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Emerson Bay State Recreation, IA

Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
Max reservation window: Wed Oct 28 2015   Later Dates


The Iowa Great Lakes Region is made up of the following areas: Boaters Access, Claire Wilson State Recreation Area, Crandall's Beach, East Okoboji Beach Access, Elinor Bedell State Park, Emerson Bay State Recreation Area, Fort Defiance State Park, Gardner Cabin Area, Given's Point Access, Gull Point State Park, Hafer Landing (HWY 9), Hattie Elston Access, Hinshaw Bridge Access, Lighthouse Point, Lower Gar Access State Recreation Area, Marble Beach State Recreation Area, Mini-Wakan State Park, Minniewashta Access, Narrows Access, Okamanpedan State Park, Pikes Point State Park, Templar State Recreation Area and Trapper's Bay State Park.


Emerson Bay is located near the Iowa Great Lakes Bike Trail System and is only one mile from the Barney Peterson Nature Trail at Gull Point State Park.

Lake Activities
Emerson Bay's beach provides a fine place for young and old to sunbathe and splash in the crystal clear water of West Okoboji. Emerson Bay also hosts one of the most popular areas to launch a boat onto the Iowa Great Lakes chain.

West Okoboji and the many other lakes in the area are some of the prime fishing spots in Iowa. Anglers will find challenging sport pursuing a variety of game fish including walleye, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, white bass, yellow bass, perch, bluegills, crappies, catfish, and bullheads. Boating is also very popular on the lakes using everything from canoes to sailboats and ski rigs.

The "lakes area" of northwest Iowa offers a tremendous array of outdoor recreation opportunities, year-round. The unique setting of beautiful clear East and West Okoboji Lakes, Big Spirit Lake and other water bodies truly provide wonderful opportunities for outdoor recreation.


Emerson Bay is a great place for a family picnic. Emerson Bay Lighthouse Point has a reservable shelter. This shelter is also conveniently located near a sand beach, an open grass recreation area, and a playground. The Lighthouse Tower also provides the user with a spectacular view of West Okoboji Lake.

The Emerson Bay campground is one of the most popular in the state. It is well shaded and features paved roads, playground equipment, boat ramps, modern restroom and shower facilities, as well as a sewage dump station. All sites offer 50 amp electric services and 23 feature sewer and water hook-ups as well.

Nearby Attractions:

Spirit Lake, Milford, Wahpeton, Okoboji, West Okoboji and Arnolds Park

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Boat Launch Ramp
  • Dump Station
  • Modern Restroom
  • Parking
  • Showers
  • Trash Dumpster
  • Water Hydrants
Alerts and Important Information

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
43.35528, -95.17306
43°21'19"N, 95°10'23"W

Emerson Bay State Recreation Area is located on the southwest side of West Lake Okoboji off of Hwy 86.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Emerson Bay State Recreation
3100 Emerson St
West Okoboji  IA  51351

Phone Number:

Information:  (712) 337-3211