If you want to treat your favorite camping companions to an unforgettable trip at one of Iowa's most popular recreation destinations, set a course for Lake Anita State Park! With more than 1,000 acres of lake, trail, and open space to explore, Lake Anita has everything you could possibly need -- or want -- for a comfortable stay packed with outdoor adventures.
Lug your boat along to explore all 171 acres of Lake Anita, or simply bring your lucky fishing rod down to the shore to try your luck reeling in one of the lake's many fish species. Prefer to watch the water from dry land? Pack your picnic essentials and roast some s'mores by the lake as you swap stories of the day's excursions with your fellow campers.
Sure, fishing, boating, and picnicking are popular activities at most state parks -- but Lake Anita isn't like most state parks! A few of the unique activities which make this park extra special include summer movie nights at the campground and a concession stand packed with souvenirs and even glow-in-the-dark items for the kids.
Traveling through the area along I-80 and looking for a spontaneous stopover spot to rest your head? Park your trailer at Lake Anita State Park's fully equipped campground! Around a quarter of the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so you won't usually need to worry about snagging a spot. However, this is one of the most popular state parks in Iowa, so booking in advance is always recommended.
No matter your camping style, you'll undoubtedly want to park the rig for a night or five to experience everything Lake Anita has to offer.
The internal roads at Lake Anita State Park are paved, but a little narrow in some places -- take care when passing other vehicles, particularly if you're in a big rig. The small community of Anita is just north of the park, where you'll find a few cafes, general stores, and a gas station. I-80 is just north of Lake Anita State Park, making it a great stopover spot for weary road-trippers.
All RV campsites at Lake Anita State Park's campground are back-in and gravel. Just visiting for the day? You'll find a few lots where you can park your vehicle. One gravel lot can be found near one of the picnic shelters, across the lake from the campground. Another is located by the boat launch near picnic shelter number four. You can also park by the park entrance, but be prepared to walk a ways to get to the lake from there.
Touted as one of the most popular camping destinations in the state, Lake Anita State Park's campground comes equipped with all the mod-cons you could need or want, including full hookups, three modern bathhouses, and even a playground. 40 of the sites offer full hookups, while the rest offer water and electric hookups, or electric-connections only. Sites are super roomy, accommodating small trailers and big rigs up to 70 feet long.
Lake Anita State Park's campground also offers something most state parks don't -- movie nights! If you're camping at Lake Anita on a weekend from May to September, you won't want to miss this fun activity.
Speaking of fun activities, the campground is nestled right on the shore of the park's namesake lake. Some sites are right on the shore, although all sites are within walking distance of the water.
Booking in advance is highly recommended at this popular vacation destination, especially during the peak summer months. Canine campers are welcome to tag along for the trip -- just keep your buddy on a leash.
About one-fourth of the campsites at Lake Anita State Park are first-come, first-served, so no need to worry about spur-of-the-moment stopovers at Lake Anita! Be aware, though, that this campground can get crowded during the peak summer months.
Whether your camping crew is full of seasoned swimmers or the kids are just earning their water wings, Lake Anita's sandy beach is a prime place to take a dip, so don't forget to pack swimsuits and sunscreen in your trailer! Cool off in the calm waters of the lake before challenging your fellow campers to a friendly game of volleyball right on the beach.
Most state parks don't allow motorized boating, so it's a good thing that Lake Anita isn't like most state parks! Watercraft of all types is allowed to explore the lake, although a few restrictions apply. Boats aren't allowed to exceed the speed limit of five MPH in this "no-wake" lake. If you're driving a pontoon, you'll need to reserve a space at the dock in advance. Guests can use the two boat launches at Lake Anita, one of which has its own convenient parking lot.
Whether you choose to spread a picnic blanket across the grass or opt for a full-on al fresco meal at one of the park's seven lakeside picnic shelters, picnicking is one of the most popular activities at Lake Anita State Park. One unique feature that makes outdoor dining at Lake Anita extra special is the park's seasonal concession stand, which primarily sells souvenirs and is open on weekends from May to September.
Crappie, bluegill, and bass, oh my! Lake Anita is positively teeming with fish. Everything you need for your angling excursion can be found in nearby Anita, including bait and fuel. All you need to bring along is your current Iowa fishing license and your trusty rod and reel. After you've caught a healthy haul, cook up a channel catfish dinner at one of the park's picnic shelters.
Get your steps in and enjoy beautiful views of Lake Anita along the park's four-mile lakeside loop. Just looking for a quick walk which puts you up-close to the park's flora and fauna? Hit the self-guided nature trail, just one-third of a mile long and an easy stroll for all ability levels. Don't forget to bring your camera along for your walk -- you never know when you'll spot a bald eagle soaring over the lake!
Hundreds of bird call Lake Anita State Park home. Swallows, pelicans, and hawks are common sights, while barred and screech owls are a rare treat for birdwatchers. Nature enthusiasts visiting Lake Anita have also spotted golden eagles and bald eagles -- so bring the binoculars in your campervan along for this trip! If bird watching isn't your thing, you'll still be delighted to see some of the park's resident white-tailed deer which occasionally roam through the campground.