THE BEST CAMPING IN
Iowa
549 Reviews 697 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.

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Recent Reviews in Iowa
First to Review
Little known gem

Very nice campground! Friendly and helpful ranger. Not crowded even the weekend immediately after the 4th of July. Volleyball net, frisbee golf, bike trail, and playground!

Be prepared for mosquitoes though! Lots of standing water and lots of mosquitoes!

Just hike

Small Campground the few hookups cabins and a great place to hike .

Underwater

When camping there in the past great Campground for riding bikes and River fishing underwater this year due to the floods in Iowa..

Nice quiet campground

This is a very nice quiet campground close to a nice small lake. We stayed in space 30 and this area has just had the electrical updated and the are adding some new spots right by the lake. There is a boat dock right there and benches to sit and fish or watch the geese or loons from

Excellent place to camp

Very nice park. Quiet and clean.

Spacious sites, beautiful lake!

The campground itself is very nice. There is a lot of space between campsites, which is awesome!  Our site had a great view of the lake, as well.   The campgrounds are a drive away from the beach and most boat ramps.  The lake was great for kayaking, but the visit to Whitebreast beach knocked the campground scored down, as I typically look for the overall experience and not just sites/facilities in my rating.  Whitebreast beach had sand at the top, leading me to believe it would be a typical sandy beach-not at all!  As you made your way further down and into the water, there was muddy, wet clay and the beach floor was slimy and muddy. I even saw a young boy lose his shoes in the wet clay! I would return to the campground and kayak the lake, but I wouldn't recommend the beach!  I'm fairly certain my grandson and I both ended up with some kind of bug bites after being there-we're both still itching!!  Yuck! There is another beach at Lake Red Rock and perhaps it is nicer/cleaner, but I would stay away from Whitebreast if you don't like your feet sliming in clay and mud!

Nice and clean

Nice clean park, if passing through Iowa it's a nice overnight. A little loud if tent camping. Area not large enough to separate hard shell campers and tent campers. Plenty of fly's and mosquitoes, plenty of shade.

Best little park

Great place to go tent camping, very clean and quiet. They sell firewood bundles for $5. Easy trails for the kids to go hiking and playing in the creek to cool off in the heat. There is even a pond for fishing that you can take a trail from the campsite to. 100% going to go back and camp again.

Ranger Review: Sun Sleeves from Eclipse at Walking Stick Adventure Farm

Campground Review

This place has a lot to offer. It’s great for solo and couples looking for some relaxation, and families looking for a fun excursion. The area of land you have with this booking is so impressive, and very private. I was able to have a fantastic time. I arrived and was welcomed by a lovely couple eager to show me around and how their tipi set up worked. You could sleep 4 to 6 people inside no problem. I loved the outhouse. I know that’s weird to say, but it was clean, and had this really cool hot water shower set up with some sinks and a curtain. I dunno– I just loved the feeling of showering comfortably, but still being outside and having running water on demand. This place’s intention is to have all the camping necessities on site, so all you have to do is show up with a sleeping bag and not much else, focus on your vacation, and take advantage of the amenities. I definitely felt like it was“easy” to have a good time here. There is potable water and an electric hook up. There was also a few storage bins loaded with pots and pans, dishware, and everything else you could need to make a really nice meal over a campfire or with your stove. There was also a BBQ loaded with charcoal and roasting sticks for hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire pit. Loads of wood for you to use as well. A big sell for me was how there were a few different boats to take out on the lake they have. I kayaked, and there were 2 of those to go along with a row boat and a canoe. There are life jackets provided. You can feed the fish in there, or use the lures and rods provided to catch-and-release the underwater critters. At night, enjoy the light show of fireflies and stoke the fire inside your tipi or out by the waterfront, and think/talk about when you’ll come back for your next visit.

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Product Review**

As part of the Dyrt Ranger program I am given camping gear to test from time to time, and today I was reviewing the Sun Sleeves from Eclipse Sun Products. Great product! I immediately ordered a second pair in a different color. There are just so many times when you want to protect yourself from the sun but don’t want to apply sunscreen or wear clothing that makes you hot. These are UPF 50+ sleeves that allow you to cover your hands and arms while leaving your fingers free, and the material is very lightweight and breathable. A lot of people kept asking me“aren’t you hot?” but I was comfy even with temps in the 90s. I’ve used these for the last three weeks on the golf course, on my bike, while boating, playing disc golf, walking my dog, for softball games, and really just about every activity when the sun is out– including beer festival drinking! Pretty much everything I just mentioned The second pair I bought just lives in my car now, because it’s easily the best solve for road trips when the sun comes out during your travels. No more greasy sunscreened steering wheels! They are super easy to put on, come in different sizes and colors, and are machine washable. The material is very thin and flexible, so when you roll the hand covers out of the way, it doesn’t create this elastic pressure point. Super happy with these sleeves and really excited to be supporting a local company from Boulder, CO.

Nice and well maintained

Very nice park and not to near a train. Very modern facilities that were clean.

Nice Park

I stayed there last year and am going back this year. It’s a very nice park with several hiking trails. They have 25% of their sites designated as walk in sites.

Beautiful

I love this campground! Clean, well maintained, and the hosts are very friendly. Trail to the beach is clear, the playground has nice, safe equipment for the little kids. Sad that there were so many back up sites over the holiday weekend, would have liked to have been able to camp here. It being full more than a week before the holiday, shows how great it is.

Not my favorite

I prefer Clear Lake State park, but this was ok. We had lots of rain, and the sites got a bit muddy. The beach area was closed due to e-coli. Restrooms were clean, and always stocked.

Very nice

Very nice. Clean rest rooms and coin op showers. There were a lot of ticks, but the camp was quiet. I saw many people fishing.

First to Review
Awesome family fun

The park is clean and family friendly. The beach is a great addition for some family fun.

Ok

Some full hook ups, sites not very level, playground ok. Can hear shots from gun range next door. Dog park, pool, arcade. We have camped here a couple times, and stored our rig here for a while. Didn't find there was that much going on here to keep us busy. Not a lot of nature, no trails or biking accessible from campground.

Well run, lots of activities

Spots kind of level, lots of choices of pull thru or buddy sites. Decent playground, water pillow for bouncing, fishing pond, dog park, swimming pool. Well maintained, lots of planned activities. KOA, so not a lot of nature. But no traffic or train noise. Full hook ups, including TV.

It's fine

Like most Iowa state parks, no sewer or water hook ups at site. Not super level. Near red rock, but cannot see the lake from the campground, cannot access the bike trail directly from campground. Wooded area, no trails or anything special in the park. Showers flooded the bathroom and had to push the button every 30 seconds to keep the water going.

Around this area there are many Marion county campgrounds that have better sites and amenities.

Not a great spot for RVs

This park is a CCC built park. Lots of twists and turns for an RV to get to their spot. We have a longer TT, and it was tight and nerve wracking to navigate. We had reserved a spot that was supposed to be long enough for our trailer, but was not. They were luckily not full but the spot we found was on a slope and uneven. I thought about driving 4 hours back home rather than continue to try to get the RV level. Someone across the way took pitty and helped us. I think the best RV spots are up the hill by the bath house.

On Lake Okoboji but heavily wooded no view, acorns dropped on our roof every 10 minutes, I was afraid it would bust the skylight. Marshy area by the tent sites tons of mosquitoes. If you can get a spit at Emerson down the road, do that. Bath house and playground ok. No one answered the phone, no one at the ranger station. Rode our bikes down the road to get the bike trail.

Decent trip

Site 30.

We couldn't find many spots for the busy holiday but this park had a few. Very helpful host. Fun splashing in the river catching minnows by hand. Pretty park. Easy turns with the trailer. The RV spots were a mixed bag. Some shady (higher numbers), some full sun. Playground was skimpy. If you are over 12 ft, make sure and take the detour around the tunnel.

There are water hook ups, I just had to use 75 feet of hose to get to it. And the electric I had to use a 30 ft extension cord. Funny, I didn't have either and had to drive 24 miles to Walmart on a holiday to get them. I do think site 30 was probably the worst from what I saw. Wish that when I called to ask about the sites the county office would have mentioned some sites the hook ups are super far away. The sites have a little concrete pad which makes it easier to level.

Lots of room

Pull through sites, bathhouse was clean and showers were individual room with timed lights, motion sensors kept the shower interesting! Got to see turtles laying eggs and deer were all around. Family loved the fishing.

Great views from the tent spots

Beautiful views from our campsite. No electricity in this part of the campground, but that also made it less crowded. Definitely coming back 👍

Off the Grid

Mormon Trail is absolutely beautiful. Myself and some friends tent camped there over the weekend and we were not disappointed! It is a very small state park with only a couple tent sites/camper sites, so it is not over populated. The drive there is easy and beautiful. Big RV’s/campers might have a difficult time getting there as the road turns into a one lane, curvy gravel road. AT&T has absolutely no service there, but US cellular does. No showers/clean bathrooms, just 2 waterless restrooms. The lake has a very large, mostly shallow, swimming area, the water is absolutely perfect, along with a big sandy beach area. You can boat and fish on the lake as well. The stars are also very bright and beautiful (we are from a city with the light pollution hides them). I would highly recommend visiting this campsite if you love off the grid camping and don’t need to shower/primp everyday. What a relaxing/fun weekend we had!

The water to the rv smells so bad it makes me gag.

Bring plenty of bottled water for consumption.  The water has an awful smell.

Only place to camp in cute town

With the Riverside campground closed, this is the only place to camp in Webster City. It’s what you expect from a fairgrounds campground: open gravel/field with RV hook ups along the back fence, no shade or privacy, showers and restrooms in a fairground building. But everyone is pretty friendly and the town is cute. There were no individual picnic tables or fire pits, but most of the RV’ers seemed to have that figured out with their own equipment.

Only place to camp in cute town

With the Riverside campground closed, this is the only place to camp in Webster City. It’s what you expect from a fairgrounds campground: open gravel/field with RV hook ups along the back fence, no shade or privacy, showers and restrooms in a fairground building. But everyone is pretty friendly and the town is cute. There were no individual picnic tables or fire pits, but most of the RV’ers seemed to have that figured out with their own equipment.

Great experience

Spaces were clean, bathrooms were nice. Beach is very close. Showers were private. Close to many amenities and quiet overall

Nice small park

First time at Beeds Lake. Easy access to most sites as many are parallel parking style. Lots of shade on the outer sites, plenty of tent sites as well. Camp hosts were available and helpful. This will be in our list of places to return to.

Overall nice park

Nice park, a little run down, but there's a new park ranger in town who is trying to fix it up. New rental cabin almost finished, clean beach, boat ramp and fishing. Clean spacious bathrooms, nice playground for the kids and a really cool equestrian section. No store, no wood so get what you need before you get here.

Beautiful lake/Nice Campground

Nice campground with some newer facilities, well kept up and clean.  There are 2 parts to the campground, both nice and fairly full-but not completely on the weekend we stayed. Sites were fairly level and all pretty close to the showers/restrooms, and well spaced out between sites.   There were several hiking trails-maps seemed to not quite fit the trails and lake to some degree.  Several ponds have been added to the lake and along the hiking trails that aren't on the map that could assist in knowing where you're at along the trails.  Trails were signed fairly well but still seemed somewhat off from the maps both online and on site.