Iowa’s lakes come in all shapes and sizes: from small lakes perfect for a family weekend getaway to larger lakes with more room for boating, fishing, and other recreational activities. So whether you’re looking for a quick trip or something more long term, Iowa has just what you’re seeking when it comes to beauty and relaxation.

The lakes in Iowa offer a large range of outdoor recreation activities. For those who enjoy history and culture, there is no shortage of it around the lakes. Iowa’s lakes are surrounded by small towns and cities that each have their own unique feel to them.

We’ve cataloged the biggest list of lakes in Iowa on the web and our listhings will help you plan your next Iowa lake vacation. We’ll help you plan:

  • A romantic winter getaway to a scenic lake in Iowa
  • A fishing trip with your buddies on the clearest lakes in Iowa
  • A family getaway full of watersports on the best lakes for boating in Iowa
  • A summer excursion to the best Iowa lakes for swimming

Find Iowa Lakes Near You

Iowa has eleven lakes (or lakeshore) designated as National Natural Landmarks and fifteen lakes designated as State Parks.

Many of the lakes in Iowa offer public services such as: boat rentals, stores within walking distance from your campsite, swimming beaches with lifeguards, organized events on some weekends, wildlife preserves or sanctuaries where you can go bird watching or go hiking, guest docks for visiting friends and family on other boats, houses available to rent for those not camping, and many others.

The best lakes to visit in Iowa

The lakes in Iowa range from a few feet deep to several hundred feet in depth with a large area of open water for boating and water sports. Just about every lake has some sort of public boat dock available where you can rent boats or drive your own personal boat onto the lakes surface. The lakes also have public beaches with lifeguards where swimmers can play in the sun all day long without having to worry about getting their hair wet or ruining their clothes.

Iowa lakes are also prime real estate for fishing. Many lakes offer public access areas where you can fish off the shoreline without dealing with private landowners throwing you off their property. Some lakes even have special platforms built into the water where boats can dock while people fish off of them.

There are several lakes that overlook very scenic views including: Clear Lake, Lake Icaria, Lake Red Rock, Lake Wapello, and Singing Hills Lake. These lakes often attract visitors who enjoy looking at beautiful landscapes during their free time.

Many lakes in Iowa are surrounded by campgrounds where tourists can pitch a tent or place an RV in order to get away from city life for a while. There are also large resorts on some lakes which provide casino gaming, tennis courts, golf courses, swimming pools, and lakeside dining.

The lakes in Iowa have a long history dating back to the pioneers of America’s westward expansion. In fact, most lakes were formed several hundred years ago after large chunks of ice that broke off from glaciers during the last Ice Age floated down from Canada and melted into lakes with open water.

In today’s modern era lakes provide people with an amazing place to relax all summer long where they can swim or fish without leaving home. Although lakes aren’t as popular as they once were a half a century ago, they still offer enough activities for many people to enjoy on a regular basis throughout the entire year.

Okoboji lakes are lakes in the Spirit Lake area of Dickinson County, Iowa (specifically Arnolds Park) that served as popular vacation destinations for families all throughout the 20th century due to their beauty and small-town feel. Many lakeside settlements were inundated with human activity during this period because lakes provided the perfect place to go on weekends or even live permanently. The lakes became well known for their resort towns full of cabins which attracted many tourists who wanted to get away from the big city life they often dealt with in larger cities like Minneapolis-St. Paul or Chicago.

Many lakes in Iowa boast a long history going back generations upon generations of family members spending time together at lakeside while enjoying the sun and sand. Iowa lakes provide a lot of entertainment activities such as: fishing, sailing, boating, skiing/wakeboarding/tubing (water sports) during the summer; ice skating in wintertime; and visiting historical landmarks all year long.

Iowa lakes are great places to get away from city life for a while and enjoy the peace and quiet that nature has to offer.

Clear Lake is an expansive body of water which encompasses parts of Dickinson County and Emmet County. The lake serves as a popular vacation spot due to its convenient location near cities like Spencer or Spirit Lake where people could walk into town if they forgot something or need food. It’s also a very well-maintained lakeside park with several amenities for tourists to use, including public restrooms, boat ramps, docks for fishing boats, numerous jetties in the water where boaters can tie up their crafts when they’re not driving them around in the lake, marinas with storage areas for boats and watercrafts.

The lakeside town of Arnolds Park is known as a tourist hotspot during summertime when people come from all over Iowa to stay in cabins or hotel rooms while enjoying the lake’s beaches. Many lakes are located within reasonable driving distance so families can go on weekend trips if they want to get away from city life for a while before returning home at night. There are also lakes that are close enough to commute to every day after work which makes it easier for people who live in a lakeside town to have a lakeside job as well.

Iowa lakes are great places to take a vacation or just a trip for a weekend to get away from city life and experience nature up close and personal.