Gull Point State Park is one of several excellent state parks at Iowa’s favorite vacation destination – the Iowa Great Lakes! Nestled along the beautiful shoreline of West Okoboji Lake, this scenic (and historic) park offers an array of activities for all! From hiking, camping, and swimming to picnicking and fishing, it’s one you won’t want to miss.
The park is on the western shores of West Okoboji Lake between Emerson Bay and Miller’s Bay and near the village of Wahpeton. It’s the core state park in the Iowa Great Lakes region.
Table of Contents
- A brief history of Gull Point State Park
- Things to do at Gull Point State Park
- Gull Point State Park Campground
- Things to do nearby
- Visit Gull Point State Park today!
A brief history of Gull Point State Park
Here’s yet another wonderful Iowa State Park showcasing remarkable Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) architecture! Among other CCC treasures, the park boasts Iowa’s largest CCC-built lodge.
Soon after Gull Point was designated a state park in 1933, the CCC began constructing a lodge and boathouse. Other park structures, like entrance gates, a custodian’s house, and a service building, were also built during this era.
Several remaining CCC structures are on the National Register of Historic Places.
This park is also a relic of the region’s geological past. The large boulders dotting the lakeshores represent the last glacial movements from the north. And the network of sloughs and streams is a characteristic of melting glaciers that sculpted the terrain thousands of years ago.1
Things to do at Gull Point State Park
Hike the trail
Gull Point offers one of the best hiking trails in the Okoboji area! The 1½-mile interpretive trail crosses canals and winds through the woods. Several points of interest are along the path, with plenty of wildlife-spotting opportunities. See the brochure for the Barney Peterson Memorial Trail for interpretive information.
The trail is mostly level and well-marked, making it the perfect hike for any age. Find it on the westernmost part of the park, across Harpen Street.
If you’re looking for a shady spot to camp near the lake just a short drive from Arnold’s Park, look no further! The Gull Point campground has over 100 campsites, with electric and non-electric sites; all available by reservation. For more campground details, see our campground section below.
Have a picnic or large gathering.
You’ll find the perfect spot here no matter what picnic you’re having! Several picnic tables scattered throughout the park are ideal for impromptu picnics!
And if you’re planning a larger gathering, this park has exactly what you need. Three covered, open-air picnic shelters and a large lodge are available by reservation. If the picnic shelters aren’t reserved, they’re available first-come, first-serve.
Visit the small beach.
A small swimming beach is on the park’s eastern edge (south of the lodge). It’s a popular place to cool off in the pristine waters of West Okoboji Lake!
Please note there is no lifeguard on duty. Swim at your own risk.
Gull Point State Park Campground
The campground is a great place to set up camp in the Okoboji area! Below are the campground details:
- 104 campsites; 52 electric, 52 non-electric
- Modern restrooms/showers
- Dump station on site
- Some sites are relatively level, but others are sloped
- Reservations accepted
- See the campground map here
Find more campgrounds near Okoboji: Okoboji Campgrounds: The Ultimate Guide to Camping near Okoboji in Iowa
Things to do nearby
The Iowa Great Lakes Recreation Trail runs just west of the park. It’s the perfect trail for a stroll or bike ride throughout the Okoboji area. Note that it does have bike lanes along the highway in some spots; see a trail map here.
Kayak or canoe through the canals of Wahpeton. The canals run through the park, but access is outside of the park. See our article on kayaking and canoeing in Okoboji for more information.
Fishing! The Iowa Great Lakes are well-known for their excellent fishing – and are considered some of the best fishing in Iowa. Anglers can fish by boat or shore for many fish species, including Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Bluegill, Bullhead, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Crappie, and more!
Emerson Bay State Recreation Area is just over a mile south of Gull Point. It boasts a campground, boat ramp, beach, picnic areas, and more – making it a great place to spend time on West Okoboji Lake.
The park is just six short miles from Arnolds Park and other Okoboji attractions! So, if you’re camping or visiting this state park, the beach, amusement park, restaurants, and other lakeside activities are nearby!
Other nearby parks include Pikes Point State Park, Elinor Bedell State Park, and Lower Gar State Recreation Area. And on Big Spirit Lake, check out Templar State Recreation Area, Marble Beach State Recreation Area, and Mini-Wakan State Park.
Visit Gull Point State Park today!
Find Gull Point State Park at 1500 Harpen St, Milford, IA 51351
1. Seigley, L. S., & Quade, D. J. (n.d.). Geology of Gull Point State Park. Iowa Geological Survey. https://iowageologicalsurvey.uiowa.edu/iowa-geology/parks-iowa/gull-point-state-park