Summer isn't summer without dining outside. At the Iowa Great Lakes, you have plenty of choices to choose from.
Maxwell's Beach Cafe in Arnolds Park offers a delicious patio menu that complements the high level of cuisine offered indoors. Umbrellas, fans and heaters keep things bearable even when Iowa weather doesn't cooperate. They also have a covered area that is screened off from the frequent gusty Iowa winds, but still outside.
The Taco House is a long-standing institution with fast, fresh Mexican dishes. While the majority of seating is indoors, there are outdoor tables, as well. Located adjacent to the Maywood area of West Lake Okoboji -- plenty of oak trees, and off the traffic of the main drag.
The Wharf is another institution that features a nearly endless parade of boats as they pass underneath "the grade" bridge on Highway 71. Great views, and great food options.
The Ritz -- it's a bar, it's a pizza joint, it's a nightclub. Or something else entirely different. Regardless, The Ritz is located on Highway 71 and overlooks East Lake Okoboji.
Across the road from The Ritz is the Dry Dock lounge. Breakfast, lunch and dinner available from this popular, but generally quiet, neighborhood-style bar.
The Gardens at the Central Emporium is a well-known Okoboji hot spot. Dining outside involves overlooking Smith's Bay on beautiful West Lake Okoboji. Food is a wide range of bar fare, with more than a few surprises.
The Barefoot Bar at Parks' Marina is its own unique world. You can even check out their webcams to see how big the crowd is. Umbrellas, heaters, fans, coolers, tons of bar staff, and frequent high-quality live entertainment complement the burger, hot dog, nacho, and rib bare. It's popular for a reason.
Nearly all the golf courses in the area offer outdoor dining opportunities, as do many of the local watering holes.
Don't be shy, and don't be stingy -- make an effort to try them all when you visit Okoboji!