The best DISPERSED camping near
Ralston , IOWA

61 Reviews9 Campgrounds

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Most Recent Ralston Camping Reviews
Wonderful

Great for tent camping, very spacious and grassy sites, clean, grill/fire pit was really very nice. Very clean and modern bathrooms, easy access to water. Hiking trails were well maintained. Can't wait to come again.

Small, private

Couple miles north of dexter, on gravel, next to public lake, hunting reserve. Would serve as overnight, or for construction worker's site. I scouted as not far from home, decided not worth effort to try out.

Surprise River Gorge in Iowa

Comfortable and scenic park in Iowa with forested trails, gorge, and natural water features amidst the farm fields and rolling hills.  Campground sites are well spaced and mostly level, many with shade and decent privacy.  Mix of hookups for different needs; access to water and trash was easy.  The bathrooms were a bit dated and unclean when we visited, but not terrible.  Good cell coverage in the area and we could do work and school with our Verizon Hotspot.  Beware of the raccoons!   They were not aggressive from the standpoint of approaching us, but they were brash in approaching camper and supplies after dark, and they were a constant presence at the dumpster.  Do not leave food out!  Deer and other small game/wildlife seem abundant.  Trails were poorly signed, but the park is relatively small and getting lost or wandering does not have bad consequences; you'll find where you wanted to go without too much trouble.

Peace & quiet

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.

Solid campground

Stayed at this campground for 3 nights while visiting Des Moines.  We stayed in Loop 1- site 138 because we wanted electrical.  The electrical box has 2 standard household plugs which is nice.  This loop was mostly RVs due to the electrical hook ups.  There aren't really trees between the sites, but it is in a wooded area which is nice and there is some space between the sites so you don't feel like you are right on top of the other people.  Generally, people were pretty quiet, especially once it got dark.  Each site as a gravel drive and then open gravel area with a picnic table and fire pit with grill grate.  Plenty of room for camp chairs and other furniture you may want to set up.  There is a grassy area all around the gravel with plenty of room for multiple tents.  2 bath/shower houses within a short walk from the site- they were both clean and solid to use.  There are some short trails within the park which are generally well marked, but just 1 trail is longer than about 1/2 a mile.  Didn't check it out, but there is also a large lake.  Lots of picnic areas throughout the park.  There's also a volleyball court and free lending library near one of the bathhouses.  Overall, I'd recommend this campground as long as you don't mind seeing your neighbors.  Quick drive into Des Moines too.

Just Made It!

Took my new to me PUP on her maiden voyage to Jester Park in July with my two kids, best friend and her daughter. We BARELY made it, pulling in on a Thursday around 4, and snagged one of 2 spots left! We were lucky enough to get a corner lot with some good shade trees. Staff was friendly, bathrooms were SUPER clean and campground was very quiet! The downfall is that raccoons in the park have 0 fear of humans, and I had an unknown hole in the wheel well cover… OF COURSE right into the cabinet where I kept the dog food. After a grand total of 3 hours sleep trying to figure out what on earth these critters were SO FASCINATED with at our site, we patched the hole with duct tape, the cabinet with duct tape and used a broom for security at 4am. (Yep, they got right in to my camper but no harm came to the sleeping kids, the snoring dog, the gang of 4 raccoons or the two adults unless you consider a severe lack of sleep to be harmful!) There's a lot to do at Jester Park including a natural playscape and plenty of beaches nearby. Would 100% stay again with a reservation and a solid raccoon proof plan!

Another Gem

Nice level sites, fairly Large, great fire pit With multiple grilling options. Beautiful pond and nice and quiet.

Good

Very Nice sites. Many shaded. Only one shower room for campground, a drive from most sites. Pit toilets for rest of sites. Nice lake.

Nice surprise in Iowa

Great for an overnight on my road trip back the Denver. Clean bathrooms and showers.