Reasons Why You Should Consider Moving to Emmetsburg

Whether you’re simply looking for a new place to discover for a weekend or you’re ready to call Northwest Iowa your home, you should know the benefits of living in Emmetsburg. We have all the best of small town life nestled in the heart of the Midwest. We have so much to offer – a lake and recreation, culture, low cost of living, and so much more. Here are some of our favorite reasons why living in Emmetsburg is the best and why we think everyone should move here.


Lake Life

Emmetsburg is home to Five Island Lake, the 9th largest of Iowa’s 34 natural lakes. Five Island Lake is one of the state’s hidden gems. Residents and visitors enjoy activities year-round, including kayaking, boating, water skiing, and ice fishing. Experience all the perks of our beautiful, family-friendly lake without having to fight crowds and traffic like you might around larger lake destinations.

Five Island Lake Is Iowa’s Most Underrated Lake




Money isn’t everything, but it’s definitely a big consideration. Your dollar goes further in Emmetsburg. We spend less on groceries, less on utilities, and way less on housing (about 1/3 of the national median home cost) which means you have more money left in your pocket to spend on the things you enjoy like supporting the arts or dining at local restaurants.

A lower cost of living = a higher quality of life


Fun Activities

Emmetsburg’s role as Iowa’s Irish Capital and the sister city of Dublin, Ireland is put on full display every March during the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. People come from near and far (including Ireland!) to attend the three-day celebration and enjoy great food and drinks, live music, and of course the famous St. Pat’s parade.

March isn’t the only lively month in Emmetsburg. The Chamber of Commerce works to host several larger events during the summer including Fun on the Fourth, a day full of family fun and festivities at Soper Park, and Brewfest, an annual event with craft Iowa beers and wine, a growing home-brew competition, delicious food, and a live concert in front of Soper Park Beach.


Amenities & Entertainment

Emmetsburg may be a small town, but it has much to offer. From dining and drinking to events and entertainment, Emmetsburg has you covered. Emmetsburg is home to over twenty bars and restaurants (Chinese, Mexican, steak, pizza, coffee, and more), the Wild Rose Casino & Resort, a lakeside public golf course, an indoor archery range and store, a movie theater (with a $3 matinee!), bowling alley, volunteer-run community theater, beautiful community center and event venue, and a wellness center with an indoor pool.


Recreational Opportunities

Biking, hunting, fishing, swimming, kayaking, camping, snowmobiling, golfing, sports. We’ve got it. Emmetsburg offers abundant access to outdoor recreation. In addition to the lake, the Des Moines River on the west edge of Emmetsburg offers opportunities for kayakers and anglers. Emmetsburg’s growing Five Island Trail provides a safe place to walk, run, bike, skate, and more. Our campgrounds, many parks, and beach provide a great place for families to relax and spend time with one another. Children and adults can enjoy our basketball courts, sand volleyball, disc golf, playgrounds and picnic shelters, and multi-season rec leagues.


Irish Spirit

Our Irish heritage runs deep, and our Irish spirit is evident through every season. Our community is full of wit and charm, warmth and kindness, ingenuity and perseverance, fierce loyalty, and open arms.

There’s a saying in Gaelic, “Céad Míle Fáilte,” meaning “one hundred thousand welcomes.” Wherever you come from, whosever you be, you are welcome in Emmetsburg, a thousand times over.


Quality Education

Rich educational opportunities are available in Emmetsburg from preschool to undergrad. Private schooling is available at Emmetsburg Catholic School through 8th grade. The Emmetsburg Community School District serves students through high school. High school students have the opportunity to participate in work-based learning, career and technical education, and enroll in college-credit classes. Iowa Lakes Community College has a long list of two-year and certificate programs. Students may complete their bachelor’s degree by enrolling in online and distance-learning courses at Buena Vista University Emmetsburg.


Peace & Safety

Iowa is almost always listed in the top 10 of the safest places in the county to live, and Emmetsburg is no exception. Our community is very safe, with both low property and violent crime rates. Neighbors look out for one another here, and officers are dedicated to protecting residents (and making sure youngsters aren’t getting into trouble). Traffic is minimal, and kids can play safely outside. We value the peacefulness that comes with less noise and less rushing, and we spend time enjoying the moment and the people we’re with.



Economic Growth

The growth in business, industry, and recreational offerings in recent years makes Emmetsburg an exciting place to do business and to call home! Emmetsburg has attracted companies like Hy-Vee, Brookstone Lodge & Suites, Kwik Star, and Wild Rose Casino & Resort, and has welcomed many small businesses to the community. In fact, even through the pandemic Emmetsburg fostered a strong entrepreneurial environment, welcoming over a dozen new small businesses in 2020 and 2021.



In Emmetsburg you get that special feeling of living in a big family. Last names may have changed over time, but our warm welcoming nature is alive and well. Whether we are celebrating a big win on Friday nights or coming together when life gets so very hard, Emmetsburg defines community. Our neighbors are our friends, and our friends are always there for us.

We invite you to discover what it is like to be our neighbor and experience this amazing little place we call home. There is truly nowhere else quite like it.


For nearly 150 years, people have been drawn here, to the southern tip of a lake with five islands. It was here that our 13 founders, driven here by a desperate hunger, founded a Irish colony, started a dream and created a community.

We believe in education – Where our students take flight and set sail.
We believe in heritage – Where our stories matter, from Irish beginnings to our diversity today.
We believe in health – Live strong, live long, and live full.
We believe in our nature – Our fields fuel us, our trails connect us, and our lake anchors us.
We believe in community.

We are Emmetsburg. And we are glad to welcome you.

This charming spot is one of Iowa’s best-kept secrets, so be sure to visit this summer!