Templar State Recreation Area is a charming 10-acre park on the western shores of Big Spirit Lake. And despite its small size, it’s an ideal destination for boating, picnicking, fishing, or enjoying the lake views!
Located on the shores of Big Spirit Lake, Iowa’s biggest natural lake, it’s a perfect spot for lake and lakeside activities.
A brief history of Templar State Recreation Area
In the 1880s, this recreational spot was known as Templar Park. At that time, it was owned and managed by the Knights Templar, a Christian fraternal organization.
The park served as a vacation spot and meeting place for the knights and their families. And to accommodate their needs, the organization built a hotel.
Unfortunately, the hotel faced its fair share of hardships over the years. First, a devastating tornado destroyed the original hotel, and later buildings burned down. Yet a more prominent, grander hotel was later constructed of concrete. It remained until the park was sold in the late 1970s. Under new ownership, it was torn down, despite being on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1987, the State of Iowa purchased the park to enhance its outdoor recreation potential. Several improvements were made to ensure visitors have a memorable and enjoyable experience.
One historical relic from the past remains at the entrance. The Templar Park archway, a testament to the park’s history, welcomes visitors as they enter.
Things to do at Templar State Recreation Area
• Go boating!
The Templar State Recreation Area boat ramp is in a calm cove on Big Spirit Lake’s western shores. The protected lagoon makes this an effortless launching spot and one of the most popular boat ramps.
A large parking area for trailers is next to the boat ramp.
• Go fishing!
Regarding fishing in the Okoboji area, there’s no better place to go than Big Spirit Lake! Renowned for its diverse range of fish species and pristine waters, Big Spirit Lake is a haven for anglers of all ages and skill levels.
And whether fishing by shore or boat, Templar State Recreation Area makes the perfect fishing destination. Areas along the shoreline make fantastic fishing spots, and the boat ramp is super convenient.
Common fish species in the lake include Walleye, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Perch, Northern Pike, Catfish, Bluegill, and more.
• Have a picnic or host a gathering.
Immerse yourself in the lakeside ambiance, where the perfect picnic or gathering awaits! Reserve the picnic shelter, or stop by for an impromptu picnic at one of the gazebos.
The picnic shelter is available by reservation and otherwise first-come, first-serve. The gazebos are first-come, first-served.
• Hike or bike the trails.
A paved part of the Iowa Great Lakes Trail runs along the park’s west side. It’s an excellent spot for a stroll or bike ride!
Find Okoboji area campgrounds: Okoboji Campgrounds: The Ultimate Guide to Camping near Okoboji in Iowa
Things to do nearby
Marble Lake State Recreation Area is just north of the recreation area. It’s a popular place on Big Spirit Lake for camping, boating, and fishing!
Crandall’s Beach is a place to dip your toes in the lake’s waters! It’s just 2½ miles north of the recreation area off 240th Avenue.
Mini-Wakan State Park is a scenic little state park you won’t want to miss! Located on the northern shores of Big Spirit Lake, it’s perfect for boating, fishing, or holding an event. Find it four miles north of Templar State Recreation Area.
Marble Lake, East Hottes Lake, and West Hottes Lake are small lakes near protected wildlife areas 1½ miles north of Templar. A hiking trail runs through the area and is a great place to spot wildlife. The lakes also make an ideal spot for kayaking or canoeing in calm waters.
East and West Okoboji Lakes, Arnold’s Park Amusement Park, and other Okoboji attractions are just minutes from Templar State Recreation Area. 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 Templar State Recreation Area Today!
Templar State Recreation Area is at 13185 S Templar Dr, Spirit Lake, IA 51360.
• 5 Places to Kayak & Canoe in the Okoboji Area
• Okoboji Campgrounds
• Mini-Wakan State Park
• Iowa State Parks Info, Map, and Printable
• Marble Beach State Recreation Area: Camp at the Iowa Great Lakes