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I love Platte River State Park; there are accommodations for every type of camper - cabins, RV, privative - hell they even have teepees!
On top of the excellent camping offered, they have a wealth of amazing hiking / biking trails that traverse through some amazing scenery. Just like the camping, you can pick between the less intensive paved walkways or you can walk along the hilly bluffs that contour the Platte River.
The best feature of this park, in my opinion, is the four-mile paved recreation trail that goes around the entire 171-acre lake. Good for walking, running, or biking. The lake is beautiful, and we also saw people boating, kayaking, and fishing. Although swimming is also allowed, the beach was not the best for this activity.
The campsites are a little too close together for our liking, however, many are shaded and have a direct view of the lake. Full hookup, electrical, and primitive sites are available. We were there on a Sunday in August and the dumpster was overflowing, likely due to a large weekend crowd; I would expect that it would be emptied on Monday.
Lake Anita is a very nice state park about an hour west of Des Moines. There are also several picnic shelters located throughout the park and a nice playground centrally located in the playground.
Reserved electric unit 090 for the weekend, which had a scenic corn field for a backdrop - this is Iowa! Paved roads, level gravel sites, wide & mowed trails, clean pit toilets and a layout that isn’t too cramped. The pond has multiple shoreline fishing spots with picnic tables and a cleaning station. Basic playground in front of the beach which is a short drive or a ~1 mile trail walk away.
Our favorite place so far! What an absolutely beautiful state park. We were in a 30 ft motorhome and had a fantastic site right by the playground which was so fun for our little girls. Very clean campground with friendly folks all around. There was firewood for purchase and we had a great time. Beautiful walking trails along the lake. Breathtaking in the fall!
Lots of mature trees and grassy areas for playing ball or for the kids to run around! Nice cement pads but the trees need to be trimmed more frequently. Some cons are there isn’t fresh drinking water in convenient places..the hydrants are far as are the outhouses. The train tracks are super close and there’s a train every 30ish minutes so can be quite noisy! Over all, a beautiful place!
Pierce creek is just on the out side of the town Essex. There is nice quiet lake, with some fish jumping. On the Southside there is a day area with grills and picnic tables. There are also access to hiking, horse and bike trails. You go the west side and there is a equestrian campsite that is pretty basic. There is not much but electrical sites, corals, and a outhouse. Now on the north side there is a regular campground. There are pads and electrical hook ups. As well as the tents sites farther in. The bathrooms are full. There is sinks, toilets and even showers. This place maybe just that hidden gem for some of you in southwestern Iowa.
This is my second review, because second time is a charm. Even though the campsites are closer together than I am use to. We actually took 2 sites, one for us and one for my oldest sons site. This worked out and gave a little more space needed. This also gave us time to really explore those trails I was drooling over. We took one of the more scenic trails and took us over the top of some of those beautiful Loess Hills. I still believe it us a great hiking park, and is only a hour away from Omaha for us.
I was here during the week before labor day weekend but it was very quiet with decent restrooms and a great little lake. I didn't have the chance to walk over to the beach side of the lake but i did check out the boat launch side and took the time to enjoy the beauty! Overall a nice little place to sit back and enjoy life for a bit.. The sites are not very private but set up nice with parking for an RV, a fire ring, table and grassy area for a tent.