Fall is here, and the leaves are changing. There’s never been a better time to visit a new park than now.
1. Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area, 4530 McClintock Rd., Palo
Only 15 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids, the lake, near Palo, boasts a beach on the north shore and four boat launching sites. Motorboats, canoes, kayaks and paddleboats are available for rent at the boathouse.
2. Mount Vernon Nature Park, 7th St. SE, Mt Vernon
Walk or bike the trails around a lake that fills the old quarry, fish from the dock or have your next get together at the picnic pavilion.
3. Elinor Bedell State Park, 1619 260th Ave., Spirit Lake
This is one of Iowa’s newest state parks. It’s right in the middle of one of Iowa’s hottest tourist destinations in the Iowa Great Lakes region. With over 80 acres of wetlands, oak savanna landscapes, and prairies, this park has some of the most peaceful and beautiful scenery in the state.
4. Okamanpedan State Park, 5118 Tuttle Lake Road, Dolliver
This pretty park is on Tuttle Lake. It’s a great place to fish for walleye, smallmouth bass, bluegills, perch, catfish, and bullheads. There’s a nice picnic area and plenty of places to explore.
5. Mosquito Park, Corner of Franklin and 3rd Streets, Burlington
This tiny park overlooks the mighty Mississippi River. There are just a few benches, an overlook, and a picnic table. The park is tiny, which inspired the name.
6. Rand Park, North 17th and Park Lane, Keokuk
There’s a beautiful pond here, as well as carefully manicured gardens full of flowers. It’s situated on the banks of the Mississippi River with benches facing the water. A statue of Chief Keokuk keeps watch over the park.
7. Mount Hosmer Park, Lansing
This beautiful Iowa park sits on top of cliff overlooking the Mississippi River. You can see Wisconsin as well as the backwaters. It’s a WWI memorial park with three hiking trails, a play area for kids, restrooms, and picnic shelters.
8. Bacon Creek Park, 5015 Correctionville Rd., Sioux City
This park offers over six miles of technical single-track mountain bike trails. Enter the trail from any of the six entrance points around the lake. Go for a three mile walk around the lake on the paved trail, put your kayak in the water, or bring your favorite canine companion to the dog park.
9. Lewis and Clark State Park, 21914 Park Look, Onawa
This park has the world’s only full-size replica of Lewis & Clark boats. There are several in the expansive visitors’ center and one in the water. There’s no charge to visit this park, and it’s in a beautiful setting.
10. Prairie Rose State Park, 680 Road M47, Harlan
This well-kept park is a great place to camp. There are even cabins available for rent. Enjoy hiking trails, a beach, and every camp site has an amazing view.