Located on the shore of East Okoboji Lake, right next to the town of Spirit Lake, is one of Iowa’s youngest recreation areas, Elinor Bedell State Park. Sprawling over 80 acres of wetlands, prairies, and oak-dotted savannas, the park was a gift to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources from U.S. Congressman and Iowa native Berkley Bedell and his wife, Elinor.
The park's diverse ecosystems make it an ideal place for nature lovers to unwind and enjoy an RV camping adventure. Wildlife watching is an especially popular pastime for visitors. Anglers will also find plenty of opportunities to cast their lines and try to reel in a big one. Okoboji campers and Superior campers are regular guests here, and they love the park for its tranquility, scenic vistas, trail system, and boating opportunities.
The park also has a well-equipped RV campground, so campers from all over Iowa come here during summer. Book an RV in Dickinson County and gear up for some rest and relaxation at this peaceful place.
The park is renowned for its extensive trail system and accessibility. Guests can hop onto a hiking trail from just about anywhere in the park. One of the most popular paths leads through the wetlands and around the lake. This trail is short, paved, and accessible for people with disabilities. Several miles of trails wind through the park, so pack your best walking shoes in the RV rental.
Fishing enthusiasts will have an unforgettable time here, as East Okoboji Lake is one of Iowa’s prime fishing spots, along with other surrounding lakes. You can expect to catch four species of bass, as well as walleye, northern pike perch, catfish, bluegill, crappie, and bullhead. Bring your A-game, as there will be a lot of competition here.
If you'd rather be in the water, change into your swimsuit and take a dip at the swimming area. Or, stay on dry land and let loose on the playground. Birdwatching is another favorite pastime for Elinor Bedell State Park campers. You'll have a decent chance of spotting any of the hundreds of bird species that call Iowa home. Geocaching is another fun way to explore the park and find some hidden treasures while you're at it.
Camping at Elinor Bedell State Park
Although the RV campground at Elinor Bedell State Park isn't the largest, it offers an array of modern amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Eight reservable, partially shaded sites come with full hookups, a picnic table, and a fire ring. Restrooms and showers are available on-site, in addition to a children's playground. Keep in mind that about one-quarter of the sites are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you're planning to camp in an RV at Elinor Bedell State Park, feel free to book a big rig. Sites here can accommodate motorhome rentals up to 70 feet long. Pets are also welcome; just be sure to keep them leashed.
Exploring the Area
No matter what kind of outing you're after, you'll find all sorts of entertainment options near Elinor Bedell State Park. Okoboji has a variety of shops, restaurants, and family-friendly activities to keep you occupied for days. As far as the cuisine goes, you can expect to find pizza, steak, Mexican and Chinese fare, and so much more. You might also want to visit the Higgins Museum, which is going to be a real treat if you're interested in the evolution of currency. The museum offers detailed insight into the American banking system and displays a vast collection of banknotes.
The town of Arnolds Park is just down the road from Okoboji and is a great place to treat the kids to a fun day out. Explore the water park, amusement park, escape rooms, and the funhouse museum. If you're keen to spend more time by the water, hit the public beach for a picnic and some sunbathing. The city's raceway is a fun place to engage in some friendly competition with your camping crew.
Arnolds Park Maritime Museum will be particularly interesting for avid boaters and water lovers of all kinds. Check out the museum's extensive collection of antique boats, and get an up-close view of a shipwreck hauled from the bottom of West Okoboji Lake. If you time your visit just right, you might even catch a concert or other fun event happening at the Maritime Museum. Make sure to check the events schedule when planning your visit.
Ready to wrap up your Elinor Bedell State Park camping adventure and hit the road again? You're just a short drive from the Iowa-Minnesota state line. If you're willing to extend your trip, venture into the Land of 10,000 Lakes to see what adventures await.