If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure this year, head out on the Sauk Rail Trail and travel between two beautiful state parks and lakes. Camp at either one of these incredible state parks to visit in Iowa to make this the best outdoor getaway of the year.

Have you ever experienced the Sauk Trail? Did you enjoy checking out two of the best state parks to visit in Iowa? Be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments below — we’d love to hear from you!

If you’re looking for a quicker and shorter hike in the Hawkeye State, check out our list of short, scenic hikes in Iowa that won’t take you longer than an hour to complete. No matter what your adventure style is, you’ll find the perfect slice of heaven here in Iowa.

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state parks to visit in Iowa

What are the best state parks in Iowa?

There's something so special about state parks. Offering an abundance of recreational activities, history, and gorgeous scenery, Iowa's state parks are no exception. Did you know that Iowa is home to 83 state parks and recreation areas? That's a whole lot to choose from. Fortunately, we've pinpointed some of our favorite state parks to visit in Iowa to inspire your next great outdoor adventure, whether that includes camping, hiking, swimming, picnicking, or a combination of the four.

At the top of the list is Pikes Peak State Park. Easily considered one of the most beautiful destinations in Iowa, this park boasts a 500-foot bluff overlooking the Mississippi River near the confluence of the Wisconsin River. Plus, the park measures nearly 1,000 acres in size, meaning the opportunities for adventure are endless. Looking to explore an entirely different terrain? Maquoketa Caves State Park in Maquoketa might just be the ticket. It's here that visitors can explore otherworldly caves and giant bluffs, which create the most unusual and unforgettable landscape.

Another riverfront park that's bound to impress is Bellevue State Park. It's situated just south of Bellevue along the banks of the Mississippi River and is a popular place among residents and visitors alike for camping. Here, you'll find both traditional campsites as well as cabin rentals. Additional state parks in Iowa worth checking out include Ledges State Park near Boone, Wapsipinicon State Park in Anamosa, Pine Lake State Park in Eldora, Lake Macbride State Park in Solon, Effigy Mounds National Monuments in Harpers Ferry, and Stone State Park in Sioux City.

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