Spending a weekend in a low degree, frigid, cold, temperatures aren’t normally what a person would be doing around a popular summer lake destination – but that is precisely what many of us did a few weekends ago, at the end of January, up in Okoboji, Iowa. We gave up wakeboarding, water skiing, swimming, and boating for some quality time out on frozen West Okoboji. The land surrounding Arnolds Park Amusement Park transformed into a winter wonderland of games, socializing (in outdoor frozen fashion) snowball fighting, snowman making, polar bear plunging, and kite flying – but a full list of Winter Games activities can be viewed below.

  • Chili Cook Off
  • Chocolate Galleria
  • 5K Fun Run
  • Axe Throwing
  • Bean Bag Toss
  • Bowling
  • Broom Ball
  • Cribbage Tournament
  • Flag Football
  • Hammer Schlagen
  • Ice Auger Races
  • Human Foosball
  • Human Dog Sled Races
  • Ice Oval Races
  • Keg Toss
  • Mega Pong
  • Pickleball
  • Pinball Tournament
  • Ping Pong
  • Stein Holding Contest
  • Volleyball

This was the 41st annual Winter Games in Okoboji, Iowa. It happened to be my first experience at the games, and it won’t be my last. The food, company, and activities were fantastic! I took my 18-year old along for company, and it was a spectacle of wonderment for both of us. Even though there were plenty of activities to pique the interest of different people, it was the colorful kites on display – hovering over West Okoboji, that grabbed our immediate attention. If you’ve never experienced kite flying, especially along a lakefront (or on a frozen lake) it’s quite the sight.

Kite Flying with #BojiKites

Taking The Plunge!

What would winter games be without a polar bear plunge into ice cold lake water? Cut out a hole in the ice, make a line for the adventurous, and crazy winter lake jumpers – with a few safety features of safety workers and underwater scuba divers – and Vada Bing, Vada Boom – we have an entertaining treat. Call me chicken, but I’m not one to jump into a freezing lake in the middle of winter, but for some, it might be right up their alley! Check out the short video below to get a full idea from The Country Pilgrim about the Okoboji Winter Games (and you can get a full view of the polar plunge around the 4:20 mark) –

Also…Don’t Forget The Iowa Great Lakes State Parks!

As always – I am one to make sure that the Iowa State Parks get a little recognition – they’re free and they’re fantastic! Plus, in the winter months, they can provide areas for winter hiking, snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing. The Okoboji Winter Games give an excellent excuse to get away from the crowds at some point during the weekend and to go check out the State Parks surrounding the Lakes. If you’ve never been to the Iowa Great Lakes – now is the time to reserve a cabin or a weekend getaway for the summer. It’s an area that can give plenty of memories both in the summer and winter! If you haven’t checked out the Winter Games – do it! It’s worth a weekend getaway in the winter months, and if you’re out and about, go check a couple of the State parks below.

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