The South Shore Inn is the only hotel located on the shores of Clear Lake, Iowa (just minutes from I-35). All rooms are lakefront with breath taking views of Clear Lake. Our guests have unlimited use of our private dock, free high-speed wireless internet access, and complimentary breakfast.
Enjoy beautiful sunsets, fishing, boating, watersports and so much more. We are conveniently located just 5 minutes from the Mason City airport (MCW) and only two hours from both Minneapolis, St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and Des Moines Airport (DSM).
The South Shore Inn – Clear Lake is the perfect place to stay if you are in town to enjoy the legendary Surf Ballroom, recently featured in USA Today. We are also conveniently located near North Iowa Fairgrounds, Music Man Square and the shops of Clear Lake, Iowa. Clear Lake is also short drive from Diamond Joe Casino in Northwood, Iowa. Check out our Facebook page for regular deals and offers at the South Shore Inn.
In June 2012, we opened The Landing Patio Bar and Grill on the lake side of the South Shore Inn to better serve our hotel guests and the visitors to Clear Lake. We have a full lunch and dinner menu as well as Brunch on Sunday mornings from 10am to 2pm. The Landing regularly hosts live music and bands right on the water in front of the hotel. Check out our Facebook page to see a scheduled list of events.
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 and others in 1932.
In 1933 the Surf Ballroom open 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.
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 gathered to 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.