Best Campsites in Iowa
Located in the Midwestern U.S, Iowa is a charming state found between the Mississippi and Mississippi river. This beautiful state is famously known for its expansive cornfields and rolling hills, but it is rich and diverse with natural features such as forests, rivers, and expansive lakes. They offer amazing destinations for camping and hiking. Each of the camping sites combines great amenities and outdoor activities, which provide a memorable experience for the whole family. Whether you prefer pitching a tent or bringing your modern RV, equipped with the modern luxuries, Iowa has a lot to offer. Witness the unaltered and natural beauty of this state by visiting the following 15 Best campsites in Iowa.
1. Prairie Rose State Park
Many people who have visited this park rank it as the best camping destination in the state of Iowa. It is home to the beautiful Prairie Rose Lake where you can enjoy boating canoeing, fishing and swimming in its pristine cool waters or simply lounging on the beach. It also offers 7 miles of hiking trail where fitness enthusiasts can get their exercise in. It features two campgrounds, one primitive, and one modern equipped with electricity. Other amenities you can expect at Prairie Rose State Park are dump stations, playgrounds, baths, and showers. Two cabins have been set aside for those who do not travel with an RV or camping gear.
2. Coralville Dam Campgrounds
The Coralville Dam Campgrounds is the best place in Iowa to enjoy the sunset as it disappears behind the scenic Coralville Lake. Situated in the Iowa River valley, these campgrounds offer a great outdoor camping experience just on the edges of Iowa City. Camping is the favorite activity at the camp, however, it also offers more enticing activities such as swimming, fishing, biking and watching wildlife. You can also opt to lazy around and sunbathe on the pristine beach. Coralville campground can accommodate tents, RVs and trailers. The amenities you can expect include a dump station, electricity hookup, playgrounds among others.
3. Bellevue State Park
Situated along the Mississippi River just outside of Bellevue in Iowa, this beautiful park is an amazing camping destination. The campground offers tent and RV camping with amenities such as electricity hookups, clean water, showers, and dump stations. The main outdoor activity is hiking along the scenic views of the Mississippi River. The trail also passes through the restored prairie, an old limestone quarry, and a butterfly garden.
4. Stone State Park
Camping at this park is a memorable experience as it offers visitors a variety of fun activities as well as a chance to learn the rich history of the area. The Stone State Park features 6 miles of horse trails, 6 miles of a hiking trail and 8 miles of the mountain bike trail. After hiking the trails, you can visit the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center. The center is home to a 400-gallon aquarium, view history dioramas as well as a “walk under” prairie. Stone State offers basic amenities such as showers and baths as well as electric campsites, and cabins that visitors can rent.
5. Lake Ahquabi State Park
One of the best destinations for Lakeshore camping, Lake Ahquabi State Park is home to the beautiful Lake Ahquabi. It is a 115-acre man-made lake, which makes a perfect spot for camping. The main facilities the park offers include, paddleboat rentals, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, stand up paddleboards and fishing kayaks. The lake also provides playgrounds, sandy beaches, and a great swimming ground. It features 114 campsites, 85 of which have electrical hookups. The campsites in the park are also unique since they are located just next to the lakeshore. The 6.5 miles of the hiking trail at the state park are ideal for cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and hiking.
6. Cherry Glen Campground
If you plan to treat your whole family with a camping trip to Iowa, be sure to visit the Cherry Glen Campground. Located on the 26000 acres Saylorville Lake along the edges of Moines River valley, this campground features 125 family camping grounds, all equipped with clean water, bathrooms, showers dump stations and electric hookups. The whole family will enjoy water activities including, swimming, windsurfing, and sailing. There is even a disc golf course for those who prefer to avoid the water and stay dry.
7. Lake MacBride State Park
Do you enjoy watching birds fly about in their natural habitat? If yes, then you should visit the Lake MacBride State Park in Iowa. It is home to the famous Shorebirds, ospreys, and waterfowl, which flock the park in abundance during the spring and fall season. The state park features two different campgrounds-a modernized campground with electricity and a more primitive and non-electric campground with outhouses. At the park, you can indulge in activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, or just relaxing at the beach enjoying the sun.
8. Lewis and Clark State Park
This is a state park in Iowa, which features a pristine beach perfect for sunbathing. The lake next to the park is home to a variety of fish including bass, panfish, catfish, channel and northern pike, in which visitors enjoy fishing. The campsites at this state park offer amenities such as dump stations, bathrooms, and showers, electric and full hookups to provide campers a comfortable camping experience. If you might be a history buff and interested in the history of the Lewis and Clark keelboat and the other boats used in their discovery journeys, you can check out the full-size reproduction found at the park.
9. Pulpit Rock Campground
If Kayaking and canoeing are on top of your to-do list when visiting Iowa, then the Pulpit Rock Campground is the ideal destination. It offers the best camping experience complete with scenic views and enjoyable activities, just near a small town. It is located just two miles from Decorah, which allows visitors to enjoy the sites just by walking or biking along the camp trails. While at the park, you can enjoy your afternoon by renting a kayak or canoe and cruising down the Upper Iowa River.
10. Pilot Knob State Park
With land that covers 700 acres, Pilot Knob State Park is one of the oldest parks in Iowa. It was dedicated in 1923 and offers a variety of activities that the whole family can enjoy. It features amenities such as water, showers, dump station electricity, and a playground for the children. It is a favorite destination for many especially during the winter season as it offers ice-skating and a warming house equipped with heat and electricity to keep the visitors warm. A must checkout at the park is the Dead man’s Lake – a hidden 4-acre bog, which is the only one, found in the entire state.
11. Lacey Keosauqua State Park
The Lacey Keosauqua State Park features 6 family cabins, which are available in the season. This park offers shaded campsites, with amenities such as modern showers, water, and electricity. The main point of attraction at this park is the 19 Indian mounds, which were built by ancient Indians as a burial site. Iowa natives currently consider them sacred. Be sure to check out the beautiful hiking trails, which move along the cliffs and valleys of the Des Moines River. The 30-acre lake is the perfect place to enjoy other activities such as swimming, fishing, which are fun during the summer season.
12. Griffs Valley View RV Park & Campground
If you are looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax outdoors, this is the perfect spot. This campground is located in the Aloona city and features beautiful landscapes with well-manicured grounds. At the campground, you can enjoy amenities such as the fishing pond as well as exercise equipment. This park has also invested in the safety of the visitors as they have erected two storm shelters in case of emergencies.
13. Brushy Creek State Recreation Area
Bushy Creek is the best campground for horse camping in the state of Iowa. The horse-friendly campground boasts 45 miles of beautiful trails ideal for hiking, biking, and horse riding. The North Equine campground offers amenities including electricity, showers, hitch rails, a 100’ and 200’ arena as well as a horse wash area. This setup cannot be found anywhere else in the state. Bushy Creek Lake also offers an opportunity for water activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, and a large beach.
14. Sugar Bottom Campground & Recreational Area
Situated along the shores of Coralville Lake, the Sugar Bottom Campground & Recreational Area features 232 campgrounds that are best suited for tents and RVs. This campground is also located just 10 miles from the famous Devonian Fossil Gorge. Sugar Bottom maybe nestled deep in the heavily wooded area, campers can hike to the Cornville Lake with its pristine clear waters and sandy bottom. It is the perfect place to boat, swim, and fish and sunbathe.
15. Squaw Creek Park
If you enjoy golfing with your friends to spruce up your camping experience, then be sure to visit the Squaw Creek Park, Iowa. The park features the usual mountain biking trails, hiking and cross-country trails. However, the main draw to Squaw Creek is the popular Gardener Golf course, located just outside Cedar Rapids in the state. The park has 69 modern campsites complete with electricity bathrooms, shower, and a dump station. RV and tent camping are great for this park.
Popularly known for its farming history, Iowa has many variations in its landscape, ranging from heavily wooded areas, slopes, valleys, rivers, and beaches. The state is also home to a variety of wildlife such as cats, birds, and bears. The multitude of destinations and nature-inspired monuments make the camping sites in Iowa great for hiking, camping and myriad other outdoor activities. There are many site options you may want to consider but the above 15 best campsites in Iowa are guaranteed to give you a memorable camping experience.