Lake Pahoja in Lyon CountyFour Seasons at their Best

If it’s the outdoors you want, then it’s Northwest Iowa you’ll love. With plenty of hiking, biking, boating and parks, any recreational need can be met with ease. There are several top-notch golf courses and campgrounds, along with an abundance of trails and places to hunt and fish. Northwest Iowa is a recreational destination, offering activities every season of the year.

Sports enthusiasts can also find their niche. Collegiate athletics are nearby and semi-professional and professional teams are located within a short trip to Sioux City, Iowa or Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Paullina, Iowa is home to the Northwest Iowa Bruisers, a semi-professional football team that is a member of the North American Football League.

Sports Activities

  • Cherokee Aquatics Center - The Cherokee Aquatics Center is the center of summer activity in Cherokee. This public pool comes complete with zero-depth entry as well as low and high diving boards. The adjacent park is perfect for get-togethers or a leisurly stroll. The play area invites kids of all ages to get active..
  • Cherokee County Disk Golf Courses - Cherokee County is home to two disk golf courses. These courses offer a fun outing for individuals, friends and families. The course on the grounds of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute has been favorably mentioned in several nationwide publications.
  • Cherokee County golf courses - Aurelia, Marcus and Quimby all boast 9-hole municipal golf courses. Cherokee's Country Club course offers challenges for everyone - beginner to pro.
  • Sioux Center All Seasons Center - This facility contains an attractive indoor/outdoor aquatics center along with an indoor multipurpose ice arena and a senior center.
  • Landsmeer Golf Course – A beautiful Municipal 18 hole championship golf course complete with clubhouse, driving & putting range.
  • Oak Grove State Park - Oak Grove is a 101 acre, picturesque outdoor recreation area located 6.5 miles northeast of Hawarden. It is adjacent to Big Sioux Park, 278 acres that lend themselves to panoramic views of the Big Sioux River Valley. Together, the 379 acres offer access to the Big Sioux River, large outcroppings of Sioux Quartzite, electric and non-electric camp sites, hiking trails, park shelters, and educational programs held by Sioux County Conservation.
  • Big Sioux Recreational Area & Canoe Trail - An abundant recreational area for canoeing, hiking, fishing and hunting.
  • Lake Pahoja County Park - The 282-acre park, with a manmade lake, has excellent camping facilities and recreational amenities.
  • Professional Sports - Nearby cities of Sioux City, IA and Sioux Falls, SD both offer tremendous professional sports scenes. Sioux City offers Sioux City Explorer professional baseball, indoor football action with the Sioux City Bandits, and Sioux City Musketeers hockey games. Sioux Falls, is home to Sioux Falls Skyforce basketball, Sioux Falls Stampede hockey, Sioux Falls Storm indoor football and Sioux Falls Canaries baseball.
  • Rivers Bend Recreation Area/Campground
  • Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center - The LLRC is located  on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College one mile west of the City of Sheldon. The facility is available for college students, staff, faculty and community members. Besides the wellness facilities and equipment, it provides expanded space for business and industry training, conventions, conferences, and career, trade, and home shows. 


  • Inkpaduta Canoe Trail – Cherokee - This trail offers recreational opportunities and is rich in local history. It follows the Little Sioux River, offering excellent fishing and scenic opportunities. This river sharply meanders with a sand, mud and gravel bottom, and has high mud banks throughout most of its course. The current is quite slow, as the rate of fall averages only two feet per mile.
  • O'Brien County Parks - The O'Brien County Conservation Board manages 26 individual parks, natural areas, preserves, and praries encompassing some 621 acres across O'Brien County. Activities inclulde camping, fishing, hiking, and many other activites. 

Fishing & Hunting

  • Willow Creek Nature Center & Recreation Area
  • Sioux County Sportsmen's Club - The Sioux County Sportsmen's Club is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife habitat to support future generations of sportsmen. Purchased land is turned over to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and The Sioux County Conservation Board for management for the sole purpose of public hunting and fishing. The website has excellent maps for your hunting and fishing adventures in Sioux County.
  • Hole in the Wall Hunt Club
  • O'Brien County Parks - The O'Brien County Conservation Board manages 26 individual parks, natural areas, preserves, and praries encompassing some 621 acres across O'Brien County. Activities inclulde camping, fishing, hiking, and many other activites. 
  • Prairie Heritage Center - The Prairie Heritage Center provides environmental education as it relates to the prairie and the county, to preserve and protect our prairie heritage, and to encourage economic development with regards to recreation and historic exploration. 

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