15 Fun & Best Things to do in Clear Lake, Iowa

Clear Lake, Iowa, is a reputation that comes from a pure spring in Cerro Gordo County. The space is well-known for fishing actions, however there are numerous prime issues to do in Clear Lake for everybody. What you are able to do ranges from water actions to exploring round city and getting caught into nice outside expeditions.

There are tons of enjoyable issues and interesting actions you are able to do in Clear Lake, Iowa. If you might be on the lookout for the perfect trip spot within the Midwest this coming summer time, select Clear Lake.

Whether you wish to go along with children, your particular somebody, or as a lone ranger, this place has all the pieces.

TLDR; Summary of Our Top Picks

Best & Fun Things to do in Clear Lake, Iowa

Clear Lake is thought for various outside actions, landmarks, and spectacular sceneries. Here are a few of the enjoyable issues to do in Clear Lake.

1. Clear Lake State Park

Clear Lake State Park

Address: 6490 S Shore Dr, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

Clear Lake State Park is among the greatest outside recreation options in Northern Iowa. The park sits on a whopping 55 acres of land. It is the perfect place to be when you like outside actions as a result of the park has one thing for everybody.

Clear Lake State Park provides many various leisure alternatives due to its strategic location on the lake and the pure magnificence surrounding it. The park’s principal characteristic is a rolling open floor with oak bushes and thickets that host owls, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and lots of of chicken species.

Swimming is among the many commonest actions in Clear Lake State Park. There is an in depth sandy seashore, which attracts each younger and outdated swimmers and sunbathers. It additionally offers the perfect fishing floor for various native fish species. Many guests additionally come right here for jet snowboarding, windsurfing, and crusing.

If you additionally like picnicking, the park is the perfect place to be; 10 acres out of the 55-acre area are picnic grounds with tables and grills. There are many shady locations for an ideal household cookout. There can also be a playground for youths with taking part in gear to maintain them busy.

The Clear Lake State Park additionally boasts the perfect campgrounds with fashionable restrooms, bathe services, and a trailer dump station.

If tenting isn’t for you, e book a room on the Microtel Inn & Suites and Super 8 at

2. Central Gardens

Central Gardens

Address: 800 2nd Ave N, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

The present Central Gardens was constructed on the previous grounds of a number of Clear Lake faculties present between 1888 to 1988. The Central School was relocated, and the outdated constructing was razed. When Clear Lake City turned the proprietor, the native administration decided it might change into a neighborhood backyard area.

Presently, the Central Gardens of North Iowa has stunning flowers and bushes overlaying three acres of land, maintained by native volunteers. Its proximity to the town’s central enterprise district makes it one of the crucial visited locations within the space. Central Gardens is open from daybreak to nightfall each day of the week. It’s freed from cost for the general public to discover between May and November.

The greatest exercise in Central Gardens is just strolling alongside the meandering brick walkways and having fun with the environment. You may also select a spot to relax and see your time without work as you hearken to the melodious songs of birds.

You can stroll round to admire native art work, ponds, stream beds, and themed flower beds. The backyard additionally hosts many occasions, together with (however not restricted to) gardening, beekeeping, and crafting festivals.

Since Central Gardens is situated only a few-minutes-drive from downtown Clear Lake, lodging is rarely an issue. Search for the greatest finances lodge on the place you’ll be able to comfortably spend your evening after a complete day exploring the backyard.

See Related: Best Things to do in Dubuque, Iowa

3. Clear Lake Fire Museum

Clear Lake Fire Museum

Address: 112 N sixth St, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

Clear Lake Fire Museum is near downtown Clear Lake, making it accessible to many vacationers. It is among the greatest locations to go to within the metropolis with households or historical past buffs.

Clear Lake Fire Museum is Iowa’s first hearth museum, constructed within the early 1900s. Structurally, the constructing resembles a hearth station. It hosts a few of the earliest firefighting gear in Clear Lakes. When you go to, remember to ask concerning the 1883 hand-drawn horse cart and 1924 pumper truck.

Clear Lake Fire Museum is at present operated by a group of firefighters who volunteer to inform the outdated tales. When you go to, you’ll agree that they love the job that they voluntarily do. These firefighters have methods round with phrases. They vividly describe the previous occasions with the classic gear that brings all the pieces to life.

The museum is barely open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and stays closed for the remainder of the times.

The classic gadgets on this museum supply greater than what we are able to describe in phrases. The smartest thing to do is to place it in your listing of the perfect issues to do in Clear Lake, Iowa, on your subsequent trip!

Clear Lake Fire Museum is conveniently situated close to Clear Lake CBD with many lodging choices. You can spend your nights at Lakeside Inn, The Least Little Lake Cottage, Fairfield Inn & Suites, and extra. You can discover extra choices on or

4. Surf Ballroom & Museum

Surf Ballroom & Museum

Address: 460 N Shore Dr, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

The Surf Ballroom is a historic website within the United States. It is a historic Rock and Roll Landmark and is related to the occasions known as The Day the Music Died – immortalized within the track American Pie.

This was the venue the place rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and Ritchie Valens had their final efficiency earlier than a deadly aircraft crash in 1959. Each February since 1979, the Surf Ballroom hosts the “annual Winter Dance Party” tribute present to honor the three stars.

If you might be on the lookout for the perfect issues to do in Clear Lake, significantly, look no additional. Take a present and tour on the Surf Ballroom. For first-timer guests, take a self-guided tour right here in the course of the day. That’s when you’ll have on a regular basis to admire the unique artifacts within the constructing. When evening falls, it’s time to alleviate the historical past with stay performances!

The excellent news for guests who go to the Surf Ballroom is the budget-friendly stays. Places like Larch Pine Inn Bed and Breakfast and the Last Little Lake Cottage can ship a snug evening’s keep.

See Related: Best Things to do in Iowa & Places to Visit

5. Clear Lake Arts Center

Clear Lake Arts Center

Address: 17 S 4th St, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

The Clear Lake Arts Center is a modern-day spot for new-generation artwork. It received began within the yr 2002, based by native artists who would use it as a rented area for exhibition and promoting their arts. Since then, Clear Lake Arts Center has grown to be a beehive of actions.

Spend your day at Clear Lake Arts Center if artworks heat your coronary heart. Apart from common exhibitions from native artists, the venue hosts artists and items from throughout the nation. There are additionally common exhibitions from Clear Lake Arts Center the place guests can nonetheless purchase items of artwork.

Clear Lake Arts Center is famed for thought-provoking exhibitions of rotating sculpture. So, you’ll have to preserve going again to maintain updated!

The Clear Lake Arts Center additionally offers artwork courses. Anyone can be part of to enhance artwork abilities and be taught from different artists, or simply have enjoyable creating. This facility additionally provides rental companies for conferences and conferences.

If you wish to keep at Clear Lake Arts Center in a single day, you can also make your reservations at close by lodges. Consider Best Western Holiday Lodge, Microtel Inn & Suites, or Fairfield Inn & Suites. These are only a few-minutes-drive from the venue.

6. 1959 Buddy Holly Plane Crash Site

1959 Buddy Holly Plane Crash Site

Address: 3140 Gull Avenue Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

The Plane Crash Site from Buddy Holly‘s last flight remains a significant site in American music history. Though it’s situated on personal property, the proprietor understands and permits folks to go to from 7:00 am to 10:30 pm (as long as the general public respect the property and its proprietor).

The aircraft that carried Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson crashed right here after a winter present on the Surf in 1959. They and the pilot of their small plane perished on that fateful day.

Here you will note a monument of a stainless-steel guitar and metal data. The guitar has names Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and Big Bopper. The second monument of their pilot, Roger Peterson, was erected in 2009, lastly acknowledging the fourth member of the crash.

So, if you’re nonetheless on the lookout for what to do in lake Iowa, you’ll be able to go to this aircraft crash website to pay tribute to the legendary artist Buddy Holly.

7. Kinney Pioneer Museum

Kinney Pioneer Museum

Address: Suite G, 9184 265th St, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

Kinney Pioneer Museum holds the historical past of North Central Iowa and surrounding territories. If you’re visiting Clear Lake or close by Mason City – excellent news! You’ll discover it on the Mason City Municipal Airport.

Visiting the Kinney Pioneer Museum will convey again the long-lost historical past of the nice outdated days of life on the American frontier and onward. It was began by Mrs. George Ludeman, who collected fine details of Americana from as early as 1957. Today, the museum boasts the most important assortment of classic gadgets within the space.

You can see historic furnishings, antiques, curling units, classic autos, and far more. There are additionally handmade quilts from the 1800s.

The Kinney Pioneer Museum additionally incorporates a one-room schoolhouse, an 1863 log-cabin house, an outdated jailhouse, and a blacksmith store.

Kinney Pioneer Museum is open from May to September. The working hours are between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm from Tuesday to Sunday.

You have many lodging choices when visiting Kinney Pioneer Museum. Fairfield Inn & Suites and Americas Best Value Inn are inside strolling distance.     

8. Lake Theatre

Lake Theatre

Address: 4 N 4th St, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

Lake Theater is an irresistible place for film bugs. It is situated within the outdated Opera House in-built 1890, and the title continues to be seen on the prime of the constructing. The Opera House had a hearth incident that led to its collapse in 1920. That, nevertheless, didn’t deter its renovation a decade later.

The Opera House got here again to life as a Movie Theater in Clear Lake. If you wish to cross away your evenings or unwind throughout weekends, go to Clear Lake Theatre and catch a flick. Here, you’ll be able to benefit from the newest Hollywood releases and different showings.

Regular showtimes at Clear Theatre start on Monday, Thursdays, and Friday at 7:00 pm, and weekend exhibits begin as early as 1:00 pm.  

Visit the Lake Theater web site to see the upcoming exhibits you’ll be able to catch. There are completely different motion pictures, together with loads for youngsters.

See Related: Ways to Get Paid to Travel and Take Photos

9. Lake Time Brewery

Lake Time Brewery

Address: 801 Main Ave, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

Lake Time Brewery is Clear Lake’s favourite native brewery with completely different expertly brewed craft beers on faucet. The firm invitations all guests (over 21) to its taproom to style its widespread brews. The merchandise vary from pale ales and IPAs to pilseners and even fruit beers.

After exploring outside recreation alternatives, strolling alongside the attractive mountain climbing trails, or coming from the film theatre, one of the simplest ways to cap it off is to take a glass of expertly brewed beer, and Lake Time Brewery guarantees you the perfect.

They even promote growlers, so you’ll be able to even carry some to your lodge room!

Speaking of lodge rooms, the closest lodge to the Lake Time Brewery is Best Western Holiday Lodge.

10. PM Park

PM Park

Address: 15297 Raney Dr, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

What we now know because the PM Park (or Patriarchs Militant Park) has a wealthy historical past that dates again to 1819. According to the Patriarchs Militant literature, the PM Park was established within the nineteenth Century to offer summer time camps for youngsters who misplaced their mother and father within the Civil War. It additionally acted as a gathering floor for conferences and coaching classes of the Patriarchs.

PM Park is now a preferred spot for summer time retreats that supply completely different outside actions. The principal characteristic that makes it a haven of actions is the on-site lodging. So, you don’t have to fret about on the lookout for options if you’re snug staying at PM Park. The park additionally provides short-term flats and summer time leases.

But why else would you go to PM Park?

PM Park is a bike owner’s paradise. There is a delegated bike lane from downtown to the Park, the place you’ll be able to take pleasure in simple biking with pretty views of the park on all sides.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Voyageurs National Park

11. Starboard Market

Starboard Market

Address: 310 Main Ave, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

Your go to to Clear Lake won’t ever be full with out having lunch and desserts at Starboard Market.

Starboard Market is barely open for a number of hours a day, 5 days of the week. However, it has made a reputation as the perfect meals level for vacationers and locals.

Starboard Food Market boasts a few of the most scrumptious made-from-scratch soups and salads. Don’t dare miss checking in for lunch and having a chew. Their menu consists of various dishes, together with sea salted caramel bars and triple chocolate sizzling mess caramel fudge.

Starboard Market additionally has the perfect employees that makes you’re feeling like having lunch in an outdated buddy’s home. You could should be on the desk on time to not miss a few of the dishes that promote out so quick!

12. Trolley Park

Trolley Park

Address: 3429 Main Ave, Clear Lake, IA 50428, United States

Trolley Park is the perfect place for households with children who wish to have enjoyable studying about rail journey. The park is house to classic gear, outdated rail vehicles, and railroad artifacts. It is at present maintained and operated by the Mason City and Clear Lake Electric Railroad Historical Society.

Trolley Park offers you alternatives to take pleasure in handcar and diesel locomotive rides. There can also be a museum within the park the place you’ll be taught the historical past of the notorious Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Depot. Admission to the museum is free!

The park is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to five:00 pm between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

See Related: Best National Parks within the USA to Visit

13. Bicycle Riding at Clear Lake

Bycling Iowa

Clear Lake is called a bicycling city. Visitors come far and past to have a one-of-a-kind expertise in Clear Lake. You can go there with your individual bike or hire one to experience across the 14-mile Clear Lake perimeter. That can also be an adventurous exercise that allows you to discover the panorama.

The most well-known bicycle trails in Clear Lake are the Sister’s Prairie Trail and Trolley Trail. The former begins from Ventura Heights entry, west of Cardinal Avenue. This scenic paved path traverses a mile lengthy by means of the attractive prairie pothole area.

On the opposite hand, Trolley Trail is a 7.5-mile bicycle path that stretches between Clear Lake and Mason City. It takes some guts to cowl twice the complete size, however some legends do it effortlessly. You may also experience right here for a lifetime expertise.

14. Charles H. MacNider Art Museum

Charles H. MacNider Art Museum

Address: 303 2nd St SE, Mason City, IA 50401, United States

MacNider Art Museum, also referred to as the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, is among the greatest locations to go to in Mason City, only a 10-minute drive from Clear Lake.

It was opened to the general public in 1996, and it’s house to a former convent. The museum was named after the President of the First National Bank of Mason City, Charles H. MacNider, and his son Hanford Macnider.

The Charles H. MacNider Art Museum has a set of American artwork, together with work, ceramics, prints, drawings, sculptures, fused and blown glass, and textiles. It additionally has Bill Baird marionettes, ephemera, and puppets. These undoubtedly make visiting Charles H. MacNider Art Museum probably the greatest issues to do in Clear Lake, Iowa.

The MacNider Art Museum can also be an energetic heart for the humanities, movies, studio courses, an creativeness playground, particular occasions, and a museum store.

You can go to the museum utilizing particular person excursions by making your reservation. However, one of the simplest ways to find it’s utilizing group excursions. Consider the Charles H. MacNider Museum & Architectural Walking Tour for the perfect expertise of the treasure within the museum.

15. Water Sports at Clear Lake

Water Sports at Clear Lake

Clear Lake, Iowa, is thought for its namesake freshwater lake which is nice for water sporting actions. If you might be nonetheless on the lookout for the perfect issues to do in Clear Lake, think about fishing, water snowboarding, and boating.

Clear Lake is greatest identified for largemouth bass fishing, however it additionally has different fish sorts. If you might be fortunate throughout one in all your journeys right here, you may as well discover catfish, blackfish, perch, Sacramento, crappie, bluegill, and hitch.

Apart from fishing, you may as well take pleasure in boating and different water actions comparable to windsurfing, water snowboarding, or using private watercraft of all sizes and shapes.

You can use canoes, kayaks, car-top boats, float tubes, non-motorized sailboats, boogie boards, and many others. All these make Clear Lake price visiting.

Final Thoughts

Clear Lake is a terrific city for a low-key trip, an American historical past tour, or a cheeky weekend getaway within the Midwest. Have you been to Clear Lake and have one thing so as to add to this listing? Know of some other hidden gems in Iowa? Let us know so we are able to unfold the phrase!


What is Clear Lake identified for?

Clear Lake is greatest identified for bass fishing. In truth, it was named the second-best bass fishing lake in 2014 by Bassmaster journal. But the lake can also be house to monster catfish and different fish species.

How do you get round Clear Lake, Iowa?

Clear Lake is a small city in northern Iowa between Des Moines and Minneapolis. You can transfer round utilizing public transport or rent a taxi or rideshare to assist your motion from one attraction website to the following. It is even higher to make use of guided excursions to discover state parks and sumptuous landmarks comparable to Surf Ballroom earlier than stopping by the lake to catch the breeze.

If all else fails, you’ll be able to at all times depend on Kayak or to search out your self some wheels.

Is it protected to swim in Clear Lake, Iowa?

No. The state water regulators have warned guests from swimming within the Clear Lake due to the doubtless harmful algae. Even guests boating within the lake are additionally suggested to steer away from the japanese a part of the lake. There are additionally No Swimming indicators alongside the western shoreline warning guests to not swim or keep in touch with the algal materials.

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