Iowa's own Great Lakes region is home to one of the state's not-so-hidden gems. Each year, Gull Point State Park welcomes thousands of visitors looking to fish, swim, and launch out into the clear waters of West Okoboji Lake, which is considered one of the best fishing destinations in Iowa. Outdoor enthusiasts who prefer to stay on dry land can also enjoy hiking, wildlife watching, and picnicking. Keep your eyes peeled on the park's interpretive trail -- you just might spot a docile deer roaming these woods!
The park's day-use lodge is also a spectacular venue for weddings, family gatherings, and other special events. This historic structure can accommodate up to 200 guests and comes complete with a fireplace, kitchen appliances, and stylish wicker furniture.
Planning an RV camping trip to Gull Point State Park? You'd be wise to pack some insect repellent in your motorhome -- the lake's algae blooms attract all sorts of biting critters in the summer! Speaking of summer, Gull Point State Park is a great place to beat the heat, thanks to its abundant shade and swimming opportunities.
When you're ready to crank up the rig and hit the road again, take a day trip into the city of Spirit Lake, nestled in the heart of the Great Lakes region. Fish the waters of East Okoboji Lake, or treat the kids to an excursion at Spirit Lake's splash pad. Spirit Lake also has plenty of places to grab a bite or pick up some last-minute camping supplies.
Take care when traveling through the park in a big rig -- these paved roads, while wide enough to accommodate most vehicles, wind through a heavily wooded area and feature sharp turns that large RVs may find difficult to navigate. Keep an eye out for fallen tree branches and other road hazards after a storm.
The park's location just outside the residential section of the village of Wahpeton means you'll enjoy plenty of peace and quiet -- and limited amenities. If you need supplies or just want to explore the local area, drive north on Highway 86 and then east on Highway 9 to reach the town of Spirit Lake, home to all the creature comforts campers might need.
Limited parking is available at Gull Point State Park. The park's main parking lot is located at the entrance. Visitors can also park their vehicle at the lot by the dump station.
Most Iowa state parks do not require advanced reservations, and the same applies for Gull Point State Park. A first-come, first-served policy applies to roughly half the sites at Gull Point State Park. This campground is one of the most popular destinations in the Iowa Great Lakes area, so campers planning their trip for a holiday weekend during the peak season might want to book their site in advance.
Gull Point State Park's Campground features 112 sites for campers in tents and motorhomes. More than half of the sites offer hookups to 30-amp electricity, while the remaining sites are primitive. Centrally located restroom and shower facilities make it easy to freshen up after a long day at the lake. Other amenities include a grill, dump station, playground, and drinking water. Note the water is usually turned off during the winter months.
Sites can accommodate trailers and RVs between 15 and 45 feet long. The Civilian Conservation Corps established this park back in the 1930s, so it was not exactly built with RV campers in mind. As a result, not all sites are level, and most are grassy, so you might want to pack the leveling blocks in the rig.
Feel free to bring your four-legged friend along for your camping trip! This pet-friendly campground welcomes dogs who are leashed and well-behaved.
Avid anglers traveling through the Great Lakes region will want to stop at Gull Point State Park. All kinds of fish are biting at West Okoboji Lake, including bass, catfish, bullhead, and so many more. Of course, you'll need to obtain a valid Iowa fishing license before casting your line. If you forget to pack your rod and reel in the campervan, don't worry -- the Great Lakes region offers plenty of rental services and sports equipment retailers. Ice fishing is also available at Gull Point State Park when weather conditions permit.
Watercraft of all types, from kayaks and sailboats to jet skis and powerboats, are welcome to launch into West Okoboji Lake. The park provides both fishing and boating docks, making it easy to park up and head back to your campsite after spending the day on the water. Iowa state parks require watercraft to be registered with the state and free of nuisance species.
Looking for a more intimate encounter with West Okoboji Lake? Grab your swimsuit and towel and make a beeline for the swimming beach! Everyone is welcome to swim the shallows of the lake, making this the perfect place for the kids to earn their water wings. If you time your swim just right, you can soak up stunning views of the sunrise over the lake. Early morning visits are recommended for those who want the beach all to themselves -- this small spot gets crowded in the summer!
Though most folks come to Gull Point for its water activities, hiking is a big draw to the park as well. The Gull Point State Park Complex, which includes a number of nearby state parks and recreation areas, boasts an extensive trail system that connects the parks together. Barney Peterson Nature Trail is the park's most popular at a mile-and-a-half long, offering up-close encounters with the park's flora and fauna.
When you're packing the rig for your adventures at Gull Point State Park, don't forget the picnic basket! You'll find plenty of places to spread out a blanket and chow down in the shade or on the shore. Planning to host a full-fledged family gathering? Inquire about renting one of the park's picnic shelters. Note, though, that the picnic shelters are separate from the lodge.
Thrill-seekers itching to break in their winter gear will find some prime cross-country skiing opportunities at Gull Point State Park in the off-season. It is unclear whether the park is staffed in the winter, or if the trails are groomed, so come prepared with all necessary equipment. Cross-country skiers are advised to stay on marked trails.