Best Camping near Council Bluffs, IA

All 96 places to camp near Council Bluffs, IA. Only on TheDyrt.com: real photos & reviews for all top Council Bluffs campsites, RV parks, free camping, and more.

Camping near Council Bluffs, Iowa

Camping near Council Bluffs, Iowa, offers a diverse range of experiences for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you're looking for a peaceful retreat in nature or a family-friendly campground with plenty of amenities, the area has something to offer. From established campgrounds with full hookups to more rustic sites perfect for tent camping, you'll find a variety of options to suit your needs.

In this guide, we'll explore some of the top campgrounds near Council Bluffs, highlighting what campers like, what you should know, and tips for making the most of your camping trip. We'll also share insights from fellow campers to give you a better idea of what to expect.

What to do

The campgrounds around Council Bluffs offer a variety of activities to keep you entertained. Whether you enjoy hiking, fishing, or simply relaxing by the campfire, there's something for everyone.

For those who love hiking, Hitchcock County Nature Center is a great choice. Amber M. mentioned, "Tent sites are spacious and most are separated by lots of trees so there's plenty of shade, privacy, and wildlife. Firewood is available and hiking trails are nearby." Louisville State Recreation Area also offers a peaceful setting with wooded sites and open lawns, perfect for a relaxing stroll or a more vigorous hike.

Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy Lake Cunningham Campground, which features a large lake stocked with fish. Dana T. shared, "The entire park is well maintained, has a large lake stocked with fish, tent sites are close together, but tolerable."

What campers like

Campers appreciate the clean facilities, friendly staff, and the variety of amenities available at the campgrounds near Council Bluffs. Many campgrounds offer electric hookups, clean bathrooms, and well-maintained sites.

At West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday, Steve B. noted, "The bathrooms & laundry room are clean, a little outdated. The pull-through sites seem to be all gravel/stone. Our back-in site had a patio, fire pit, and nice patio furniture." Similarly, Hitchcock County Nature Center received high praise from Char S., who said, "Nice clean bathhouse and restrooms. Lots of hiking trails and even hiking sticks."

Campers also enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the opportunity to connect with nature. Lee L. mentioned about Louisville State Recreation Area, "The place is huge and sprawling, with wooded sites and open lawn. Friendly and peaceful and definitely one we'll go back to."

What you should know

While there are many positives to camping near Council Bluffs, there are a few things you should be aware of to ensure a smooth trip. Some campgrounds have issues with noise, mosquitoes, and limited privacy.

At Louisville State Recreation Area, Lee L. warned, "This is one of my top 3 for mosquitoes. Those things are relentless and not at all scared by deet. The only thing that surpassed them is the poison ivy that grows everywhere." Additionally, Mary M. pointed out, "The train tracks were less than 100 feet from our site with train traffic all night long."

Tent campers at West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday should be cautious, as Cjak118 noted, "The tent sites seem to have been an afterthought of the planning they have little to no shade/shade, no privacy and a very busy roadway quite close to them with nothing to separate them."

Tips for camping with families

Camping with families can be a rewarding experience, and the campgrounds near Council Bluffs offer plenty of family-friendly amenities and activities. Look for campgrounds with playgrounds, clean facilities, and spacious sites to ensure a comfortable stay.

Arrowhead Park Campground is a great option for families. Carole mentioned, "There were plenty of pit toilets around and they were very clean. The grounds offer plenty of mowed trails to walk about which we enjoyed a lot with our dogs over the weekend." Similarly, Lake Cunningham Campground offers a variety of activities for kids, including fishing and paddleboard rentals. Connor S. shared, "Fishing, paddleboard rentals, and a park are a few things to do. Awesome place!"

For a more secluded experience, consider Hitchcock County Nature Center. Amber M. noted, "Tent sites are spacious and most are separated by lots of trees so there's plenty of shade, privacy, and wildlife."

Tips from RVers

RVers will find plenty of options for camping near Council Bluffs, with many campgrounds offering full hookups, spacious sites, and easy access to amenities. Here are some tips from fellow RVers to help you make the most of your stay.

At Lake Cunningham Campground, James H. shared, "A relative's driveway would've been free, but here we got a level pull-thru spot and the encouragement and advice of a kind camp host as we got our tanks washed through and drained. Slips are nicely spaced apart from each other."

Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area is another great option for RVers. Jake C. mentioned, "The campground hosts were great and informed on the area. The potable water is spread out across the campground but I only had to make a few trips with my 6-gal jugs during my 2-week stay."

For those looking for a more luxurious experience, West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday offers premium sites with amenities like patios, fire pits, and nice patio furniture. Bea shared, "We stayed in site# 89. It was HEAVEN! Not only was it paved, but also had a huge patio with a table and Adirondack chairs, and a fire pit with additional seating."

Camping near Council Bluffs, Iowa, offers a variety of experiences for all types of campers. Whether you're looking for a peaceful retreat, a family-friendly campground, or a convenient spot for your RV, you'll find plenty of options to choose from. With clean facilities, friendly staff, and a range of activities, you're sure to have a memorable camping trip.

Best Camping Sites Near Council Bluffs, IA (96)

    Camper-submitted photo from Hitchcock County Nature Center
    Camper-submitted photo from Hitchcock County Nature Center
    Camper-submitted photo from Hitchcock County Nature Center
    Camper-submitted photo from Hitchcock County Nature Center
    Camper-submitted photo from Hitchcock County Nature Center
    Camper-submitted photo from Hitchcock County Nature Center

    1.

    Hitchcock County Nature Center

    27 Reviews
    105 Photos
    204 Saves
    Honey Creek, Iowa

    Welcome to Hitchcock County Nature Center, nestled near Honey Creek, IA. This campground is a gem, especially if you're into hiking and enjoying nature. Open from April to November, it's a great spot for both short stays and longer getaways.

    The campground offers a mix of tent, RV, and cabin accommodations. If you're bringing an RV, you'll appreciate the electric and sewer hookups. Tent campers will find spacious sites, many shaded by trees, providing a good amount of privacy. There's even firewood available for those cozy campfires.

    One of the standout features here is the cleanliness. Visitors consistently rave about the spotless bathrooms and hot showers. Even the pit toilets are kept in good condition, which is a pleasant surprise. If you're planning to stay, remember to bring cash as it's first-come, first-served, though you can also pay by card if the camp store is open.

    Hitchcock County Nature Center is a hiker's paradise. There are numerous trails right at your doorstep, ranging from easy to challenging. Some campers have even mentioned friendly cows along the way, adding a bit of charm to your hike. And if you're into stargazing, the clear skies here offer a great view, especially if you have a Starlink setup.

    For those who like a bit of convenience, there's a market on-site, and pets are welcome, so feel free to bring your furry friends along. The campground also allows alcohol, so you can enjoy a drink by the fire.

    In short, Hitchcock County Nature Center is a fantastic spot to unwind, explore, and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you're here for a night or a week, you'll find plenty to love.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $10 - $50 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Eugene T. Mahoney State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Eugene T. Mahoney State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Eugene T. Mahoney State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Eugene T. Mahoney State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Eugene T. Mahoney State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Eugene T. Mahoney State Park Campground

    2.

    Eugene T. Mahoney State Park Campground

    46 Reviews
    85 Photos
    151 Saves
    Ashland, Nebraska

    Mahoney State Park offer Full Hookup, Electric Plus and Electric campsites. There are a total of 148 campsites. Lakeside Campground (100-148 campsites) are located close to Baright Lake and Owen Marina. Little Creek Campground (1-99 campsites) is close to a playground, basketball court and the coin operated laundry facility. Both campgrounds have drinking water, showers and modern restrooms. A dump and fill station is located conveniently near the park entrance.

    Tent camping is available at Mahoney State Park in the two modern campgrounds. Tent campers will use the grassy area next to the pad site to set up their tent. Those tenting will pay the camping fee applicable to the site occupied. If making reservations, look for the site description of “tentable.” This means there is a level grassy space for a tent.

    Reservations are accepted for half of the campsites in Lakeside and Little Creek campgrounds up to 180 days in advance of arrival date and paid in full at the time the reservation is made. All other camping at Mahoney State Park is first-come, first-served. Campers with advance reservations and those camping first-come, first-served must stop at the Lauritzen Administration building located at the park entrance to check-in or register to camp prior to setting up on a campsite. If arriving after hours, campers must go to the Peter Kiewit Lodge customer service desk and check in or register for a first-come, first-served site.

    This modern state park is the perfect year round destination for a family escape. Families can visit the aquatic center and indoor playground, explore the park’s hiking and biking trails, adventure through the treetop ropes course, climb the observation tower and, when the weather turns cold, enjoy indoor rock climbing, sledding and ice skating. The jewel of the park is Peter Kiewit Lodge, which offers 40 guest rooms, most with balconies that offer a stunning view of the Platte River valley. The park also offers an arts and crafts center, an array of cabins, as well as camping opportunities. Mahoney State Park is located midway between Nebraska’s two largest cities, Lincoln and Omaha and is open year round.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday
    Camper-submitted photo from West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday
    Camper-submitted photo from West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday
    Camper-submitted photo from West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday
    Camper-submitted photo from West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday
    Camper-submitted photo from West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday

    3.

    West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday

    29 Reviews
    30 Photos
    68 Saves
    Gretna, Nebraska

    There's plenty to do at this award-winning KOA, just a short drive from downtown Omaha and Lincoln. Enjoy the Jumping Pillow, mini zip line, pedal karts, banana bikes, large playground, swimming pool, mini golf, basketball, sand volleyball, badminton and horseshoes. Weekends (Memorial Day to Labor Day) feature breakfast in the Cornhusker Cafe, hayrides, ice cream socials, movie nights, tie-dye and other planned activities. Area attractions include the Henry Doorly Zoo, Strategic Air & Space Museum, Boys Town and museums, and the new beautiful Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall. Nearby, enjoy wineries, casinos, top - rated golf courses and hiking/biking trails. Patio RV Sites and Deluxe Cabins make camping seem like a luxury vacation. Wings and freshly made pizza get rave reviews: You can even have them delivered to your site! Fido will love the off-leash doggie playground. Pool: Memorial Weekend - Labor Day Weekend. Max pull thru: 90 feet. Your hosts: Carrol & Eric Murray.

    This West Omaha KOA campground offers Nebraska camping at its finest! Our campground is Big-Rig friendly, with 80-foot full-hook-up pull-throughs and 50-amp service available. You can also enjoy our scenic tent sites, or stay cozy in one of the cabins. Our cabins and deluxe cabins are all heated and air-conditioned for your maximum comfort. All cabins and RV sites have cable TV.

    Once you're here, relax under a huge shade tree or activities, then refuel with a freshly made pizza - delivered right to your campsite! Or, enjoy breakfast in our tropical Cornhusker Cafe.

    Canine owners will love our K-9 Park, where you can let Fido romp and play off the leash.

    Your KOA hosts will be happy to provide you with information and maps to the many fun places to see. Come visit us - we'll make you feel welcome!

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Platte River State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Platte River State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Platte River State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Platte River State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Platte River State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Platte River State Park Campground

    4.

    Platte River State Park Campground

    30 Reviews
    95 Photos
    182 Saves
    South Bend, Nebraska

    Platte River State Park is nestled halfway between Nebraska’s two largest cities – and makes a great place for camping near Omaha. Before it was a state park it was two separate camps – Harriet Harding Campfire Girls Camp and Camp Esther K. Newman – and a tract of woodlands. The charming, vintage cabins that once housed campers today provide cozy accommodations while the gorgeous new glamping cabins offer a luxurious yet nature-immersive experience. Other popular draws are the park’s picturesque waterfall, spray park, scenic hiking and biking trails and two observation towers that allow those who climb to the top a spectacular view of the Platte River Basin.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $10 - $165 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Louisville State Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Louisville State Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Louisville State Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Louisville State Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Louisville State Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Louisville State Recreation Area

    5.

    Louisville State Recreation Area

    29 Reviews
    73 Photos
    68 Saves
    Louisville, Nebraska

    Encompassing 192 acres, Louisville State Recreation Area boasts five sandpit lakes with approximately 50 surface acres of water. Surrounded by towering cottonwood trees, this inviting area offers picnicking, swimming, fishing, non-power boating, canoe access to the Platte River and a brand new floating playground. Paddle board, water bike and kayak rentals are also available. These amenities, along with the area’s close proximity to Platte River, Mahoney state parks and Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Education Center, have made Louisville SRA a favorite spot among outdoor enthusiasts in the eastern part of the state.

    Camping reservations are available on half of Louisville SRA campsites.

    Louisville State Recreation Area offers campers Electric Plus, Electric and Basic campsites and is very popular with campers with 223 camping pads with 20-, 30- and 50-amp electrical hookups, as well as Basic campsites without electricity. Other amenities include shower facility and modern restrooms. Campers also have access to drinking water and a dump and fill station and a playground for children.

    Lousiville State Recreation Area offers canoe access to the Platte River, as well as a special canoe campsite on the river.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $10 - $35 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area

    6.

    Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area

    17 Reviews
    28 Photos
    109 Saves
    Papillion, Nebraska

    The Walnut Creek Lake and Recreation Area is a 450-acre mixed-use recreation area with a 105-acre reservoir. The park is located south of Highway 370 and west of 96th Street The park has 2 entrances, 1 off of 96th St and the other a 1.5 mile farther south and 1.5 mile west on Schram Road to Turkey Road

    Walnut Creek is unique, as it is a “pack in, pack out” facility. No trash service is offered in the park; you are responsible for removing any trash you generate during your visit, thus leaving the cleanliness of the park up to you, the user.

    RV park - 44 electric sites (30 or 50 amp), city water available, dump station, 55 feet concrete pads, paved roads, first come first serve, $16 per night with a 2 week limit, 402-679-9889

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • ADA Access
    • RVs

    $20 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Arrowhead Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Arrowhead Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Arrowhead Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Arrowhead Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Arrowhead Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Arrowhead Park Campground

    7.

    Arrowhead Park Campground

    18 Reviews
    18 Photos
    110 Saves
    Honey Creek, Iowa

    Welcome to Arrowhead Park Campground! Nestled near Neola, IA, this spot is a gem for anyone looking to escape into nature without straying too far from civilization. The campground offers a mix of tent, RV, and cabin accommodations, making it a versatile choice for different camping styles.

    One of the standout features here is the extensive network of mowed trails. Perfect for a leisurely stroll or a more vigorous hike, these trails are a hit with visitors, especially those with dogs. The campground also boasts clean pit toilets and showers, ensuring a comfortable stay even if you're roughing it a bit.

    For those traveling in RVs, you'll find electric hookups and a sanitary dump station conveniently located near the entrance. The sites are spacious, giving you plenty of room to spread out and enjoy your surroundings. If you're into fishing or boating, the nearby lake is a great spot to cast a line or paddle around.

    Pets are welcome, so feel free to bring your furry friends along for the adventure. And if you need to stock up on essentials, there's a market on-site. Fires are allowed, so you can enjoy a cozy evening around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and sharing stories.

    Visitors have praised the friendly management and the overall cleanliness of the campground. Whether you're just passing through or planning a longer stay, Arrowhead Park Campground offers a peaceful retreat with plenty of amenities to make your visit enjoyable.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Two Rivers State Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Two Rivers State Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Two Rivers State Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Two Rivers State Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Two Rivers State Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Two Rivers State Recreation Area

    8.

    Two Rivers State Recreation Area

    20 Reviews
    101 Photos
    66 Saves
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $30 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Cunningham Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Cunningham Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Cunningham Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Cunningham Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Cunningham Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Cunningham Campground

    9.

    Lake Cunningham Campground

    10 Reviews
    16 Photos
    48 Saves
    Omaha, Nebraska

    While tent camping won’t be available in 2024 due to our expanded youth programs and the transformation of the space for versatile events, our dedicated team is actively working on future plans to introduce a primitive camping option for an even more immersive outdoor experience. Stay tuned for updates!

    Whether you are visiting Omaha for the first time or looking for an affordable, family-friendly staycation, we’ve got what you’re looking for at Lake Cunningham. Discover the abundance of activities we have to offer, catered to those looking to explore the beauty of our park from land or water…or both!

    For those of you who plan to stay with us, we have 42 new campground stalls equipped with water, power and sanitary to each pad as well as a new well and shower house for campers to enjoy. We also have 41 upgraded campground stalls with access to a renovated shower house and electrical amplification. All campground stalls have new grills and firepits for you to enjoy.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $15 - $40 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Manawa State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Manawa State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Manawa State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Manawa State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Manawa State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Manawa State Park Campground

    10.

    Lake Manawa State Park Campground

    9 Reviews
    26 Photos
    21 Saves
    Council Bluffs, Iowa

    Campground Opening: The new campground is anticipated to open in early summer of 2022.

    Please check the official website for updates: https://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Iowa-State-Parks/Lake-Manawa-State-Park

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs

    $26 - $28 / night

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Frequently Asked Questions

What camping is available near Council Bluffs, IA?

According to TheDyrt.com, Council Bluffs, IA offers a wide range of camping options, with 96 campgrounds and RV parks near Council Bluffs, IA and 1 free dispersed camping spot.

Which is the most popular campground near Council Bluffs, IA?

According to TheDyrt.com, the most popular campground near Council Bluffs, IA is Hitchcock County Nature Center with a 4.7-star rating from 27 reviews.

Where can I find free dispersed camping near Council Bluffs, IA?

According to TheDyrt.com, there is 1 free dispersed camping spot near Council Bluffs, IA.

What parks are near Council Bluffs, IA?

According to TheDyrt.com, there are 4 parks near Council Bluffs, IA that allow camping, notably Saylorville Lake and Homme Lake.