If you’re planning a trip to Okoboji, Iowa, you’re most likely in need of a hotel or other type of accommodations for your family. Okoboji is not a one-day kind of region to visit. We spent three days exploring the area and still didn’t get to a few places on our list. This guide should help you narrow down where you’ll want to stay during your trip to Okoboji!
Disclosure: We were hosted by Vacation Okoboji, which provided some complementary experiences and hotel stays. This post may include affiliate links. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.
Where do you want to stay in Okoboji – near the action or away from it?
When I write about Okoboji, I’m referring to a region of Iowa’s Great Lakes, and not just the town of Okoboji. With several lakes (West Okoboji, East Okoboji, Upper Gar, Lower Gar, Minnewashta and Spirit Lake), you can easily find a location that suits your preference of being near the action or away from it.
A lot of restaurants and attractions my family visited during our weekend in Okoboji were near Arnolds Park and Okoboji. I would recommend looking for lodging near those two cities if you want to be near shops, Arnolds Park Amusement Park, beaches, and a ton of restaurants.
The downside to being in Arnolds Park and Okoboji is that you will encounter significantly more traffic and noise.
If that’s not what you’re looking for, consider staying further from the center of activity on the western side of the lakes, like Wahpeton or West Okoboji.
Our resort, Crescent Beach Family Resort, was in Milford (near Wahpeton), which was a quiet region that was still less than 10 miles from all attractions. It’s near Gulf Point State Park.
The downside to Crescent Beach’s location was there weren’t a lot of dining options nearby for a quick bite to eat. The upside (if you’re into doing so while on vacation) was that our suite had its own kitchen to prepare meals.
Is lakeside lodging important to you?
Of course the lakes are a big for vacationers in Okoboji! You’ll find more than 20 hotels, campsites and resorts that are lakeside.
If you are on a budget, look “inland” for accommodations. The perk with these inland hotels will be that you’re more likely to find a pool there, which for traveling families, is almost a required amenity.
There are also cabins, bed & breakfasts, and camping options.
What amenities do you want in your Okoboji hotel?
While typically when traveling with two kids, I just need a place with enough beds and a pool. In Okoboji, the pool was not necessary since we had beaches at our disposal.
What are you looking for in a beach vacation hotel? Okoboji accommodations range from bare minimum motels to spacious resorts that include use of watercraft into their price.
Crescent Beach Family Resort is a mid-range resort that offered regular rooms and suites. We stayed in a two-floor suite with lake views, a kitchen, and two bathrooms. It’s ideal for families.
Beyond the amenities in the room, the resort offered free use of kayaks, SUP boards, paddle boats and putters for its mini golf course.
Plus, it had a large playground, fire put, on-site bar and restaurant, and a complimentary continental breakfast.
If that type of resort appeals to you, check out the options for the region at Vacation Okoboji. You’ll find there’s everything from a resort with an indoor waterpark, plus lakeside resorts with pools, hot tubs, and some in-suite jacuzzis.
Are you looking for a kid-friendly resort or hotel?
Okoboji is an incredibly kid-friendly destination. Most Okoboji hotels will be suitable for families, and some have suites available.
At the Crescent Beach Family Resort, you’ll notice right away that they cater to families – the big playground gives it away.
However, it’s the more subtle amenities that reaffirms its family-friendly atmosphere. They provide kid-sized life jackets when guests check out a watercraft.
Crescent Beach also has a big box of beach toys on the sandy beach. Since I didn’t pack buckets or shovels for the kids for our trip, it was a particularly great find for us.
My daughter spent every chance she had on the beach, digging through the sand and wading into the cool water (it was late May and the water hadn’t warmed much).
If you’re looking for a kid-free getaway, consider staying at a bed & breakfast, which typically cater more to couples and adults looking to stay somewhere quieter.
Do you need an Okoboji rental or hotel large enough for a group?
I think Okoboji would be a great family reunion destination – it’s affordable, it has both indoor and outdoor activities, and it’s in the center of the U.S.
Many resorts are large enough to have rooms or suites for families.
There was a family reunion staying at the Crescent Beach, while we were there. The family had rooms at this resort and met nightly on grassy lawn for a cookout and games.
Crescent Beach does have larger suites and cottages, including one that sleeps 12. You can see in the picture above that the cottage is in the background.
Do your research to find accommodations that suit your group’s needs. If you like the idea of everyone staying in one big home, there are Airbnb options that accommodate 20-30 people.
How to save money: If you haven’t set up an account on Airbnb, use my affiliate link and save up to $65 off your first booking!
Start looking for Okoboji hotels
Hopefully, you have an idea of what you’re looking for now and are ready to start planning your trip to Lake Okoboji! Here’s where to find the best lodging for you:
- If you’re looking for a bed & breakfast, start with the highly-rated The Oakwood Inn.
- Want a hotel with a waterpark? Check out Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center.
- With so many lakes in the Okoboji area, there are several towns to choose from the put you near one (or more) of them. Find hotels in Spirit Lake, Okoboji, Milford, and Arnolds Park.
Plan your Lake Okoboji trip
Once you’re thoroughly inspired, check out these posts that go into more details about things to do in Okoboji: