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Area Insights

Brooks Golf

Brooks Golf in Okoboji

Enjoy an Unparalleled Golf Experience at Brooks Golf featuring 27 holes and immaculate bent grass fairways and greens!
Nestled among the Iowa Great Lakes is Brooks Golf. Originally constructed as an 18 hole layout by Val Brooks in 1932, the course attracted many famous players such Sam Snead, Walter Hagen, and Babe Didrikson Zaharias for exhibition matches and hosted the Iowa Open. In more recent times, Brooks has hosted the Iowa PGA Section Championship and the Barb Thomas Pro-Am.
Always known for its beauty and excellent course conditions, Brooks has matured into an excellent parkland layout for Midwest vacationers. In 1995, Brooks began an expansion to 27 holes, thus beginning one of the most aggressive improvement projects for golf in Northwest Iowa. Brooks Golf blends masterful design with superb playing conditions featuring bent grass fairways and greens. We welcome you to play and enjoy your stay in Okoboji.

"The Bridge"

"The Bridge" has been referred to by the Wharf Bridge, the Kentucky Fried Chicken Bridge, the bridge connecting East and West, among other names. In the good old days, this was actually a draw bridge converted to the current permanent structure. In the 90's when the 3 lane was installed, there was talk about removing the bridge and making some drastic changes. All in all, the base of the bridge remained, and the upper structure was improved. I remember as a kid jumping off the bridge, and fishing on and under the bridge. In fact, an unforgettable memory I have is when I was fishing with my cousin and I casted out trying to reach the opposite corner of the bridge with my lure. In mid air, a pigeon flew and the timing was so great that my line wrapped around the pigeon, and the pigeon went into the water. I reeled it up and had caught a pigeon. My cousin then decided to hold this pigeon inside the front of his coat. We went to show people at Okoboji Boats what we had caught. When we got there, he opened his jacket, and the pigeon had pooped all over his white shirt.

The Three Sons

The Three Sons in Milford

Founded in 1960, the Three Sons has been a staple of Milford, IA retail. From Herman and Emil Richter, owners, was born the University of Okoboji, a ficticious university that calls the entire Iowa Great Lakes the campus of the U of O. Part of the experience of shopping the three sons, if walking the old battered floors, and taking a trip upstairs for half price, plus a buck. Brands you would expect in Milford Iowa are abundant, such as Patagonia, Oakley, Under Armour, Tommy Bahama, and more. There are currently 2 other stores; one at the amusement park, and another near the Regal Beagle called the bridge store. No self-respecting visitor to Okoboji leaves without visiting one of their stores.

Emerald Hills

Emerald Hills in Arnolds Park

Emerald Hills Golf Course is one of the premier golf courses in the Iowa Great Lakes. Golfers throughout Okoboji will tell you that compared to the rest of the golf courses around, Emerald Hills is probably the most challenging. When I grew up as a kid, we lived just a half block from the back side of the course. We would sneak on with a couple short little clubs and balls we found walking the course and sometimes spent more time being chased by the sprinklers than trying to hit golf balls. Emerald Hills was owned by Gordy and Bette Benit many years ago and they can be credited with growing this course into the masterpiece it has become. Later purchased by Randy Rohlfsen and a few others, Emerald has flourished as one of the best courses around. If memory serves me right, Randy has been there since the early 1990's and has always had a strong conviction to help young golfers. He has taught and coached numerous high school teams, and they also put on a 5 day junior camp every year which has been a tremendous hit. I grew up on this course and can honestly say, you better be hitting the ball straight!

South Shore Estates

South Shore Estates in Lower Gar Lake

South Shore Estates is the newest lakeshore development on Lower Gar. Here you have access to West Lake, East Lake, Minnewashta, and Upper Gar.

Picket Trail

Picket Trail in Fostoria

This unique antique shop located right off Hwy 71 in between Milford and Spencer in Fostoria, Iowa has so much to offer. Lots of home decor, up-cycled furniture, an Amish grocery store, jewelry, bath soaps and neat -dated antique furniture and decor. Their open hours are Wednesday - Saturday at 10am. The owner, Cathy, is very kind, knowledgeable, and has the place decorated tastefully! This is a MUST see; I bet you don’t leave empty handed!

Campus Redemption Center

Campus Redemption Center in Milford

Have a bunch of cans piling up needing to be recycled? Look no further than the Campus Redemption Center in Milford, Iowa. Some may remember the old location as “Campus Video.” The owner Tom, has quite the set up and will pay $.04 for Iowa deposit containers that come in any bag whether sorted or un-sorted; these will be counted while you wait and there is a 500 limit per day. You’ll be paid $.05 for Iowa deposit containers IF pre-sorted and counted in clear redemption bags. Bags and boxes can be purchased inside. They do not accept glass of any kind. So the next time you’re thinking about tossing out those used cans, think recycling; think Campus Redemption Center at 1904 Okoboji Ave., Milford, Iowa. Hours are Monday - Thursday 12pm -5pm, Fridays CLOSED, and Saturdays 10:30am - 2:30pm.

Bridges Bay Resort

Bridges Bay Resort in East Lake Okoboji

Bridges Bay Resort is built on the land purchased a few years prior which used to be owned by the Nielsen family of Arnolds Park. This huge complex consists of a hotel, 3 condo buildings (a 4th is under construction), and over 100 vacation cabins. A popular part of the resort is the indoor waterpark that cabin and condo owners have access to, but also, so does the public for a fee. Braccos is a fantastic summertime restaurant and bar which is frequented by boat, by car, and by foot, especially from the owners of the condos and cabins. All of the units at Bridges Bay have an opportunity for a boat hoist, and it is an extremely popular destination for out of towners looking for a vacation spot in Okoboji. Because Bridges Bay is not within the city limits, many owners utilize property management companies to help them rent their units by the day, week, and month. I've personally sold and shown many condo and cabin units and would be delighted to help.

Weasy’s Lounge & Grill

Weasy’s Lounge & Grill in Spencer

Known locally as the Home of the “Weaser pleaser” you’ll find a full menu with a little something for everyone. The dunker burger, fried pickles, breaded cauliflower, and the crab rangoons come fully recommended. I’ve never had a meal or appetizer I wouldn’t recommend. Friendly staff and servers all inside a fun, clean, and inviting atmosphere! Located right on Grand Avenue in Spencer, Iowa they cover all your catering needs. Dine in, carry-out, reserve a party room, or stop in for Happy Hour!!

"The Harbor"

The harbor is a man made inlet located on the north end of West Lake. A board walk surrounds the harbor and this is one of the most tranquil parts of the lake. Homeowners in the harbor have a more affordable way to have access to West Lake, and still get to enjoy the clean waters West Lake has to offer. Homes in the Harbor typically range from about $350k to as much as $700k.

Boulders Inn

Boulders Inn and Suites promises to make your Okoboji vacation comfortable and relaxing. This new hotel just south of Emerald Hills golf course between Milford and Arnolds Park offers 40 rooms with suites to meet your individual needs. One of the best things about Boulders Inn is that it is within walking distance of the Taco House. For some of you, I know that can be a big deal!

Okoboji Boat Works

Okoboji Boat Works in West Lake Okoboji

Okoboji Boat Works is home to "The Fish Shack" and "The Inconvenience Store". Formerly a marina of thriving boat sales since 1890, OBW now offers up many different rentals, a 24 hour gas dock, excursion boats, and more. I remember the days as a child of fishing for crappie and blue gill here and along the docks of Smith's Bay. Though the scenery has changed, the outstanding fishing has not.

 

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