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Within a state park of the same name, the Green Valley Campground is a family-friendly RV park in southern Iowa. It’s just a stone’s throw from the city of Creston, which has all the services you need and is an hour’s drive from Des Moines.
RV camping at the Green Valley Campground includes access to non-electric, electric, and full hookup sites. Campers traveling with children can take advantage of the two playgrounds on-site, and there are several picnic shelters that can be reserved online. Additional facilities include modern restrooms and showers, and a dump station.
A highlight of camping at the Green Valley Campground is its access to the surrounding Green Valley State Park, which centers around a 390-acre lake. It’s a popular fishing destination, with largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, walleye, and channel catfish all for the taking. A 6.5-mile multi-use trail hugs the eastern and southern shores of the lake before passing through the Mitchell Marsh, where you can spot a variety of waterfowl and wetland bird species. Swimming in the lake is possible during the warmer months while boats, kayaks, and canoes can be launched year-round.
A 20-minute drive east of the Green Valley Campground is the Three Mile Recreational Area, which is named after its centerpiece lake. It will also appeal to anglers, with muskellunge, bass, and crappie inhabiting the waters, while water skiers and power boaters are welcome on the lower portion of the lake. White-tailed deer, squirrel, and cottontails inhabit the surrounding habitat, and the lake is a popular destination for Canada geese and ducks on their annual migration.
On the outskirts of Creston is McKinley Park, which boasts a whole host of recreational facilities. Aside from an 18-hole disc golf course and skateboard park, it also features a children’s playground and a leisure swimming pool. Pets are allowed to join you in the park, and there are several picnic shelters where you can relax with your family and friends. You can kick back beside the central lake or stretch your legs on the Park to Park Trail that traverses the park from north to south. Directly north of McKinley Park is Taylor Park, where you’ll find another children’s playground and acres of green space for settling in with a picnic lunch.
Campsites at the Green Valley Campground are just ten minutes' drive from Creston, where you’ll find several supermarkets for stocking up on grocery supplies. There are also gas stations here if you need to fill up your RV rental and a good choice of fast-food restaurants, pizzerias, and an ice creamery.
The Green Valley Campground makes a good base for exploring Des Moines, which serves as the lively capital of Iowa. It’s home to the Iowa State Capitol building that dates to the 1870s and is the only five-domed capitol in the United States. Take note of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument that stands outside the building, together with the Lincoln and Tad statue, then soak up the panoramic views across the city’s downtown area from its hilltop setting.
Also not to miss is the Des Moines Art Center, which is renowned for its extensive collection of contemporary paintings, sculptures, and mixed media works. It occupies an impressive building that was designed by Finnish-American architect Eliel Saarinen in the 1940s, with artists such as Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, and Andy Warhol represented in the permanent galleries. The Des Moines Art Center also operates the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, where large-scale works by around 25 artists are exhibited.
Green thumbs should make a point of visiting the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, which sprawls along the east bank of the Des Moines River. It’s home to an iconic geodesic dome and exhibits more than 1,200 different species from around the globe in a range of creative settings. If you want to pick up fresh produce, head to the Downtown Farmers’ Market where you can shop for fruits, vegetables, and artisan goods accompanied by live music.
The Green Valley Campground is also an easy day trip from Omaha, which lies along the Missouri River just across the border in Nebraska. It’s renowned for its pioneer history and cultural museums. It is one of several stops on the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail that commemorates this 1804-1806 expedition. Delve into the local history at the Durham Museum, which occupies a 1930's train station, then stroll through the themed gardens and arboretum of Kenefick Park. If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to visit the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium to get up close to their big cats.
Whether you want to explore the recreational lakes of southern Iowa or get cultured in Des Moines and Omaha, book an RV rental in Union County and start planning your visit.