Arnolds Park is known as the city of five lakes. Those lakes are West and East Lake Okoboji, Lake Minnewashta, and Upper and Lower Gar Lakes. At the end of the 19th Century, Arnolds Park was, as it is today, the anchor of the Iowa Great Lakes Region.
Tourists would flock to this popular vacation spot to take part in water-related activities, play baseball, compete in various shooting sports such as trap or skeet, and visit the numerous historical and recreational attractions. These visitors would come to the lakes by train and would then board one of the area’s several steamboats to travel to their ultimate destinations.
Commemorating these early years of transportation, the Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum is now located in Arnolds Park. Continuing the ongoing partnership of transportation and tourism, the museum complex houses not only the Maritime Museum, the Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Okoboji Foundation, but also the State Visitor Center, welcoming visitors to the Great Lakes Region and the State of Iowa.