Start Planning Your Summer Trip to Okoboji

The Inn Hotel in Arnolds Park provides a central spot for a summer stay. It’s especially convenient—a five-minute walk or less—to free concerts such as the Rolling Stoners on July 2 and Melissa Ethridge on Aug. 13. Photograph: The Inn Hotel.

It might feel like summer is still ages away, but it’s time to start planning a great lake escape. With free concerts throughout summer, kitschy amusement park rides and games, two free museums and more, there are plenty of dry-land activities at Arnolds Park in addition to water fun. Here are five reasons to visit this summer.

1. Sweet stay. Right in Arnolds Park, the Inn Hotel embraces a 1920s lake vibe, with chic decor throughout, including the pool. The Beach Club Lounge specializes in summer drinks such as spicy cucumber margaritas. Weekends are filling up.

2. 
Boat patrol. No need to bring your own watercraft. Find rentals for paddleboards, Jet Skis, parasails and more. Or, book a cruise on the Queen II for a relaxed way to see the scenery.

3. 
Classic shows. Catch comedy or live tunes at the Roof Garden Ballroom; country band Parmalee plays June 23 and ’80s rockers Night Ranger perform July 8. Or, watch a free concert—Melissa Etheridge is a highlight this year.

4. 
Fun and games. No trip to Boji would be complete without a ride on the Legend roller coaster. Built in 1930, it’s the 13th-oldest roller coaster in the world. You can also race your besties in go-carts, play vintage pinball, or check out antique wooden boats at the Maritime Museum.

5.
Tasty treats. Find snacks to enjoy while strolling through Arnolds Park. Options include frozen chocolate-covered bananas, saltwater taffy, coffee, popcorn and hand-dipped ice cream. There’s also sit-down dining.

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