Clear Lake State Park | Outdoorsy

Clear Lake State Park
Guide

Introduction

What began as a small land acquisition in the early 1920s has become a lovely 55-acre state park in northern Iowa. Located on the edge of a 3,643-acre lake, Clear Lake State Park is one of the best fishing spots in Iowa. Clear Lake is stocked with walleye, northern pike, yellow bass, crappies, and catfish, making it a great fishing destination. Visitors of Clear Lake State Park can enjoy warm summers and cool falls, making anytime the perfect time of the year to visit in your RV.

In the summer, you and the family can relax on the 900-square foot sandy beach or you can play some frisbee with the kids. Build a sandcastle like you did when you were a kid. Show the youngsters that there is more to life than playing on their phones and tablets. The park also boasts playground equipment and other fun activities around the park including horseshoe pits and volleyball.

There is fun to be had here all year long since you can go to the beach in the summer or go skiing in the winter. There are also trails where you and your loved ones can explore the unique wildlife near the lake and walk through the lush green forest, listening to the calls of the local birds. The park has 180 sites for RV, trailer, and tent camping. However, only 161 of the sites have standard water and electric hookups. Whether for a day or two weeks, you will feel at home when you bring your RV to Clear Lake State Park.

Pop into town to stock up on a few groceries or visit the Fire Museum that’s open all year long to visitors. Clear Lake, IA is a quiet town with a deep respect for its history and the beautiful nature around them. It is also a part of the Department of Natural Resources, which focuses on preserving wildlife native to the area and natural resources by using green initiatives like solar panels to provide energy to many of the buildings in the park. The park places a large emphasis on maintaining the natural beauty of the campgrounds and giving you all the information you need in order to enjoy your stay.

RV Rentals in Clear Lake State Park

Transportation

Driving

Clear Lake State Park lies in the northern part of the state near I-35. Be mindful of road closures due to construction or repaving of new roads, as it may lead you to detours that you may not be familiar with. The use of your GPS is recommended until you reach the park entrance. Once you get inside, there will be plenty of signs directing you to the main office and campground.

Clear Lake State Park is located near several towns. The town of Clear Lake has a thriving economy and a civic center, and Ventura and Garner are within just 13 miles of the park. If you would like to go shopping, you can visit Mason City which is 12 miles away and one of the largest retail centers in northern Iowa.

The park roads are paved and offer a relaxing drive to your site. If you are arriving later than you expected, be sure to call ahead and let them know. Park hosts are available at night to help with any problems that you may have. The park may close in case of heavy rain or snowstorms, so call for more information before visiting.

Parking

If you are staying overnight, it is easiest to park at your campsite. However, you can also park at the Day Use area as well. Hiking and cross-country skiing are also popular ways of getting around.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Clear Lake State Park

Campsites in Clear Lake State Park

Reservations camping

Clear Lake Campground

The campground at Clear Lake offers over 100 spacious and partially shaded lots with electric hookups available. There are eight sites that offer full hookups, and eight sites that do not have electric hookups available. The largest spot available is a 109-foot lot with water and electric hookups available. The lots are close to each other, but some of them offer you a bit of privacy. The sites are located on beautiful Iowan grasslands surrounded by woodlands.

A dump station is open all year in the park to provide a place to empty your tanks. Amenities included are fire rings, hot showers, restrooms, and picnic tables. You are allowed to stay 14 days at a time and must reserve your spot four days ahead of time if you are paying online and 21 days ahead of time if you are paying by a check in the mail. You are welcome to bring your furbaby with you but keep them restrained and supervised at all times.

First-come first-served

Clear Lake Campground (First-Come, First-Served)

The camp operates on a walk-in basis from late October to early April. During the rest of the year, a quarter of the campsites are open on a first-come, first-served basis. During the off-season, the park turns off the water to prevent the pipes from bursting in the winter, so if you plan to visit in the off season, remember to fill your tanks before you book your trip.

However, you can still enjoy all of the amenities if you come without a reservation including the picnic tables, fire rings, and a dump station. And you can still bring your four-legged family members without a reservation too. Just remember to bring the leash and/or dog kennel so you can keep them under control during your visit.

Seasonal activities in Clear Lake State Park

Off-Season

Snowmobiling

From late fall to early spring, you can see many guests riding on their snowmobiles or skiing through the area. If you plan on going snowmobiling, then you should remember to bring your snowmobile license and registration. In the winter, there will be plenty of snow for you to ride on, so remember to dress warmly and wear your helmet when you head out of the rig. Ask the staff what trails they would recommend and what areas are restricted, so as to stay out of trouble and just have a wonderful time.

Fishing

There is a three-acre island in the middle of Clear Lake called Woodford Island, where you can find a perfect fishing spot. You will need a valid fishing license regardless if you are a resident of Iowa or not. This can be purchased online from the park’s website or in the towns surrounding the park. Clear Lake is known as one of the best fishing spots in the state with its supply of fish well-stocked each year. It is very common to catch yellow bass, crappies, and catfish. Regardless of whether you want to fish in the summer or winter, the park is open all year and is ready for you to visit in your camper.

Birding

If you are interested in watching the beautiful birds that call Iowa home or that migrate through the state heading south each winter, then pick up your favorite binoculars and come for a visit. There are over 400 species of birds that can be found in the northern part of Iowa near the park. A few of the local birds include the northern bobwhite, short-eared owl, and the cliff swallow. Each season offers a different set of birds to observe, making Clear Lake State Park a wonderful place to go birding all year long.

Snowshoeing

If you don’t have a snowmobile but still want to get out and play in the snow, you could try snowshoeing. It is just like hiking but you have to wear snowshoes. Actually, people have been snowshoeing for thousands of years. However, the snowshoes they make nowadays are light and easy to wear. Make sure you wear insulated boots with moisture-wicking socks and sock liners to prevent blisters. Always wear layers as well as gloves, a hat, and a scarf. And don’t forget the sunscreen and sunglasses. Believe it or not, sunburns are worse in the winter because the sun reflects off the snow right into your face and eyes. Also, remember to tell someone where you are going, when to expect you back, and bring your cell phone and a first aid kit.

In-Season

Sunbathing

Clear Lake State Park is a great place to go to the beach during your RV trip to Iowa. Due to the location of the lake, there is a unique beach right next to the park. There is a 900-foot shoreline where you can lay out your towel with a beach umbrella and relax. Remember to bring your sunscreen and a snack so you can spend the entire day relaxing. There are no lifeguards at the beach, so if you have young children, be sure to keep an eye on them while they play.

Windsurfing

Clear Lake State Park offers a 3,643-acre lake for your enjoyment. Windsurfing is just one of the many activities that you can enjoy with your family and friends. If it is your first time windsurfing, then be sure to read the rules and regulations of the lake. There are a few businesses in the area that offer to teach you how to windsurf. They will provide all the equipment that you will need to enjoy your first time windsurfing.

Hiking

There are four trails in the park that you can explore. The trails are not rigorous or challenging but are simple and great for a leisurely walk to view the different wildlife in the area. Be sure to bring your water bottle and a good pair of hiking boots in your campervan. You can use the trails to hike, bike, or go for an evening run. Pets are allowed on the trails as long as they are on a leash. Just be sure to clean up after them to help keep the trails as beautiful as you found them.

Picnicking

If you have a group get-together such as a birthday or family reunion, Clear Lake State Park has you covered, literally. The park boasts two large covered pavilions that can accommodate up to 50 people with six picnic tables and several BBQ pits. They both have electricity available, restrooms nearby, and they are open on all four sides. The Ritz Shelter is right on the waterfront and is ADA-accessible. The Lions Shelter is nestled in the oaks with plenty of shade. If you need a kitchen or want to be indoors, the park also has an indoor day-use lodge that can accommodate up to 60 people with a full kitchen and dining area. You’ll have water and electricity, serving tables, chairs, and benches. There is even a BBQ pit outside that you can use. You can reserve any of these shelters up to nine months in advance. Sorry, no pets are allowed.

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