Fishing and boating activities abound at Pioneer Beach Resort, which has sheltered vacationers inside rustic cabins near the wooded shores of Spirit Lake and Okoboji Lake since the 1920s. Sprinkled across the resort's idyllic grounds, eight air-conditioned cabins each regale guests with a full kitchen, barbecue, and picnic table. As kids frolic across a playground, fishermen can stock up on snacks and live bait at the onsite, full-service bait-and-tackle shop before rehearsing largemouth-bass calls from atop ample fishing benches on a boating dock stretching 100 feet into the glistening waters. Resort guests may also charter pontoons by the hour ($100 for the first hour, $50 per hour after the first). Pioneer Beach Resort is nestled in the heart of the Iowa Great Lakes region, which brims with outdoor recreation, art galleries, live music, and a historic amusement park.
The course at Emerald Hills Golf Club is sculpted into hilly terrain that presents frequent doglegs, fast greens, and stone-lined water hazards. Though the relatively short, flat first hole would lead first-timers to believe otherwise, the course rewards conservative play as most fairways bend to some degree and require distance control to avoid unfavorable lies in the rough or in an alternate reality run by basketball-playing cartoon characters. The par 5 fifth hole, the course's most difficult hole, presents an uphill dogleg left onto an elevated, two-tiered green with breaks that are difficult to read. Emerald Hills Golf Club also features pristine practice facilities, lessons with resident golf pros, and an onsite clubhouse with a banquet hall and a cocktail lounge.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course
Total length of 6,632 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 72.6 from the back tees
Course slope of 125 from the back tees
Four sets of tees per hole