing by A&W Restaurants for lunch, or feast on country-style comfort food at Javi’s Grill in the evening. If sweet treats are more your thing, check out Sweet Nostalgia or head to Chocolate Exchange – they have a fantastic selection of handmade chocolates and candy.

You can’t go past The Dairy Queen for fresh-roasted coffee and delicious food—it also has a great outdoor seating area! And nice days will be fun when you visit Boutiques & Gift shops for retail therapy along Main Street.

Take a tour and taste local wines

Visiting Spirit Lake, Iowa, is a great opportunity to tour and taste local wines. You can sample any 30+ varietals they offer at the aptly named Okoboji Wines. They boast of having something for every palette. They have it if you’re looking for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, or something more exotic like Blueberry Merlot!

The atmosphere at Okoboji Wines is always friendly and inviting. You can take part in one of their complimentary tours to get an inside look at how the wines are made or sign up for one of their educational and informative classes to learn about local wine-producing lore.

If you prefer tasting before buying, you can sample any of their wines in their tasting room, where the knowledgeable staff will answer any questions about their selection. You can also purchase bottles in-store and get advice from professionals about which wine is best for special occasions or dinner parties. 


Spirit Lake, Iowa, has something for everyone, from fishing and swimming to shopping and theater. Whether you’re looking for a fun family outing or simply want to take in the sights and sounds of this unique community, there’s something here to keep you and your loved ones entertained.

So, if you’re looking for an exciting getaway, consider packing your bags and heading to Spirit Lake, Iowa! Its stunning scenery, lively locals, and endless activities make it the perfect destination for your next vacation!