Once summer hits, Iowa is an amazing place to get away from daily life and escape with a camping getaway. Some of summer’s best memories are telling stories and roasting marshmallows around a campfire. Fortunately, the state of Iowa offers more than simply fields of corn and has great campgrounds in abundance, whether people prefer to camp in a good old tent, a trailer or RV, or a cozy cabin. Many of these campgrounds provide other activities as well, such as paddling, horseback riding, biking, fishing, and hiking. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
The Adventureland Campground in Altoona, Iowa is a full-service camping destination with all of the necessary facilities, including tent campsites, RV sites, recreational areas, two tropical courtyards, three swimming pools, modern restroom and shower facilities, laundry facilities, grills, fire circles, picnic tables, a fishing pond, a playground, a recreation room, a dump station, a dog run, and electric hookups. There are more than eighty full hookup sites able to accommodate big rigs, with a large amount being pull-thru accessible. The Adventureland campground also provides complimentary wireless internet. Along with camping, guests can also find hiking and biking opportunities.
2600 Adventureland Dr, Altoona, IA 50009, Phone: 515-265-7321
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Situated in Neola, Arrowhead Park is an ideal place to camp for those looking to truly spend time with nature. The family-friendly, 147-acre park has abundant camping, fishing, and other opportunities for outdoor activities, such as wildlife viewing, woodland hiking trails, volleyball courts, basketball courts, and a playground. Camping is popular in Arrowhead Park year-round, with tent camping possible nearly everywhere on the grounds. There are also restrooms, a shower house, over fifty spots featuring 50 and 30 amp electric service, and cozy cabins available for rent. Picnic tables and restrooms can also be found throughout Arrowhead Park.
29357 310th St, Neola, IA 51559, Phone: 12-485-2295
3.Backbone State Park
Backbone State Park offers abundant campsites across two campgrounds near Dundee, Iowa. The South Lake Campground features a dump station, a playground, two shower facilities, electric sites, and primitive sites. The Six Pine Campground, on the other hand, only offers pit latrines and non-electric campsites. For a more comfortable camping experience, Backbone State Park also has modern one-bedroom and two bedroom cabins equipped with air conditioning and heat. Campers can explore more of the park along the twenty-one miles of multi-use and hiking trails, and snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are possible as well during the winter season.
1347 129th St, Dundee, IA 52038, Phone: 563-924-2527
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4.Bellevue State Park Dyas Unit Campground
The Dyas Unit Campground in Bellevue State Park Dyas Unit Campground off numerous campsites, many of which include electrical hookups, as well as several amenities, such as a sanitary dump station, modern restroom facilities, and showers. Reservations for sites can be made in advance through the park’s reservation system, and about one-fourth of the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis with self-registration. The Bellevue State Park Dyas Unit also features a stream, scenic overlooks, nearly four miles of hiking trails, and a variety of wildlife. Deer Trail is easily accessible from the campground and is an easy, short trail.
21466 429th Ave, Bellevue, IA 52031, Phone: 563-872-4019
5.Big Woods Lake Campground
Located in Cedar Falls, the Big Woods Lake Campground offers guests several outdoor recreation opportunities within the city’s urban boundary, yet still retains a rural atmosphere. The lake encompasses approximately eighty-six acres and reaches a depth of thirty-foot feet at its deepest. Since only no-wake boating is allowed on the lake, it’s particularly great for fishing, including fish like northern pike, walleye, panfish, and largemouth bass. The Big Woods Lake Campground consists of fifty-five campsites with full hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings, along with a more primitive camping area with an option of both non-electric and electric sites.
1501 E Lake St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613, Phone: 319-433-7275
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6.Brushy Creek State Recreation Area
The Brushy Creek State Recreation Area near Lehigh, Iowa is one of the state’s premier destinations for outdoor recreation activities. Spanning across 6,500 acres, the recreation area contains the largest tracts of land for public recreation in Iowa, featuring a mosaic of lake habitats, riparian, timber, grassland, and native prairie. The on-site 690-acre lake is also the state’s deepest artificial permanent pool lake. The modern campgrounds offer electric campsites, equestrian campsites, pit vault toilets, electricity, and water hydrants. Brushy Creek is also home to extensive trail network traversing over forty miles, as well as fishing and hunting opportunities.
2802 Brushy Creek Rd, Lehigh, IA 50557, Phone: 515-543-8298
The CenLa RV Park in the town of Spirit Lake, Iowa benefits from a location in the middle of the Iowa Great Lakes region, on the shores of the scenic Center Lake. The campground is situated in the heart of all the action, yet is still hidden away enough for guests to have a peaceful and relaxing stay. Amenities at the campground include complimentary wireless internet, cable television, picnic tables, fire pits, a playground, restroom facilities, free showers, drinking water, and rental boats. Several outdoor recreation activities are possible at CenLa as well, such as swimming, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and more.
3200 US-71, Spirit Lake, IA 51360, Phone: 712-336-2925
8.Cherry Glen Campground
The Cherry Glen Campground is open through mid-April through mid-October and is situated on the Saylorville Lake Project. The lake itself and the surrounding area offers an array of outdoor activities, such as hunting, hiking, fishing, swimming, and boating. The spacious campground provides a total of 125 family campsites, each of which includes hookups for electricity. As for campground amenities, there’s a dump station, drinking water, shower facilities, flush toilets, a boat ramp, playgrounds, group shelters, and educational programs. A disc golf course, a hiking trail, and a visitor center are also located near the Cherry Glen Campground.
4338 North West 94th Place, Ankeny, IA 50021, Phone: 515-964-8792
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9.Chimney Rock Canoe Rental and Campground
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Chimney Rock Canoe Rental and Campground is located along the scenic banks of the Upper Iowa River, which is recognized as one of the country’s “Top 100 Advenutres” by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Situated near the “Chimney Rock’s in Northeast Iowa, the campground provides a rustic, relaxing country atmosphere on a private farm. Chimney Rock Campground is open throughout the entire year, however, campsites are available by reservation only from the beginning of November through the beginning of April. The pet-friendly campground includes modern restrooms, a dump station, electric sites, cabins, picnic tables, kayak and canoe rentals, hiking, and fishing.
3312 Chimney Rock Rd, Cresco, IA 52136, Phone: 563-735-5786
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10.Clear Lake State Park
Clear Lake State Park is situated along the southeast corner of the state’s beautiful Clear Lake, which encompasses more than 3,600 acres and is one of the premier outdoor recreation features in northern Iowa. While the park is just fifty-five acres in size, it’s home to a truly diverse set of recreation opportunities because of its natural beauty and its lake location. It also offers one of the state park system’s most popular campgrounds, containing a trailer dump station, shower facilities, and modern restrooms. Swimming is a popular activity at the 900-foot sandy beach and excellent fishing opportunities abounds.
6490 S Shore Ct, Clear Lake, IA 50428, Phone: 641-357-4212
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11.Coralville Dam Complex Campgrounds
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The Coralville Dam Complex Campgrounds is located on the shores of the scenic and beautiful Coralville Lake, offering a great destination for a family getaway. The area is full of outdoor recreation opportunities, such as camping, swimming, boating, hunting, picnicking, water skiing, both river and lake fishing, mountain biking, and hiking. Anglers can fish for walleye, crappie, catfish, and smallmouth and largemouth bass. On the western side is the West Overlook Campground consisting of almost one hundred standard electric sites, horseshoes, playground, boat ramp, and modern shower and restroom facilities. Just outside the campground is drinking water and a dump station.
4053 W Overlook Road NE, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-338-3543
12.Des Moines West KOA Holiday
© Des Moines West KOA Holiday
The Des Moines West KOA Holiday campground offers a wide variety of amenities and activities for guests. Rated as one of the best campgrounds and RV parks in the Des Moines area, the property features two dog parks, paddle boats, horseshoes, a huge jumping pillow, peddle cart rentals, trampoline basketball, Ladder Ball, Water Wars, Hunt Brother’s Pizza, and planned kids activities on the weekends. While the campground is situated less than two miles from Interstate 80, it still boasts plenty of country charm. Des Moines West KOA Holiday offers tent campsites, deluxe cabins, camping cabins, and full-hookup and pull-through RV sites.
34308 L Ave, Adel, IA 50003, Phone: 515-834-2729
13.Lake Anita State Park
Established in 1969, Lake Anita State Park is one of southwest Iowa’s most popular places for outdoor recreation. Spanning a little more than one thousand acres, the park is home to a 171-acre beautiful lake that provides an ideal setting for camping, hiking, or just relaxing on the beach. All of the campsites at Lake Anita State Park have easy access to the lake and the campground offers full hookup campsites with sewer and water, non-electric sites, and electric sites, along with two modern restroom and shower facilities. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the campground also shows movies on Saturdays nights.
55111 750th St, Anita, IA 50020, Phone: 712-762-3564
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14.Marion County Park
Located in Knoxville, Iowa, the 140-acre Marion County Park is one of the county’s oldest recreation areas and the rolling hills provide numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation. There are one hundred campsites in the modern Marion County Park campground, along with several basic amenities like picnic shelters, restroom facilities, and shower facilities. The park also features a basketball court, sports fields, playgrounds, a fishing pier, historical buildings, and a covered bridge and natural settings that serve as great backdrops for photos. The seven-acre fishing lake offers a chance for anglers to catch catfish, bluegill, and largemouth bass.
306 Willetts Dr, Knoxville, IA 50138, Phone: 641-828-2214
15.Newton / Des Moines East KOA Journey
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The Newton/Des Moines East KOA Journey campground offers a rolling, open landscape and both tent and RV campsites in Newton, Iowa. Campsites here include spacious and grassy back-in sites and pull-through, full hookup sites. There are also several clean cabins available at the KOA campground. Guests can relax by the pool from Memorial Day until Labor Day, fish for catfish, bass, and bluegill in the on-site fishing pond, pitch horseshoes or take a hike along the one-mile nature trail, or play a game on the nine-hole disc golf course. Children can also play on the playground, jumping pad, and sand pit.
1601 E 36th St S, Newton, IA 50208, Phone: 641-792-2428
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Located near the Riverfront Park in Charles City, Iowa, the R Campground is a privately-owned and operated camping destination that was opened in 1999 entirely to fill the need for a recreational campground in the area. The R Campground encompasses around eighteen acres on the banks of the Cedar River and features a three-acre pond that serves as an excellent fishing spot and a peaceful setting for a walk. Open fully between the months of April and November, the campground offers ten campsites year-round. As for other outdoor activities, there’s a sand volleyball court and two tetherball areas by the river.
1910 Clark St, Charles City, IA 50616, Phone: 641-257-0549
17.Riverview Ridge Campgrounds
Ranked as one of the top five “best campgrounds in Iowa,” the Riverview Ridge Campgrounds offers both tent camping and RV camping, including electric-only and full hookup sites. The property shows off the best landscape Eastern Iowa has to offer. Guests can explore eighty acres of terrain, scenic bluff views, river tubing, and more than ten miles of hiking trails. Riverview Ridge also offers numerous activities, such as seasonal group activities, playground areas, a beach, sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, outdoor games, movie nights, board games, and more. Coolers, kayaks, and inflatable tubes are available for rent as well.
24224 Riverview Rd, Cascade, IA, 52033, Phone: 563-543-1258
18.Sleepy Hollow RV Park & Campground
© Sleepy Hollow RV Park & Campground
The Sleepy Hollow RV Park and Campground is a family-friendly RV park in Oxford, Iowa that offers a comfortable atmosphere for people of all ages. GUests can make sand castle on a sandy beach, swim in the on-site in-ground pool, cast a line at the pond, and much more. The campground also hosts themed activities for kids on Saturdays during the summer months. Amenities at the Sleepy Hollow Campground include complimentary wireless internet, a camp store, a playground, an arcade room, board games, and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities. Campsites for RV include sites with full hookups with water and electricity.
3340 Black Hawk Ave NW, Oxford, IA 52322, Phone: 319-828-4900
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19.Sugar Bottom Campground
Located near the town of Solon along the banks of the Coralville Lake, the Sugar Bottom Campground consists of more than two hundred campsites, including walk-in non-electric sites, 30-amp electric sites, water hookup and 50-amp electric site, and full hookup sites, as well as many amenities, such as a boat ramp, beach, entrance station, drinking water, dump station, vault toilets, shower facilities, and modern restrooms. Activities at the Sugar Bottom Campground, and Coralville Lake in general, include swimming, boating, hunting, picnicking, water activities, mountain biking, hiking, disc golf, and fishing for catfish, walleye, crappie, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass.
2192 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE, Solon, IA 52333, Phone: 319-338-3543
20.Tailwater West Campground
Tailwater West Campground in Iowa City is located on the Coralville Lake Project in the Dam Complex. Situated on the Iowa River’s west bank, the campground features twenty-two sites for camping, including walk-in non-electric campsites, standard electric sites, and full hookup sites. Several amenities are provided at the Tailwater West Campground as well, such as a fish cleaning station and modern restroom facilities with showers. The Day Use Area includes ADA-accessible fishing piers, hiking trails, and a playground, and other activities include swimming, picnicking, fishing, and mountain biking. Drinking water and a dump station can be found just outside the campground.
2905 Prairie Du Chien Rd NE, Iowa City, IA 52240, Phone: 319-338-3685
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21.The Lazy H Campground
© The Lazy H Campground
The Lazy H Campground in Akron, Iowa is a privately owned, family-oriented campground nestled between the scenic northern entrance of the Loess Hills Bypass and the Big Sioux River. The picturesque campground includes water activities, miles of trails for biking and hiking, fishing at the 50-acre fisherman haven, and eight cabins on the Little Pearle Lake. The fishing area is stocked with rainbow trout, three kinds of catfish, bass, bluegill, crappie, perch, and walleye, and fishing gear can be bought at the camp office. There’s also a swimming beach and paddle board, paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, and boats can be rented.
701 IA-12, Akron, IA 51001, Phone: 712-568-5299
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The Timberline Campground, just a few miles from Des Moines, is nestled away from everything right on the edge of Waukee. Conveniently located less than two miles off of I-80, the campground facilities and amenities include wireless internet, a laundry room, a dump station, propane, a volleyball court, a basketball court, a dog park, recreation hall, playground, clean restroom facilities, picnic areas, a swimming pool, rental cabins, a camp store, and even Iowa wines. The store sells toys, ice cream, groceries, ice, RV supplies, and firewood. Arcade games, a ping pong table, and a pool table can be found in the Rec Hall.
31635 Ashworth Rd, Waukee, IA 50263, Phone: 515-987-1714
23.Waterloo / Lost Island Waterpark KOA Resort
The Waterloo/Lost Island Waterpark KOA Resort offers a tropical getaway within the middle of the Midwest. The island-themed campground in Waterloo, Iowa is situated right behind the Lost Island Waterpark, Adventure Golf, and Go Karts, providing a perfect destination for a family camping getaway. Guests can choose to stay in a tent, an RV, or a deluxe cabin and amenities at the campground include a camping kitchen, cable television, 50-amp electric service, an on-site gas station, a snack bar, wireless internet, bicycles, paddle boats, a dog park, and a disc golf course, as well as discount vouchers for the waterpark.
4550 Hess Rd, Waterloo, IA 50701, Phone: 319-233-3485
24.Roberts Creek West
Roberts Creek Park in Otley, Iowa is home to two different campgrounds: Roberts Creek East and Roberts Creek West. The Roberts Creek West Campground offers nearly one hundred campsites and is open on a seasonal basis from the beginning of April through the end of October. It also features additional parking areas, a playground area, two restroom facilities with flush toilets, and a modern shower house. Among the numerous campsites in Roberts West are 30-amp sites with picnic tables and fire rings, full hookup sites with 50-amp electric service, grassy sites, sites with concrete pads, and non-electric tent campsites.
Otley, IA 50214, Phone: 641-627-5507
24 Best Iowa Camping Spots
- Adventureland Campground, Photo: Voyagerix/stock.adobe.com
- Arrowhead Park, Photo: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/stock.adobe.com
- Backbone State Park, Photo: vmargineanu/stock.adobe.com
- Bellevue State Park Dyas Unit Campground, Photo: MoonfliesPhoto/stock.adobe.com
- Big Woods Lake Campground, Photo: gpointstudio/stock.adobe.com
- Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, Photo: EmotionPhoto/stock.adobe.com
- Cenla Campgrounds, Photo: Oleksandr/stock.adobe.com
- Cherry Glen Campground, Photo: methaphum/stock.adobe.com
- Chimney Rock Canoe Rental and Campground, Photo: Joaquin Corbalan/stock.adobe.com
- Clear Lake State Park, Photo: korchemkin/stock.adobe.com
- Coralville Dam Complex Campgrounds, Photo: Andy Dean/stock.adobe.com
- Des Moines West KOA Holiday, Photo: Des Moines West KOA Holiday
- Lake Anita State Park, Photo: brizmaker/stock.adobe.com
- Marion County Park, Photo: Kybele/stock.adobe.com
- Newton / Des Moines East KOA Journey, Photo: Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
- R Campground, Photo: naftizin/stock.adobe.com
- Riverview Ridge Campgrounds, Photo: Sergey/stock.adobe.com
- Sleepy Hollow RV Park & Campground, Photo: Sleepy Hollow RV Park & Campground
- Sugar Bottom Campground, Photo: cherryandbees/stock.adobe.com
- Tailwater West Campground, Photo: far700/stock.adobe.com
- The Lazy H Campground, Photo: The Lazy H Campground
- Timberline Campground, Photo: Erica Smit/stock.adobe.com
- Waterloo / Lost Island Waterpark KOA Resort, Photo: AlexR/stock.adobe.com
- Roberts Creek West, Photo: moodboard/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Jesse Kunerth/stock.adobe.com
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