If you're looking to relax lakeside on your next RV vacation, then head to Lewis and Clark State Park. Located in western Iowa near the Nebraska border, this historic park is sure to please every camper in your group. The park was named after the iconic explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. These two explorers were tasked by Thomas Jefferson with a mission to explore the northwest territory that had recently been purchased from France. And explore they did. In 1804 their travels led them to what is today known as their namesake park. The park is proud of its history, and when you visit, you can learn more about the explorer's expedition and see replica boats like the ones used on the Missouri River more than 200 years ago.
But there's more to do than just learning about the past. Today, visitors can boat along the lake, traverse miles of hiking trails, and enjoy more than 30 acres of picnicking areas. Anglers also enjoy the lake, and it is stocked with northern pike, bass, panfish, and channel catfish. If you're visiting during the summer months, don't miss the annual Lewis and Clark Festival held at the park.
Those looking to stay overnight will have their choice of either electric or full hookups when they park the rig at the park campground. Over 100 lakefront sites are available to campground guests, and you can reserve your site in advance, or try to snag one of the first-come, first-served sites that are also available. No matter which site you choose, you'll stay in comfort when you visit Lewis and Clark State Park.
Located in western Iowa halfway between Sioux City, IA and Omaha, Nebraska, Lewis and Clark State Park is the perfect weekend getaway for midwest RVers and van dwellers. Located just off of I-29, the park is easy to reach, even for those with big rigs or trailers. Iowa is known for being reasonably flat, so you won't have to worry about any steep inclines or sharp turns on your way to the park. If you need to stock up on supplies, grab some lunch, or gas up the motorhome, both Onawa, Iowa and Decatur, Nebraska are within a ten-minute drive of the park.
The park road is set up in a loop, making for easy travel around the whole park area. The park is fairly small in size, so even if you don't have a passenger vehicle along, you should be able to walk to most of the main park attractions without an issue.
The campground is located on the northeast side of the park along the lake, and even large RVs should have no trouble parking in the spacious sites. Additional parking is available and can be found near the boat launch, park office, and the campground.
The Lewis and Clark State Park campground offers overnight guests over 100 spacious RV- and trailer-friendly sites. Most sites are equipped with electric hookups, while the rest provide full hookups to campers. Guests will find a picnic table and a fire ring at their site, and modern restrooms and a dump station can also be found nearby. Campers can stay entertained with nearby trailheads, boat ramps, and picnicking areas. This pet-friendly campground is open year-round, with reservations available up to three months in advance during the peak season of April to November. During the non-peak season, all sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Onawa / Blue Lake KOA is located in the heart of the Loess Hills and offers guests a chance to relax in a scenic and tranquil setting. The campground is lush with grassy areas and shaded by mature trees. The lake is an excellent spot for fishing and boating and features gorgeous sunsets year-round. There’s a pool, plus fun cycles and paddleboats to rent. Free Wi-Fi and full park access are granted to all guests. Sites can accommodate rigs of up to 93 feet and propane and firewood are available on-site for purchase. The park is also just down the road from the Blackbird Bend Casino and the Onawa Raceway and Events Complex.
If you're not one for planning, you will be able to find some first-come, first-served sites available at Lewis and Clark State Park's campground year-round. During the peak season of April to November, about a quarter of the sites are non-reservable. During the off-season, all sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so there's no need to make a reservation. The campground is equipped with both electric and full hookup sites, all of which sit on the north side of the park along the lakeshore. Pets are welcome at all sites.
Each June, the park puts on an event to celebrate the Lewis and Clark Expeditions and the park's rich history. During the festival, visitors can see movies depicting the expedition, people in period costumes, historical presentations, and more. Perhaps the biggest draw to the festival and park is the chance to see replicas of the boats that Lewis and Clark used during their journey. Even if you're not in town for the festival, you can see the replica boats in the interpretive center if you are visiting the park between April and October. If you're hoping to snag a spot to park the Airstream during the festival, you will want to reserve your campsite well in advance, as this is a popular event.
A trip to Lewis and Clark State Park wouldn't be complete without spending some time on the water. The 250-acre Blue Lake is perfect for boating, and there is no restriction on motor size. The park is equipped with a double boat ramp, and there is plenty of parking available in the same area. Those looking to enjoy the water will need to haul their own boat along behind the Sprinter, as the park does not offer rentals.
Summers in Iowa can get hot, but luckily Lewis and Clark State Park is equipped with a small, sand swimming beach. The beach is located on the south side of the park, and visitors can soak up some rays from the shore, or splash around in the refreshing Blue Lake. Once you've had enough fun in the sun, you can relax at the nearby picnic area. Visitors can utilize the grills, tables, and fire rings available, and there are also restrooms and a large parking lot close to the beach.
There are over 30 acres of picnicking areas in the park, making it a popular family destination during the summer months. Those looking to beat the crowds should visit during the offseason when park visitors are sparse, and the fall foliage is in full swing. The picnic areas are equipped with tables, grills, fire rings, and water spigots, and two shelters are available for rent if you are hosting an event or camping with a crowd. If you are planning a large group event, there is also one lodge available, able to accommodate up to 80 people. If you are camping with just a few, you can always hunker down right outside the travel trailer at your own private picnic table.
Blue Lake offers 250-acres of prime fishing to visitors, so don't forget to pack the poles and tackle box along in the campervan. The lake is stocked with bass, channel catfish, northern pike, and panfish -- making for some great fishing opportunities. You can cast out via boat, or from one of the fishing jetties available at the park. There is also a fish cleaning station, should you be lucky enough to reel in a keeper.
Although Lewis and Clark State Park is small in size, there is still plenty of hiking to be done. Lace up the hiking boots and leave the pop-up in the distance as you hike along the park's two-mile loop. The loop can be done in sections or as a whole and is an easy hike perfect for the whole family. You'll see most of the park during your trek, including the lake, river, and if you're lucky, some of the park's wildlife.