many of our favorite summertime events + activities have been cancelled, leaving us with more open weekends than usual. on this particular one, instead of staying home, we opted for a short trip. we made the 3.5 hour drive from des moines to okoboji and spent the weekend soaking in as much sunshine as possible. it was our first visit to this well-loved iowa town. the luke bryan song, “sunrise, sunburn, sunset, repeat”, often playing in my head. this is how we spent our lakeside weekend in okoboji, iowa.

as we began our drive north to the lake, I declared “soon we’ll be sipping fruity cocktails + enjoying the palm trees – this is our tropical vacation!“. skeptical we’d find any palm trees in northwest iowa, we all laughed.

where we stayed

we very gratefully accepted an invitation to stay with friends. they have a gorgeous lakefront home. the little ones loved being mere steps from the water. we spent mornings sipping coffee on the deck, enjoying the beautiful views + celebrating any catch my brother could reel in. the days on the water. and the evenings were for marveling at the sunset, with a cocktail in hand.

what we ate

the okoboji store

our first night in town, we took the boat to dinner at the okoboji store. we dined on the patio. listening to live music, sipping margaritas + eating until the sun went down.

the barefoot bar

we boated over for lunch at the barefoot bar on saturday. at the recommendation of a friend, I ordered the pain-in-the-ass frostie cocktail (pina colada + rum runner). it provided all the magic tropical vacation vibes I was hoping for. bonus: the barefoot bar has palm trees! extra bonus: they have a little kids play area!

a lakeside weekend | okoboji IA

arnolds park

on saturday, we grabbed iced coffees from localish as we shopped + wandered arnolds park. per unwritten okoboji law, we had to visit the nutty bar stand before leaving. the husband + I opted for the original nutty bars (vanilla ice cream on a stick, dipped in chocolate + rolled in chopped peanuts). the little ones were there for the chocolate-dipped frozen bananas.

that evening we had a nice dinner at yesterdays, where I was thoroughly entertained by my husband + brother matching attire + cocktail selections.

how we spent our days

I prefer my tropical vacations to be unplanned + relaxed. to effortlessly alternate between soaking in the views, sipping cocktails, eating delicious food, and playing like a kid. this weekend getaway was all of that. we took boat rides around the lake. we swam and watched the toddler gradually build up the courage to jump in. we tried our hand at a few water sports: wake boarding + water skiing. pretending to be teenagers again, the husband + I went hold-on-for-dear-life tubbing. I’m fairly certain I giggled like a 5 year old the entire time.

this year will undoubtedly be remembered as the year we made lemonade out of lemons. or that’s what I’m over here trying for.

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