Mini-Wakan State Park is a spectacular little state park in the Iowa Great Lakes region! This 20-acre gem is on the northern shores of Big Spirit Lake, the state’s largest natural lake.
Don’t let its size fool you; this park’s a marvel you won’t want to miss. Whether boating, fishing, picnicking, or simply exploring the area, Mini-Wakan State Park is a must-visit in the Okoboji area.
During our visit, we were drawn to the park’s scenic surroundings and gorgeous sunsets.
Visiting Okoboji? See the Top 10 Things to Do in Okoboji: Iowa’s Favorite Outdoor Vacation Destination
A Brief History of Mini Wakan State Park
In the early 1930s, area residents bought the initial 12.5 acres that became Mini-Wakan State Park. Soon, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began work on various park structures.
By 1934, the CCC had built a charming stone shelter house/lodge, a picnic area, a parking lot, and stone gate pillars. They also made significant improvements to the shores of Big Spirit Lake.
Visitors flocked there early on, with the shelter house being a favorite. Yet, as time passed, the lodge deteriorated due to a lack of funding for repairs, which persisted for years. But recent efforts to restore it finally came to fruition.
Today, the beautifully renovated shelter house/day-use lodge is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s regained its former glory and become a popular destination for picnics and events.
Looking for Okoboji boat rentals? Okoboji Boat Rentals: A Guide to the Best Boat Rentals in Okoboji [+ cruises]
Things To Do at Mini Wakan State Park
Big Spirit Lake’s reputation speaks for itself when it comes to fishing. The northern shoreline is known for its exceptional fishing opportunities!
Whether casting from a boat or the shore, anglers have excellent access to the lake waters. And when winter rolls around, it’s a popular spot for ice fishing.
Big Spirit Lake has many fish species, including Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Bluegill, Bullhead, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Crappie, and more!
And if you can’t find a good fishing spot at Mini-Wakan, a fishing area known as North Grade is just west of there. It’s a well-known spot for catching bullheads in May!
Boating enthusiasts will like the boat ramp at Mini-Wakan State Park. It’s ideal for those seeking fishing areas along the lake’s northern shoreline.
The grassy area next to the parking area is convenient for trailer parking.
Escape the crowds of Okoboji and have a scenic, quiet picnic at Mini-Wakan State Park! The shelter area is available when it’s not reserved, and several picnic tables are around the lodge.
Holding an event
The renovated lodge at Mini-Wakan is the ideal spot for a large gathering. The stone and wood architecture combined with lake views makes it perfect for weddings, reunions, and other events. It has a seating capacity for 120 people, with electricity, a fire ring, a patio, and more!
This area of the Iowa Great Lakes is a favorite among birdwatchers. You can spot species rarely seen in other parts of Iowa. Check out species seen in the area here.
Enjoying the views
This stunning state park’s sunsets and lake views are hard to beat! It’s a great spot to escape to nature and is rarely crowded. So, many folks go there to soak up the views!
Find Okoboji area campgrounds: Okoboji Campgrounds: The Ultimate Guide to Camping near Okoboji in Iowa
Things to do nearby
Marble Lake/Hottes Lakes & Kettleson Hogsback Wildlife Management Area is 2 miles from Mini-Wakan (off 240th Ave). It’s an ideal escape to nature, famous for birdwatching with trails and paddling opportunities.
Marble Beach State Recreation Area is three miles southwest of the park, along the western shoreline of Big Spirit Lake. It’s an excellent place to go camping or launch your boat!
Templar State Recreation Area is four miles southwest of the park and a popular spot to launch boats in a lagoon. It’s also the ideal spot for shore fishing or a lakeside picnic!
East and West Okoboji Lakes, Arnold’s Park Amusement Park, and other Okoboji attractions are 20 minutes from Mini-Wakan Park. So, drive down the road if you’re looking for a beach, a fun day at the amusement park, or an excellent waterside restaurant!
Visit Mini Wakan State Park Today!
Find Mini Wakan State Park at 24490 100th St, Spirit Lake, IA 51360.
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