Breathtaking view of the lake, enchanting nature, and days that seem to be going on forever – all of this perfectly describes a camper’s paradise, Island View Park in the beautiful state of Iowa. The state park is located on the gorgeous Rathbun Lake, within the picturesque hills of the Chariton River Valley. This southwest Iowa park is a perfect place where you can park your campervan and embrace all the serenity of the 11,000-acre lake.
Anglers will enjoy fishing opportunities on the Rathbun Lake, which is also known as Iowa’s Ocean. Sailing, swimming, and other water activities are plentiful here, but apart from those, campers can enjoy a horseshoe pit, a playground, and the iconic Rathbun Fish Hatchery. Setting up your rig in Island View Park will guarantee many days of fun and relaxation, and no matter which activity you choose, or if you choose not to do anything, you will definitely have a blast in one of the most beautiful corners of Iowa. The lake is awaiting and the trees are eager to provide shade from the sun to all that seek it!
Getting in your campervan and driving to the Island View Park is as easy as saying Iowa. The park is located nine miles northwest of Centerville and about eight miles from Moravia. The entrance to the park is from the J5T, so make sure not to miss it. The windy road is unlit, so be careful when driving at night. When using a GPS, keep in mind that this entire area does not have Google Street View so it can be a bit tricky to recognize the road if you are not an experienced traveler.
As far as parking goes, it is allowed in the designated areas, however, be careful not to park your motor vehicle on the grass or on the park roads. Driving on the trails is not permitted, nor is the use of motorbikes.
The Island View Park Campground offers 188 sites, both for RVs and tents. You do have to bring your own tent, as the park does not have rentals. Each site takes up to eight guests, so if there’s more than you, you would have to rent two spots. The campsites have electric hookups, and some of them also have sewer hookups, but you can also take advantage of the RV dump not too far from the campground. Campfires are allowed in the park and so are pets that do have to be kept on a leash and not be left unattended.
If you want to get the best spot and be close to the water, make sure to reserve your spot early on. Bear in mind that the campground does tend to get busy. Showers and restrooms are available on the premises so you can have a little bit of luxury while you’re camping. Picnic tables are scattered all over so you can have an alfresco lunch, and the kids can enjoy the playground close to the camp.
If you want to take a day trip and quench your thirst for history, you can head out to the famous Rathbun Fish Hatchery. The facility is open year-round and it will allow you to step into the world of a true fish expert. You’ll be able to take a self-guided your each Monday and walk through the elevated observation walkway and observe the aquariums where thousands of walleye and catfish are produced. You’ll be able to admire the original paintings of Maynard Reece, as well as see the mounts of state record catches throughout the years. Gear aficionados will enjoy the gear displays and compare it to what they have at home.
Fishers are not the only ones who can enjoy the beauties of the animal kingdom in Island View Park. The area is famous for the wildlife that lives in the area, so you can enjoy watching the animals while you are taking some time off from the busy city life. Don’t forget to bring your bird book, as here you can see wild turkey, bald eagles, and Canada geese, as well as white-tailed deer hopping around merrily in their natural habitat. Make sure to bring a camera and snap photos so you can have those memories forever and maybe even paste them to your wildlife scrapbook. As always, do not attempt to touch any of the animals or go near them to avoid getting injured, but also to prevent the animals from getting hurt.
Lose yourself in the breathtaking surroundings of the Island View Park. The gorgeous hills of the Chariton River Valley are the perfect hiking ground for all the lovers of the great outdoors. Both the pros and the amateurs will enjoy the area, as the park has many grassy areas where you can sit and rest. Laying on the fresh grass under the shade of the tree is a perfect way to relax after hours of walking, and an ideal way to soak up the sun and the fresh air surrounding you. If you are a cyclist, you can bike around the campground and take advantage of the hilly terrain as a way to build some muscle and get your cardio going.
In the evening, after a long day of catching the most delicious fish you can ever imagine, why not make a night out of it and grill it under the stars. Since campfires are allowed in the park, you will get a perfect opportunity to tell all the spooky stories you have under your sleeve. Having your camper close-by will help when you’re running back to safety from the monsters, or just to get a little cozier when the nights get chilly. Make sure to bring some marshmallows to the party as well, since you cannot miss the opportunity to roast them on the fire, just like you did when you were a kid. The soothing crackling of the fire, good friends, and even better stories will forever immortalize the Island View Park in your memory.
If you visit the Island View Park during the summer months, you will love all the beauties the Rathbun Lake has to offer. Since the lake is quite large, there are plenty of opportunities to relax or get your adrenaline pumping by or on the water. Swimming and chilling on the beach are for all the lazy campers who want to get a nice tan or strengthen the muscles. Kayaking, canoeing, boating, sailing, or swimming is for all of those who desire to escape the land and spend some time rocking on the soothing waves of Rathbun. The beach does have a shaded area where you can hide from the sun during the peak hours of the day and simply breathe in all the fresh air of this gorgeous park. If you park your RV closer to the water, as soon as you wake up you can head straight to the beach and forget about the world.
Anglers rejoice! Rathbun Lake is a fisher’s paradise as it is one of the most popular activities during the spring and summer months. Strap the boat on the top of your RV and head directly to the lake. You will enjoy the pure bliss and silence on the water while catching some of the most amazing fish in Iowa. The lake is full of catfish, crappie, walleye, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. You can grill the fish you caught for dinner and enjoy a feast with your friends and family under the stars! Boat ramps and rentals will make your experience at the park positively memorable, especially for those who travel light and do not drive around with a boat. Pro tip: waking up before the dawn and heading out to the lake as soon as the sun rises will provide the most silence and relaxation.