The best camping in
Iowa

953 Reviews709 Campgrounds

Best known for its rich farming history, Iowa is also rich and diverse in nature, with a multitude of destinations to camp and hike. If you’re planning on camping in Iowa, you’re in luck.

Effigy Mounds National Monument is situated on the bank of the Mississippi River at the eastern border of Iowa. Part of the “driftless” region of Iowa that was left untouched by the passing glaciers thousands of years ago, the area’s bluffs, forests, and other habitats host diverse ecosystems to explore and admire.

More than that, Effigy Mounds is notable for its historic settlement by the Native American Effigy Moundbuilders, who build massive sets of mounds that, from a bird’s eye view, form the shape of animals such as bears, cats, and birds. These nature-inspired monuments blend well with the natural scenery, making it an ideal site for camping.

Another excellent site for camping in Iowa is Maquoketa Caves State Park. Located next to the eastern Iowa town of Maquoketa, the 370-acre park contains amazing caves weaving throughout the limestone bedrock of the bluffs. Spelunkers and nature-enthusiasts alike will enjoy exploring the caverns, such as the 800-foot long Dancehall Cave.

Even if you’re not up for venturing into the caverns, there are plenty of other things to do at Maquoketa Caves. Hikers can walk along six miles of trails throughout the park, passing by habitats ranging from bluffs to woodlands to prairies. Unfortunately, the campgrounds are closed until October 2018 for renovations to the camping facilities, but when it is open again you should definitely consider a visit.

Camping in Iowa is diverse and plentiful, there are countless campsites and trails that you may wish to consider. Once you start exploring Iowa’s natural ecosystems, you’ll begin to see the true beauty of the vibrant state.

This map requires WebGL

Please update your web browser or enable WebGL to view the map.

Troubleshooting Info
EXPLORE
The Dyrt App

The #1 Camping App

Camp with confidence with the highest-ranked camping app for both iOS and Android. Search more than 1 million listings, reviews, and tips for campsites across the U.S.

Enter your phone number to get the app.

The Dyrt App The #1 Camping App
Recent Reviews in Iowa
Camping at whitebreast

Has some very nice shaded spots. Can walk down to the dock. We love to camp there every Fourth of July. It is a great place for all ages to enjoy.

Quite, best early season

Next to skunk river oxbows, kayak, no swimming, water stagnant, no fish, about 4ft depth everywhere. Great hiking trails, clean, great camp hosts, ranger. All sites first come. Camp there 2-4 times a year.

Great backpacking loop

I've done this loop several times, and have never been disappointed. Lots of quiet, and many more great views on the upper trails. There are some thin trails down steeper hillsides, so make sure to take it slower if the ground is muddy.

Clean and well-maintained

Nice place to stop as we head west. Sites are level and well marked. The property is kept up nicely. Has a cute pond and is adjacent to a bike and running trail. The main lodge has very clean restrooms and showers with hot water! Recommended

No fun allowed

Extremely strict rules. Stayed twice and not impressed either time. Covid made it even worse.

Nice wooded primitive campground nestled in forested trail system

Primitive. Campground host, wood available in park, playground, showers, fishing, golfing, historical village, bike/hike/horse trails, park gates close after hours. Concessions available, pool.

Nice County Park

Camped by tent, basic amenities on-site-fire ring, table, etc. Went kayaking on lake and then on Des Moines River (close by). Nice wildlife areas, hiking, fishing, etc. Pleasant staff.

Best Wildplace Camping in Iowa

Trout streams well fed, campsites spread out well, amenities good for primitive use area. Horses welcome, firewood and ice available. Historical Fire Tower hike/visit is a must. Primitive pack-in sites, 1 cabin available. Modern Cabin is well maintained, electricity, microwave, a full sized refrigerator, and two porches, where one of them is screened in. Sleeps 6.

Well Maintained, natural area with good amenties

Plenty of campsite offerings with good amenities. Paddling, fishing, hiking, swimming, to name a few. Firewood available. Conservation education center open seasonally with programs offered. Forest, prairie, wetland habitats. Not far from town for quick trip if needed.

Great place

Good campsite for a mellow weekend. When i visited we were the only campers there an it was awesome!