Update in 2019: South Shore Inn is now called Lakeside Inn. The building has been renovated into boutique rooms. The information in this post may no longer adequately describe the hotel.
The longest stop of the Great Iowa Road Trip was Clear Lake, a charming beach town in northern Iowa.
There are several lodging options around Clear Lake, but very few have a lakeside view. We lucked out with South Shore Inn, though. You couldn’t get much closer than our room!
Our stay was hosted by Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce. Let me tell you about the place!
What to expect at South Shore Inn
I’ll be honest with you, when you pull up to the inn’s parking lot, you’re not going to be impressed. Don’t turn around. Go in, walk through your room, and check out the view. This is what you came for.
One of our neighbors walked by one morning and said to me “This is God’s country.”
All rooms face the lake, and you either have a walkout door to the patio or a balcony. It’s not exactly private on the ground level, as you share the view and area with The Landing Patio Bar & Grill, a popular restaurant, and your neighbors. I’m not complaining – I was smitten with the view.
We used the patio frequently, bringing the inn’s complimentary breakfast outside.
We let our son stay up late one night to watch the sunset.
And one quiet morning, I walked out with my son to just sit on the dock. It was one of those moments you wish for when planning a vacation but never actually plan on happening.
The inn has its own dock. Here’s a great timelapse video we took from that dock:
South Shore Inn amenities
The rooms come with the standard inn items: Flatscreen TV, desk, mini refrigerator, that sort of thing. But the big selling point (besides the view) was the huge whirl pool tub.
There’s also a complimentary breakfast each morning, featuring a favorite of my kids’, the waffle maker. There was also fresh fruit, which is a nice score when on vacation. You’re going to want to eat breakfast outdoors.
One downside to the inn is the parking lot. Inn guests share it with diners at The Landing. It’s not a problem during the day, but if you go out for dinner and return later in the evening, you might not find a spot. There’s overflow parking across the street, though, so you’re not totally out of luck.
I take it back, there’s a second downside, at least, if you ask a kid: There’s no pool. But there’s a gigantic lake and a couple beaches nearby, so if this is a complaint coming from your kid, point that out.
The owners also keep a fridge stocked with bottled water, which is super helpful when you’re on the go. There’s also coffee that’s always available in the lobby.
What’s near South Shore Inn
The Landing Patio Bar & Grill is on the premise. It was literally 10 steps from our bedroom. The waitstaff is friendly and the burgers are great. There’s also a kids menu.
There’s a playground across the street to tire your kids out.
But you’re there for the lake, right? You want a beach. There are three beaches around Clear Lake. The two closest are City Beach and the Clear Lake State Park beach. They’re not far away at all.
If you go
South Shore Inn
Where: 1603 South Shore Drive, Clear Lake, Iowa
* * * * *
Plan your own Great Iowa Road Trip!
Here’s an itinerary to plan your own Great Iowa Road Trip! To learn more about some of the destinations on this trip, check out these posts:
Rustic charm in suburban Iowa at Wildwood Lodge in Des Moines, Iowa
Adventure in a Yurt in Clear Lake, Iowa
Fun on the rails with Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad
Get even more inspiration from my bucket lists for Des Moines and Clear Lake!