Current Events and Activities

Discounted rates available October – April

  1. Walleye Classic. The largest walleye tournament in Iowa! The Clear Lake Fishing Club hosts TWO walleye tournaments each year, one in the fall and one in the spring! Rooms go fast for these tournaments, so book your room as soon as you can!
  2.  Plant Sale & Gardening Fair.  Free admission, find a large variety of plants and gardening items at the Central Gardens in Clear Lake, Iowa! Saturday, May 20 2023
  3. The Clear Lake Farmers Market. Hosted every Saturday, May – October, in the Surf Ballroom parking lot! The Landing on Clear Lake enjoys serving the freshest ingredients from our local Clear Lake Farmers Market.
  4. TRI Clear Lake (Triathlon). The 7th annual TRI Clear Lake will be held on May 27, 2023. Perfect for beginners or those who are looking to train for larger races! This is an event you won’t want to miss!
  5.  City Wide Garage Sales. This is a community event for families, collectors, and bargain hunters from around the area! Happening June 3rd, July 15th, August 12th and September 16th, 2023.
  6. The Best Fourth of July Celebration in Iowa. We may be a little biased, but Clear Lake puts on one of the best July fourth celebrations we’ve ever seen! Enjoy a five day carnival starting on June 29th ending on July 5th. Vendors, food trucks, fireworks, parades (including a boat parade), and much more! You won’t want to miss this!!
  7. Thursday’s on Main. Every Thursday, June – August, there are vendors, food trucks, and kid friendly activities located on the Main Ave. Thursday’s are the time to come visit Clear Lake!
  8. CLASS Car Show and Summer Dance Cruise. A packed event each year, this car show draws people from all over the nation to show off their sweet ride. Whether you own a classic car or just want to see all the hot rides, you’ll be sure to have fun! Hosted August 5th.
  9. Concerts at the Surf Ballroom. The historic Surf Ballroom hosts many popular concerts throughout the year and Lakeside Inn is the perfect place to stay when coming to town for a concert!
  10. Christmas by the Lake. The first weekend in December each year, Clear Lake hosts Christmas by the Lake. At this event, there is a parade, vendors, children activities, as well as an end of night lakeside firework show! Lakeside Inn has a perfect view of this firework show, so book your room early!
  11. Winter Dance Party. Honoring: Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. The day the music died. Each year, the historic Surf Ballroom hosts the Winter Dance Party in honor of the three late legends as the Surf Ballroom was the last place they performed. More history about the three legends located at the bottom of this page. This event books extremely fast, so you’ll want to book your room as soon as possible!

Explore Clear Lake

The region around the lake that would later be called Clear Lake was a summer home to the Sioux and Winnebago natives. During a land survey of northern Iowa done in 1832 by Nathan Boone, the son of the famous explorer, Daniel Boone a map was made showing the lake and other bodies of water in the area.

In 1851 Joseph Hewitt and James Dickirson brought their families to camp on the east side of Clear Lake, soon building a cabin, and began a friendship with the Winnebago natives. By 1853 many more white settlers had also came to settle in the area. By the year 1855 the first Clear Lake school was built and the first steam saw mill. In 1855 a hotel was built by James Crow.

By 1870 the town had 775 residents and by 1871 the streets were graded and sidewalks were made of raised boards, a sure sign of thriving new city. The city of Clear Lake was incorporated on May 26, 1871. The first bandstand built in Clear Lake was in 1877 at the City Park. The town grew and built its first library in 1889. In 1909 Bayside Amusement park opens for the first time. The first North Iowa Band Festival was organized by John Kopecky in 1932.

In 1933 the Surf Ballroom opened up on the site of the old Tom Tom ballroom that had been destroyed by fire. The opening dance night had approximately 700 couples attending. In 1947 the Surf Ballroom burned down and a new Surf Ballroom was built across the street in 1948. The Bayside Amusement park closed down in 1958.

The Day The Music Died

In the early hours of February 3, 1959, an aircraft carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper, who had been performing at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, took off from the local runway in nearby Mason City, on its way to the next show in Moorhead, Minnesota.

The plane crashed soon after takeoff, killing all aboard. This event was later eulogized by folk singer Don McLean in his famous song, “American Pie“, in which the death of these ’50s icons serves as a metaphor for greater changes within American society as a whole.

In June 1988 around 600 people gatheredto witness the dedication of the monument to the deceased rock

and roll legends.

Clear Lake also replaced street signs officially changing 2nd Place North to Buddy Holly Place in

honor of the late singer.

We invite you to stay in Clear Lake, Iowa to experience our genuine Midwestern hospitality, an abundance of recreational activities on & off of the lake, world renowned attractions, fabulous shopping & di

ning experiences, and a variety of award winning events throughout the year!

Clear Lake Attractions

The Lakeside Inn is conveniently located a short distance from many attractions. 

Here are just a few…

Arts & Culture

Surf Ballroom – Site of Buddy Holly’s last concert, the Surf Ballroom still has concerts and can be reserved as a convention hall or reception site. It is also a tourist attraction, and every February has a tribute to those who perished in the February 3, 1959 flight.

Lady of the Lake – The stern wheeler ferry boat takes passengers on a scenic cruise around Clear Lake. The Lady of the Lake has an enclosed lower level and an open upper level.

Clear Lake Fire Museum – Designed to resemble an early fire station, this museum’s highlights include a 1924 Ahrens-Fox pumper truck, the city’s 1883 hand-pulled hose cart, and the original fire bell used by the department. Also, there is a memorial dedicated to honor all the firefighters who have served Clear Lake.

Fort Custer Maze – the maze covers nearly two acres and has over two miles of trail. The design is changed weekly during the summer season and prizes are given weekly for the fastest times.

Clear Lake Arts Center – This non-profit organization, the Arts Center displays local and regional artists’ work along with a sales gallery and art classes open to the public.