It’s no secret there are a slew of excellent places to eat, drink and be merry in Clear Lake. I could create lists upon lists upon lists, to be honest. This quaint little oasis is bursting at the seams with establishments who serve all your favorite food and drinks while enjoying your time at the Lake.

But the ones listed below? Well, they are extra special. The best of the best. Receiving accolades for their excellence in creating a quality product or service for the many residents and visitors to our incredible lake town!

And really, who doesn’t love to win awards? The recognition for countless hours of hard work; all the blood, sweat and tears put in to build your business and make it the best.

Check out the winners!

1. Iowa’s Best Cocktails To Go – K&B Emporium

Making the list on Travel Iowa’s Best, these bagged cocktails are sold in reusable to-go bags so you can enjoy from your home or even on the boat!

It’s like a juice bag… but for adults!

What started as a means to survive through the epic shutdown of 2020 has become a staple to go along with take-out orders. These innovative drink pouches can be picked up in the café or you can place an order by calling Jayna at 641-357-4047 extension 2.

Jayna is K&B’s drink wizard, creating delicious concoctions for whatever your tastebuds desire. The most popular are the martinis and sangria. More specifically, the chocolate martini or the silent night martini.

2. Iowa’s Best Cookies – Cookies Etc.

Ooey, gooey deliciousness is nothing new at Cookie’s Etc. on Main Ave in Clear Lake. They have been whipping up their family recipe chocked full of goodness in every bite for years. Not only did they make Travel Iowa Best list for their cookies, but the sugar cookie itself was named “Best Cookie in the Midwest” by Midwest Living Magazine.

Just think, the simplest cookie. No frills. No added extra morsels to spice it up. Just a plain old sugar cookie. Literally THE BEST in all of the Midwest.

You know you want to try one. You know you can’t resist. But prepare yourself, because once you get there, you will feel the urge to try every flavor. And, thanks to their handy Cookie ATM located outside their store, you can have awesome cookies, and a slew of other treats, any time of the day or night you desire.

3. Top Donut Shop in Iowa – South Shore Donut Company

The best way to start your day at the Lake is with one of these spherical masterpieces. I call them that because they are not “just” donuts. Once that sugary goodness hits your lips, it starts a chain reaction of epic proportions. Each is concocted in such a way your taste buds will literally get up and dance a jig of glee.

They might be a tiny shop on South Shore, but their menu is nothing of the sort. Online preorders are listed weekly, and the shop is stocked each day for walk-ins. If you are visiting the Lake and want to give the DoCo a try, I suggest you follow the local trends. To truly live like a Clear Laker, you must try their favorites: Wedding Cake, Raspberry Bismark, Chocolate Wasted, and the French Toast.

There’s no better way to live your best life at the Lake than jumpstarting your day with South Shore Donuts!

4. Outstanding Lodging Property – Larch Pine Inn Bed & Breakfast

Nominated by the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, this cozy bed and breakfast took home the top honor for Outstanding Lodging Property at the Iowa Tourism Conference.

The Inn features four bedrooms with private bathrooms, as well as the Crow’s Nest, a one-bedroom apartment with full kitchen and living area above the two-stall garage. The parlor and dining area showcase the Victorian roots of the property, capturing the historic elegance. A wrap around porch completes the coziness, allowing guests to dine outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature all around them.

This quaint Inn is the perfect place to rest and relax or enjoy time with friends and family during every season. If you are planning a getaway to the Lake soon, be sure to check them out at

There you have it, folks. The “Best of the Best” right here in beautiful Clear Lake. As you plan your stay at this bustling Midwest vacation destination, be sure to pencil in some time to check them out. And, if you are looking for a full listing of all our incredible places to eat, drink and play while you’re visiting, there is a full directory at for your convenience.

See you at the Lake!