While at the lakes, don't forget to go swimming. Visiting the Iowa Great Lakes can be fun, but when the temperature heats up, finding a way to cool down and still enjoy the area is best found at the beach. Swimming is a natural pastime at the Lakes. There are a number of excellent swimming beaches: some with really cool water due to springs close to shore.
West Lake Okoboji's clear, cold waters are a relief from the heat, but take some getting used to. The sand beaches at Terrace Park, on the southern end of the lake, provide some of the most refreshing waters for swimming in the area. The springs that feed West Lake are right next to the shore at Terrace Park, providing cold, fresh water even on the hottest of days. Emerson Bay access, Gull Point State Park beach, Arnolds Amusement Park beach and the beach at Pikes Point all have nice sand beaches as well, with somewhat warmer waters for swimming. Some even have roped off swimming areas with diving platforms and docks. The causeway between Arnolds Park and Okoboji, right next to the bridge and right on the bike trail, offers a large swimming area, beautiful sand beach and an expansive view of the lake. Other small beaches include the beach at the lagoon on the northwest shore of West Lake Okoboji and the beach on the northern end of the lake at Triboji Beach access.
Big Spirit Lake also has several fine swimming areas. On the south end of the lake, Orleans Beach, just to the east of the spillway, offers a large sand beach, small playground and a diving platform. On the north shore of the big lake is a long swimming beach with a beautiful view of the lake that takes advantage of southern breezes to cool any swimmer down. Marble Beach, on Big Spirit Lake's western shore, offers swimmers a number of spots to take a dip. Other Big Spirit swimming opportunities exist on its north shore and at Templar Park from the dock.
DNR Beach Monitoring Hotline: 515-725-3434
Each summer the YMCA and the University of Okoboji sponsors a Point-to-Point swim for the 3.5 miles between Gull Point and Pikes Point on West Lake Okoboji. A kayak or canoe accompanies each swimmer. The Point-to-Point swim is the first Saturday in August. For 2021 the Point-to-Point swim will be Saturday, August 1, 2021.