Outdoor enthusiasts motoring through rural Iowa will want to add Geode State Park to their itinerary. Complete with a spacious campground, a well-stocked lake, and several picnic areas, this popular park is an excellent place for your next family outing.
Nature enthusiasts searching for a little relaxation in this wooded wonderland will find ample opportunity to stop and smell the wildflowers or do a little foraging. For a unique activity, go hunting for the park's namesake geodes. (Just don't take any sparkly stones from the park -- it's illegal!)
Those looking to up the ante can launch out onto Geode Lake to paddle and fish, or hit the hiking and biking trails for an up-close view of the park's flora and fauna. The kids in your camping crew will love burning some energy on the park's playground. Visiting in the winter? Don't forget to pack the skis in your motorhome! The park's hiking trails are open to skiers and snowmobilers during the off-season.
When planning your camping trip to Geode State Park, check the event calendar to see what's happening during your visit. The park hosts regular events during the peak season, including a fun boat race in May. Before hitting the road again to continue on your RV excursion, stop by the nearby city of Burlington, one of the state's oldest communities chock full of historic attractions and opportunities to fish and paddle in the Mississippi River.
The park's internal roads are paved, accommodating regular vehicles as well as big rigs. Be advised that the park is nestled in a densely wooded area -- fallen tree branches may be a hazard here after a storm.
Forgot to pack some of the necessities in the RV? The park is conveniently located near Highway 34 and the town of Danville, where travelers will find a few shopping opportunities, a gas station, and auto repair services. The city of Burlington is a bit further away but offers plenty of big-box stores, local restaurants, and access to Highway 61.
Day-use visitors will find two paved parking areas at Geode State Park: one small lot at the park's entrance, and another, larger lot down by the lake. A small, grassy parking area is located across from the campground entrance.
Campers may reserve any of the sites at Geode State Park in advance, although roughly half the park's sites require reservations. The remaining sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis via self-registration.
Considering the number of sites available at Geode State Park, campers on a spur-of-the-moment camping trip won't need to worry about snagging a spot. However, visitors would be wise to reserve in advance if they're camping during a holiday weekend, or if they require an ADA-accessible site.
Geode State Park's spacious campground offers more than 130 gravel sites to accommodate motorhomes, so rest assured there's plenty of space to park the rig. Of those sites, 87 come with 30-amp electric hookups, while the remaining 51 sites are primitive non-electric. An additional 30 sites are tent-only.
Water and sewer hookups aren't provided, but campers can freshen up at one of the park's two pristine shower buildings. Other amenities include a dump station, drinking water, and a fish cleaning station.
RV campers adventuring at Geode State Park don't need to walk far from their site to reach the park's most popular attraction, Geode Lake. This no-wake lake is open to anglers 24 hours a day.
About half the sites at Geode State Park are first-come, first-served. All sites permit leashed, well-mannered canine campers to tag along for the fun.
Geode Lake is a prime spot for canoers and kayakers. Those exploring the lake in non-motorized watercraft can launch out from one of the boat launches and park at the dock. Make sure your craft is registered with the state and free of invasive species before launching. Boaters would be wise to check water level conditions before lugging their craft to the park. Due to regular maintenance, the lake is not always full.
Angling is one of the most popular pastimes at the well-stocked Geode Lake. Pack your fishing gear in the rig and take to the shore to try your luck catching a bass, channel catfish, or even a sunfish. The best part? This lake is open to anglers 24 hours a day, making it the perfect spot for an early morning fishing excursion! Just don't forget to grab a fishing license first. Visitors can cast their line from one of the picnic areas on the shore or from their own watercraft.
Land-lubbers might prefer to enjoy lake views from the park's trails. Access the park's main trail from one of the picnic shelters and make your way around the lake and up to the dam. You'll find another trailhead at the dam if you'd like to extend your walk. Looking to challenge yourself? Why not hike a stretch of the Southeast Iowa Bike Route? This whopper of a trail spans 46 miles from Geode State Park to Lacey-Keosauqua State Park. Pack your best hiking shoes in the RV if you're planning to tackle this trail!
A popular spot for picnickers, Geode State Park offers four shelters accommodating between 75 and 100 guests. One shelter is accessible for visitors with disabilities, and the beach shelter offers a well-equipped kitchenette and even a playground for the kids. Reserve your shelter in advance if you're planning a family gathering at Geode State Park. Otherwise, load the picnic basket and blanket in the motorhome and set a course for Geode State Park for your next family picnic!
If you think geology rocks, you won't want to miss Geode State Park! The clue is in the name -- the park's geodes draw in "rock hounds" from all over. Unfortunately, though, don't expect to take any of your discoveries home with you; it's illegal to remove geodes or crystals from the park. Check out the geodes on display at the park office, or go foraging for berries, mushrooms, nuts, or fruits in the woodlands if you must have a souvenir to take home.
Come prepared for a rugged adventure if you plan to explore the park on skis or snowmobile. Novice skiers and snowmobilers can break in their gear on the short beach trail, just over a quarter-mile long. Experienced winter explorers will enjoy a challenge on the lake trail, totaling more than six miles.