The Iowa Great Lakes Region for an Outstanding Family Vacation

If you are looking for an economical yet entertaining and family filled Summer Getaway or Vacation then the Iowa Great Lakes is the place to go.

Iowa’s Lake Okoboji is the summer playground for fishing, boating, going to an amusement park, riding go-karts, swimming, theater, golf, and enjoying wild life areas.  It is located at the junction of US highways 71 and 9, which intersect in the city of Spirit Lake, Iowa.

The Iowa Great Lakes Region was first settled in the 1850s and is home to Arnolds Park,, an amusement park with rides for young and old.  Arnolds Park is a wonderful place for a child’s birthday party or just a weekend of fun and games. Bumper cars, roller coaster, go karts, tilted house, and much more. If it’s a cruise you want you then take a ride  aboard the Okoboji Queen II.

The Queen II has her legacy on West Okoboji Lake of over a decade of operation. If it is the beautiful glacial lake that you want to see there is no better way to see it then aboard the Queen II.

And, what getaway or vacation is complete without a little sightseeing, shopping and eating? The area is full of gift shops, antique shops, clothing stores and fine places to eat also. Some of the sights consist of the Abbie Gardner Cabin, which is the site of the 1857 “Spirit Lake Massacre.” The Abbie Gardner Cabin was first known for the “Massacre” and later became one of Iowa’s first tourist attractions. The Abbie Gardner Cabin survives as a reminder of one of Iowa’s most tragic events during its frontier days. The dramatic stories of Abbie Gardner and the Dakota leader, Inkpadutah can be found here at the Cabin and Museum. The cabin and Museum can be found just one block west of Arnolds Park. The Spine Trail or Dickinson county Hiking trail covers an extensive area reaching to almost every natural habitat within Dickinson County. The trails are wide enough to allow for travel in two directions thus making this an excellent choice for hiking, biking, roller-blading, jogging or just a casual walk. The area also provides an abundance of lodging. Motels, cabins, cottages, resorts and campgrounds are abundant throughout the area. Adjacent to Arnold’s park is a beautiful campground and cabin and cottage area.

Lodging rates in and around Arnolds Park during the spring and summer can be very expensive. If you are willing to drive an extra 10-15 miles you can save a bundle!  In the sleepy community of Fostoria (6 miles from Spencer and 6 miles from Milford) is The Prairie Cottage, a private vacation rental.  Depending on the length of your stay and the number of folks in your party, you can rent this 2-bedroom private home with a large enclosed patio area for as little as $85 a night.  It sleeps 6 comfortably and has all kinds of extras. See their Web site at:

During the month of July 2007, you can save $35 a night if you book the home for 3 or more nights and you can make your reservations online from their Web site.

Whidbey Island

LANGLEY, Whidbey Island — The hotel guest must have spent the afternoon there, snuggled in her wooden deck chair amid cushions and a blanket for a fresh-air nap. She was there when I arrived at the Inn at Langley and stepped out on my waterfront deck adjacent to hers. She was there when I left for a walk, and still slumbering peacefully when I returned. Click to read more

Find Iowa Lodging Information at 5 Web sites

Plan an Iowa Getaway or Family Vacation, and let the premier Bed and Breakfast Association of Iowa, IBBIA, help. IBBIA makes lodging accommodations news available to travelers statewide on 5 different Web sites. Find regional information at the following new Web sites:

Northwest Northeast Southwest Southeast
You could also visit their main site at:

Iowa Bed and Breakfast Lodging Accommodations

Which Region of Iowa Are You Traveling Into?

The premier Iowa Bed and Breakfast Association has just made it easier for travelers to find outstanding lodging as well as “things to see and do.” Their main Web site at has always been helpful to inn travelers, but the addition of four regional Web sites will be even more helpful to travelers. Here are links to the new sites:

And, if you’d like to receive a free copy of their Directory send a request to inns[at]iabedandbreakfast[dot]com

Fall Foliage Show in Northwest Iowa

Iowa has wonderful Fall Foliage shows across the state, my preference is Northwest Iowa, but Northeast Iowa is also known nationwide for its forested bluffs that risehundreds of feet above the Mississippi River.  So whichever region you select, you won’t be disappointed. 

I prefer the area around Lake Okoboji, maybe that is because it just in my own backyard.  But once you visit the area, you too may agree with me once you see the landscape in hues of orange, yellow, russet, and gold as this fall show frames the lake itself. It is simply breathtaking!

You’ll want to plan an overnight stay as the area is filled with sights, shopping, and fun things to do. To view some of your best lodging choices in the area visit the Iowa Bed & Breakfast Innkeeper Association’s Web site at where you can locate inns by reion or by an online map.