The Iowa Great Lakes area has some of the best water bodies found in the Midwest, which is why many people want to invest in Okoboji real estate. But did you know that Okoboji has the most state parks in all 99 counties found right here in the northwest of Iowa? Okoboji offers residents and travelers over 10 state parks made up of diverse ecosystems, amongst some the most stunning natural landscapes in all of Iowa.

Whether you want to enjoy the tranquility of nature or experience a variety of unique recreational activities, Okoboji is the place to be for anyone who enjoys being immersed in nature. At Hoien Realty, we've been in the area for over 50 years, so here's a list of our favorite state parks in our beautiful Okoboji.

1. Gull Point State Park

Located on the crystal-clear waters of West Okoboji Lake, Gull Point State Park has been a part of the community since 1933, serving the community as a public lodge. The rustic lodge features a massive kitchen facility and will seat up to 140 people, which makes for a wonderful place to gather for special occasions. There's also a campground which is the most popular in the Iowa Great Lakes area, with 112 campsites, 60 sites with electrical hookups, modern restrooms and shower facilities, paved roads, and playgrounds.

This park is known to be a hiker's dream with self-guided trails and is a great spot to view habitats full of white-tail deer, and a variety of songbirds. The trails are open during the winter for cross-country skiing.

The best part about Gull Point State Park is the access to the lake. Gull Point State Park has a perfectly shaded beach for sunbathing and splashing around. The variety of fish that can be found here is what brings Anglers from all over to explore a challenging fishing experience.

2. Kenue Park

Located just outside of the Dickinson County Nature Center, Kenue Park rests upon an ancient glacial kame that’s surrounded by a spectacular oak tree savanna, dotted with native grasses. The diverse ecosystem is made up of tallgrass prairie, and a wetland.

One of the best ways to discover the park is to trek along with your GPS-enabled smartphone to locate the 4 Ranger Rick geocaches. Walking along the paths dotted with big bluestem, and purple cornflowers, you’ll come across ospreys, and rehabilitated trumpeter swans. Kenue Park has a dedicated Pollinator Paradise, as well as an 18-hole professional level disc course. The winding trails through Kenue Park will have you mesmerized with the unique setting of rolling hills and the special wildlife that’s found within.

3. Elinor Bedell State Park

Located on the shores of East Lake Okoboji, Elinor Bedell State Park is one of the remaining open spaces of nearly 80 acres of park. This parcel of land is the best place to experience the Iowa Great Lakes' prairies, oak savannas, and wetlands along the shorelines. Nature seekers can enjoy this vast land by walking the extensive trail system, linking to the restored landscapes and providing public access to plenty of recreational opportunities.

Many people enjoy boating, swimming, and fishing off the East Okoboji Lake shoreline. You can also camp here comfortably with well-equipped RV campsites, a shelter with a kitchenette, modern facilities, and plenty of picnic tables. Birdwatching and bicycling are also great activities to enjoy in this protected land.

4. Mini-Wakan State Park

Located 6 miles north of Big Spirit Lake, Mini-Wakan State Park recently completed the restoration of the 1930s Civilian Conversation Corps lodge (preserved by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Spirit Lake Protective Association) and is now open to the public offering a unique place for family picnics and cookouts. The stone clad turn-of-the-century lodge has access to boat ramps and Crandall’s beach where everyone is welcome to swim, soak up the sun, and fish. Mini-Wakan borders the area known as “the grade”, which provides amazing access for the shoreline fisherman. This state park is a well-known place for hiking and bird watching.

Posted by Eric Hoien on
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