Clear Lake, Iowa is one of our favorite spots

Clear Lake Iowa
A woman and her dogs enjoy a beautiful day at Clear Lake.

As the summer season winds down, lots of people are planning that final summer getaway. Labor Day allows most people a three-day weekend of fun in the sun. Maybe, they’ll do some camping, boating, hiking or fishing. We have fallen in love with a community that offers all of this, plus more. Clear Lake, Iowa, is a community that we have enjoyed visiting multiple times in the past year or so.

Clear Lake, with a population of 7,000 people, offers several nature and recreation activities along its lakeshore. But, it offers much more. Visitors can take in local attractions and museums and several outstanding restaurants and bars,

The lakeshore is beautiful. A couple of beaches are located around the lake, which allows people to enjoy some sun and swimming. It also has an outstanding walking trail around a portion of it in town, with benches and viewing spots to take in the sights of Clear Lake.

Clear Lake Iowa
Clear Lake’s beach is a popular place during summer months.

Nothing beats a lake cruise on the Lady of the Lake. It’s an enjoyable 90-minute cruise that takes you around the entire lake. You’ll see people riding boats, skiing, fishing and just enjoying life alongside the lake.

Clear Lake Iowa
Lady of the Lake was prepping for its inaugural cruises of the year during our visit.

Clear Lake is home to some outstanding restaurants and shops. Antique and home décor stores can be found along the main street. We have enjoyed checking out stores such as Collectors Wonderland and The Red Geranium. Larson’s Mercantile is an excellent location for souvenir shopping. We actually found pens for the entire family there. It’s a big deal to us because it’s not common to find something with our youngest daughter’s name on it – Mallory.

Clear Lake Iowa
The Red Geranium is one of several excellent shops along the main street just off of the lake.

The Landing Patio Bar and Grill at the South Shore Inn hotel offers some amazing menu items. We always have Buffalo wings as an appetizer. I say “always” like I’m there on a regular basis. But, eating there three times in three trips could constitute as a regular basis. My favorite menu item is the Prime Steak Sandwich.

Clear Lake Iowa
The Landing is an outstanding place for lunch and dinner. Your meal comes with a lake view.

The community has great hotel and condo choices, as well, including the South Shore Inn and the Best Western hotels. The South Shore Inn offers a quaint stay, as it only has a few rooms. It’s an excellent choice when you want to be next to the lake, as our room had a great view of Clear Lake. The Best Western is on the northwest side of town, but remains only a few minutes from anywhere in town. We enjoyed our stay. We also enjoyed a nice stay at a condo during our first visit.

Clear Lake Iowa
The South Shore Inn provides outstanding accommodations with a lake view.

You don’t have to spend all your time at the lake (though I do love the view). Clear Lake offers several attractions, including the famous Surf Ballroom, a firefighter’s museum, as well as a little chapel.

A concert at the Surf Ballroom was the last for early Rock-n-Roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson. The three perished in a small plane crash (along with their pilot) on the edge of Clear Lake Feb. 3, 1959. A memorial is located on the privately owned farm field, but the owner is kind enough to let the public visit when they want. Holly’s impact on music is documented in the song “American Pie” by Don McLean.

Clear Lake Iowa
The three-record memorial is located near the Surf Ballroom, where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” last performed.

The Guardian Angel Roadside Chapel is located on the southeast edge of town. The chapel was built in 1991, and rebuilt two years after being destroyed by fire (according to It sits about 20 people and is used for services. The stained glass is immaculate.

Clear Lake Iowa
The small roadside chapel is an interesting location to check out. Services can be held here.

Before leaving town, make sure you stop by the South Shore Sweet Shop for an ice cream treat. We shared a banana split.

Clear Lake Iowa
Who doesn’t want ice cream from a sweet shop in the shape of a giant ice cream cone?

Clear Lake has become one of my favorite places to visit any time of the year. And, we have visited during three of the four seasons. Fall is the lone season that we haven’t spent a lot of time there. We’ve visited twice during the winter, including a trip to the city’s annual winter kite festival. So, a Fall trip to Clear lake is hihg on our list. That, and a pontoon boat ride in the lake. Oh, plus finally seeing a nice sunset during our visit.

If you enjoy the great outdoors, water or just a nice relaxing time, then we recommend you visit Clear Lake. You’ll love it!

For more information on Clear Lake visit

Disclaimer: Thank you to the Clear lake visitors bureau and the South Shore Inn for the complimentary room during our Instagram takeover of the city. However, all views and opinions are ours.