No Iowa summer is complete without a camping trip. Some of the best memories of all are the ones of sitting around a smoky campfire, roasting marshmallows, and telling stories late into the night. So whether you prefer a cabin, a camper, or just a good old sleeping bag and tent, here are 10 of the best camping spots in Iowa to check out this summer.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Backbone State Park, Strawberry Point
There are two campgrounds at Backbone. The South Lake Campground, which contains both electric and non-electric sites as well as two shower buildings, a playground and a dump station, and the Six Pine Campground, near the west entrance of the park, which offers non-electric sites and pit latrines. There are also modern two-bedroom and one-bedroom cabins available, which come equipped with heating and air conditioning.
2. Ledges State Park, Boone
Ledges offers both electric and non-electric campsites. There are several hike-in sites and one youth group campsite. Modern restrooms, showers, dump station and a playground are located in the campground as well. This is a great place to camp out after a long day of hiking and rock climbing.
3. Lake Red Rock Recreational Area, Marion County
Lake Red Rock is Iowa's largest lake, so if you're in the area for a fishing or beach trip, camping is the perfect option for staying overnight. The area is about 10 minutes away from Pella, and there are many campgrounds in the area including: Elk Rock State Park Campground, Wallashuck Campground, Hickory Ridge Wilderness Camp, and plenty more.
4. Saylorville Lake, near Des Moines
Another gorgeous lake area in Iowa, Saylorville Lake is a favorite spot for campers around the Des Moines area. There are many spots to pitch your tent for the night, including: Cherry Glen Campground, Prairie Flower South Campground, and Bob Shetler Campground to name a few.
5. Mill Creek State Park, O'Brien County
Mill Creek Park offers 48 camp sites that have access to water, electricity, cable, and internet. They also offer four camping cabins; Two six-person cabins, which are available during the summer months, and two twelve-person cabins which are available throughout the year and include a full kitchen and bath.
6. Lake Macbride State Park, Solon
Lake Macbride State Park has two campgrounds. The modern campground in the northern part of the park has electric, water, and sewer sites as well as a shower, restroom and trailer dump station. The not-so-modern campground in the southern park area has non-electric campsites and restrooms available. The southern campground is located in a beautiful shaded setting near the lake, and both campgrounds have a playground nearby.
7. Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor
After a long day of hiking, site-seeing, or biking, Pikes Peak State Park is the perfect spot to set up camp for the night. It has a beautiful campground with 77 campsites, including 60 electrical sites, modern shower and restroom facilities and a trailer dump station. The park concession, located just a short distance from the campground, offers a variety of refreshments, ice and souvenirs to campers.
8. Maquoketa Caves State Park, Maquoketa
Maquoketa Caves has enough to keep you busy for days, so you may want to bring an extra set of clothes along on this camping trip! The campground at Maquoketa offers a scenic, secluded camp area, which contains 29 campsites nestled in between pine trees, complete with a modern shower facility, and around 15 sites with electricity.
9. Coralville Lake, near Coralville
The beautiful and scenic Coralville Lake is a great place to go for a family weekend excursion, whether you're boating, swimming, or camping. The area offers three different campgrounds and about 500 camp sites. The campgrounds are: Sugar Bottom Recreational Area, Dam Complex, and the Corps Lake Getaway Campgrounds.
10. Stone State Park, Sioux City
The Stone State Park campground has 30 different sites and a modern restroom and shower building. There are also camping cabins, which have heating and air conditioning but no sanitary facilities. The cabins are located near the campground and allow cabin guests access to the showers at the campground. These cabins are rustic and charming, the perfect place for a perfect Iowa camping trip!
So, are you ready for a camping trip yet? Where are some of your favorite spots to go? Share them with us in the comments section below!