A summer vacation to the Okoboji region means plenty of time on the water (or at least, near it). But, you gotta eat, right? So, here’s where to go when you must fuel those water adventures – the best cafes, diners and restaurants in Okoboji.
Okoboji is a quintessential summer destination in Iowa. With that in mind, know that most of the restaurants listed are seasonal, operating mainly between Memorial Day and Labor Day. There are a few that are year-round, but they are the exception.
The charming coffee shop Arnolds Perk was a favorite. The menu was the usual coffee shop items, like pastries and sandwiches.
And most importantly, the coffee was great and made for a great morning stop before going to the amusement park.
What to order: The power breakfast sandwich was filling and delicious.
Address: 140 Broadway St., Arnolds Park
Barefoot Bar is an iconic hangout spot on the lake with a tiki bar vibe that says “no shoes, no shirt, no problem.” Just picture palm trees, games, live music, and a lot of people.
Given its waterfront location, boaters stop here all the time. There’s even a slide into the lake for kids (and sweaty adults).
What to order: Phil’s Famous Ribs
Address: 24457 178th St., Okoboji
Bob’s In Arnolds Park
Bob’s in Arnolds Park is the spot to go for lunch with a view. This casual restaurant has patio seating with a view of the sandy beach and lake.
What to order: Get a Bob Dog with “everything.” It’s a hot dog topped with loose meat, onions, ketchup and mustard.
Address: 188-226 Park Place, Arnolds Park
Nutty Bar Stand
Nutty Bar Stand is iconic in Okoboji, so you can’t skip it. It’s easy to get to if you spend a day at Arnolds Park Amusement Park – it’s right outside the front of the park.
What to order: You have to get a Nutty Bar, obviously. It’s basically a cube of vanilla ice cream, dipped in chocolate and rolled in peanuts.
Address: 37 Lake St., Arnolds Park
The diner O’Farrell Sisters is a popular spot. We went for breakfast, and if you want to beat the rush, get there before 9 a.m.
What to order: Something sweet, like the restaurant’s famous pancakes, cinnamon roll or pie. Yes, they’re all famous.
Address: 1109 Lake Shore Drive, Okoboji
Pub 19 Bar & Grill
Pub 19 Bar & Grill is a restaurant on a golf course. If it’s busy, at least you have a great view of the green while you wait.
What to order: The pizza’s great. Try the BBQ chicken pizza.
Address: 1665 IA-86, Spirit Lake
Tweeter’s has a classic Americana menu and a pleasant wait staff. They also have local beers on tap.
It’s also one of the few year-round restaurants in Okoboji.
What to order: Dessert. I recommend the grasshopper pie.
Address: 1027 US-71, Okoboji
Your turn: What restaurant is your favorite in Okoboji?
Restaurants in Okoboji with waterfront dining
With five interconnected lakes, you can imagine Okoboji has some restaurants with memorable lake views. Here’s a list of all the restaurants where you can dine with a view, and which towns they’re located in:
- Barefoot Bar (Okoboji)
- Bob’s In The Park (Arnolds Park)
- Boji Boardwalk Bar & Grill (Arnolds Park)
- Bracco (Arnolds Park)
- Maxwell’s Beach Café (Arnolds Park)
- Nutty Bar Stand (Arnolds Park)
- Okoboji Store Bar & Kitchen (Okoboji)
- Prime Boji (Arnolds Park)
- Snappers Turtle Bay Café (Okoboji)
- Spillway Drive In (Orleans)
- The Gardens (Arnolds Park)
- The Ritz (Arnolds Park)
- Waterfront Grille & Event Center (Arnolds Park)
- Woude’s Bay Bar (Orleans)
Tip: Check ahead of time to see if the restaurant takes a reservation.