THE BEST CAMPING NEAR
Iowa City, IOWA
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Most Recent Iowa City Camping Reviews
Price is right

Stayed at modern campground. Very quiet midweek in October which was great because there would be no privacy between the small sites. Nice walking access to nice beach to dam trail. We appreciated the small playground near the north campground. Showers are meh, but overall value is great at $11 per night. It would be an annoyingly long drive to primitive campground.

Best campground ever!

Our kids had more fun at this campground than any other so far. They have the most amazing playgrounds (yes, two of them!) That we've ever seen. There were activities for kids of all ages, and they used a rubber composite on the ground at the playground so when kiddos fall, they aren't injured. There is also a beautiful walking/biking trail and canoe rentals.

The sites were extremely level and clean, electric and water hookups. The camp host was very friendly and had plenty of firewood and ice in stock.

Beautiful park

Great hike trails, beautiful scenery, nice town short bike ride away. I had a great trip even though it was cool and rainy. Wish there was a river view from camp sites. Shower was clean but did not get above warm.

Great stopover to visit Amana Colonies

This is a great location right in the Amana Colonies to explore the area. There are sites for tents up to big rigs. They have showers and laundry and the folks are very nice. There are some trees scattered throughout the campground but mostly wide open. Services work well and wifi is strong. Only minus is that most roads are gravel and if it rains alot, there are puddles everywhere and it is pretty soft coming in and out of sites.

Maybe we hit a bad weekend

We made a reservation for a nice summer weekend but when we arrived someone was in our site. Luckily there was one more site available where the ranger asked us to stay instead since the other group was set up already. People were listening to loud music and chopping down green trees to burn. Overall sites are nice and park is pretty. Just not sure if we will go back - at least not on a busy weekend.

Great location

We loved the views from spot 193 but they were lacking in water hook-ups and the staff wasn’t super friendly.

Camping mid-week

We stayed in a 25 foot travel trailer in the middle of the week. Weekends are pretty much sold out.
We love the area. Kayaking, biking, and fishing. Very well maintained grounds.
Camp sites do not provide private water/sewer but there is a good water/sewer station on the way in.
My only complaint. Thurs evening we had friends join us. The Ranger Man enforced a 2 car per campsite rule. He forced 3 over 65 couples to drive to a parking lots and I shuttled them back and forth. Really? Do us Seniors party too hard for you? Haha I understand rules but I don’t have to like them… 😃

First to Review
NO Camping

This is a beautiful park in the middle of Davenport but there is no camping.

Tent camped off an on for 10 weeks

Beautiful place … saw wild turkeys and dear almost ever day walking the camp grounds.. clean and they offer free fire wood

Tent camped for 5 days

Awesome place by the Iowa river.. clean and quiet, no drinking water…

First to Review
Tent camped for 14 days

Very clean , great staff , hot showers, fresh water

Good stopover while traveling

Great staff and RV park amenities. Camped for two nights and it was quiet.

Plenty to do

Our site was at Indian Meadows and it is large enough to fit my big 8-person tent, a picnic table, my truck, and all our other stuff with room to spare. The sites are very close to each other. The sites at Riverview and Silva both seemed smaller. The Riverview sites had great shade and a breeze coming off of the Mississippi river but had very little privacy. Each site at Indian Meadows and Silva are surrounded by a wall of trees. Our site had a picnic table and a fire pit with a swing over grill. There was no trash can, though. My plan was to collect the garbage then walk it to the trash point, a dumpster up the road. Unfortunately, while we were at the shower house raccoons got into it. I was better prepared the second day. Just remember to bring trash bags and dispose of your trash often, the raccoons out there are brave. The Loud Thunder office is top-notch. They sell a few necessities like batteries, firewood, ice, and stuff for s’mores. Service was incredibly helpful and nice.

At the center of Loud Thunder is Lake George. Lake George is a boon for kayakers and anglers. For us, it was the highlight of the trip. Loud Thunder rents kayaks, john boats, pontoons, and mini-pontoons. I had never heard of a mini-pontoon prior to this trip; they are amazing and now I want one. For 30 dollars we navigated the lake for two hours. My son loved steering the boat. Even though we were in the sun there was a nice breeze. We could have easily spent another two hours on that lake.

There are also plenty of trails for horses, bikes, and hiking.  The trail we went on started as a wide gravel path then narrowed to a single-track dirt path.  It had one hard climb.  The trail was very nice and led to some great views.

Read about my adventure at https://www.lost13.com/camping/2019/7/26/loud-thunder

Amazing place! Great for kids

This place had so much! They had a little train ride, miniature golf course, catch and release fishing in their pond, splash pad, lots of cool things hand built structures to see as well. The staff was really nice, showers were clean and they had laundry too! It backs up to a corn field, right off the Interstate but the noise was barely there. Huge grass pull through lots everywhere. The biggest I have been in and actual real, full grass. My daughter is in a wheelchair so we requested the accessible site. It's right next to the showers with an adapted pic-nic table and raised fire pit! We were there 4 nights and added on an extra because we enjoyed it so much.

Well kept with good fishing

Went when it was 110 degrees with humidity. Campsites right next to the pond and good tree cover made the experience fun anyway. Good bass and panfish fishing with quiet campgrounds that aren’t right next to each other. I consider it a little hidden gem

Pleasant stay, quiet campground

Unique mix of RV and tent sites in a variety of sizes. Some close together would be good for groups and some remote. One shower room with flush toilets near entrance but vault toilets and water available throughout park. No other services.

Good views of the lake from non-electric campground

I’m sure we were just unlucky, but the campground was very noisy the whole night we were there. Nice view of the lake, though. If you want to reserve a campsite online, do so at least 2 days ahead.

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.

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! 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.

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.

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.

First to Review
Nice place

$15 a night, electric only. Well maintained though.

Good fishing!

Nice park with plenty of sites and nice beach.

Great view

Campsites kinda small and hilly. Great hiking trails and views of the bluffs over the river.

Peace and Quiet

Nice park, clean shower houses and nice playground and beach for the kids!

Beautifully kept

Gorgeous area, very clean, well kept campground. Lots of water view and water front sites. Nice setup, lots to do (i.e., hiking, disc golf, bike trails, beach and boat launch) even though flooding issues kept us from using the beach or launch. Didn’t use shower facility, but quite a few dump stations to keep checkouts quick! Only issue was that we didn’t have reservations, and there is no way to make in person reservations. Not usually a problem, except that we didn’t have cell service to call or make online. Great experience, we will definitely be back.

Nice park

Nice quiet place during the week. Lots of space between sites.

Not a flat campground! Beautiful!

Beautiful trails, stone gazebo. Nice hike along the Cedar River. Only camped once, but definitely on the list to visit again

Ranger Review Gregory Jade 33 and Cottonwood Campground

Campground Review:

Cottonwood campground is one of several that surround Coralville Lake near Iowa City. This particular tent only campground is set in a nice grove of cottonwood and other trees within easy walking distance of the spillway and the Devonian Fossil Gorge. There are fifteen sites spread out in two areas: a heavily wooded area and a mature cottonwood grove. I was at site 2 in the cottonwood grove. While there is no understory to provide privacy, sites are nicely spread out and well maintained with mown grass, clean picnic tables and fire pits.There is a clean bathroom with flush toilets and showers next to the parking lot. The previous campers had left wood at several sites, so you may get lucky and not have to buy much wood. One unfortunate thing that was overlooked was an access trail that could lead down to the Fossil Gorge. To get there you will either have to walk the busy road or drive. When in the Fossil Gorge there is an interpretive trail winding through the limestone gorge that will help you spot fossils. There is also a nice river walk trail. I also hiked the Woodpecker Nature Trail down and alone the lake. There are two additional campgrounds that had primarily RVs on either side of the river below the spillway and dam release. In total there are five different campgrounds in the Dam Complex, with Linder Point going through some renovations at this time. The whole facility is run by the Corps of Engineers.

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, from time to time I get to test products. This weekend I got to test the Gregory Jade 33 day/backpack. I refer to it as a day/backpack because while it may be sold as primarily a day pack, it can hold enough for an overnighter. Let me just say this: I used to love my Osprey pack. Now it will likely gather dust in the gear closet since I will now just use this Gregory all the time. I really like this pack, let me count the ways:

  1. The fit is amazing. The torso sizing has overlapping sizes (the small and medium sizes have about 2” of overlap, so no weird “I’m in between sizes” baloney. It’s the “just right” mama bear pack size.

  2. The hip belt wraps nice and snug with just the right amount of padding. I don’t feel like I’m being squeezed by a boa constrictor, but I also feel like the hip belt is going to stay in place and not rub or chafe.

  3. The hip belt has huge pockets that fit my phone, some snacks, the keys, and anything else I need handy. I like how the pockets seem to expand to hold it all.

  4. The back is super breathable with a cool ventilated back panel and moisture wicking mesh. I never got hot using it and my back was dry after a long day hiking.

  5. Hands down my favorite thing about this pack is the U zipper to get into the main compartment along with the normal drawstring. The U zipper is the game changer since it means I can easily reach something I shoved to the bottom without having to take everything out.

  6. I haven’t played much with the sunglasses loop/snugger on the front, but I like the idea that I can hook and snug them in without having to take off my pack to put them in the top pocket.

  7. Having the rainfly included is great. I don’t necessarily think the under the flap pocket is the best place to keep it (might be nice to have it in an integrated pocket on the bottom of the pack), but since it is not attached in anyway, you can store it wherever you want.

  8. The front mesh pocket seems to be made out of really nice stretchy mesh that is less likely to snag. It’s nice and large and will fit my rain gear easily.

  9. The side pockets for H2O are nice and deep and you can snug anything in with the compression straps.

Things that could be improved:

  1. I wish the top pocket was lined in case I wanted to store my sunglasses there.

  2. The built in safety whistle is a bit weak. I will still take my own whistle that is really shrill and loud.

  3. For this price I would have liked the pack to include a water reservoir (it’s all set up to include one, with the right straps to hold the tube in place and a cool hanging set up inside for the Gregory water reservoir that they sell).

One of my favorites

We have stayed here for the past three years in September as part of a group. It is a very nice campground located right on the lake. Most sites are shady and fairly good sized. This is a COE Park so you also can get a discount with your Senior Pass.

Small, family campground with lots of shade and small pond!

Quiet park with lots of shade trees. 5 minutes from everything!