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Chariton River Valley is a sprawling landscape of green hills along the southeastern portion of Iowa. If you’re looking for an open grassland with a few trees scattered around for good measure at which to do some RV camping, Island View Park is the place for you. Just 20 minutes north of Centerville, 30 minutes south of Albia, and 45 minutes from Ottumwa, this lovely park is located on Rathbun Lake. Due to the lake's enormous size, it draws big winds, which makes it one of the best places in Iowa for sailing.
The biggest draw to Island View Park is, very clearly, Rathbun Lake, which measures 11,000 acres. Island View has a marina, a boat dock, and a boat ramp to give its visitors everything they’d need to get out on the water. Rathbun Lake is nicknamed the "Ocean of Iowa" as a result of its size.
Sailors, hikers, swimmers, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts are going to love Island View Park. This place is a relaxing spot to take a vacation with your family in a motorhome rental. Begin by booking an RV in Appanoose County and start planning your trip!
While you’re in Appanoose County, keep your eyes peeled for the amazing wildlife that surrounds you. Wildlife viewing at Island View Park really helps visitors appreciate the natural world. Depending on the time of day, you might be able to find a soaring bald eagle, a white-tailed deer nibbling on some grass, or some wild turkeys roaming. Over the lake, you also might see some Canadian geese flying across the blue skies.
We already mentioned how great the boating is on Rathbun Lake, but did we mention the fishing? If you plan to do some angling at Island View, you won't be disappointed in the results. The view itself is worth the trip, and once you cast your line into the lake, you’ll forget all your troubles. Crappie, channel catfish, walleye, and largemouth bass are some of the most common fish you’ll find in Rathbun.
Depending on the weather, Island View is a great place for a barbecue. Grill up some grub on your fire pits at the campsite, then head on over to the baseball fields and play some catch. If other campers are willing, full games have been known to take place. There are also horseshoe pits available to Island View Park campers to complete the outdoor barbecue experience.
Adventurers camping at Island View Park have more than 185 campsites to choose from when booking their trip. None of the campsites have full hookups; however, all have standard electrical hookups of 30 and 50 amps. Dump stations, water spigots, and pull-through sites are available. If you’re looking to stay in contact with the outside world, most cell phone carriers provide good service within the park.
Pets are allowed in Island View Park, as long as they're on a leash and well-behaved. Campers at Island View Park have access to clean bathhouses with hot showers and flush toilets. The park also has access to Rathbun Lake as well as a boat dock. There's also a playground for the kids. Each campsite has a fire ring and a lamp post. Other amenities on-site include fire pits and a fish cleaning station.
If you’re going to do some exploring, make sure to visit the Appanoose County Historical and Coal Mining Museum in Centerville. This museum was built to keep the history of southeastern Iowa alive. See well-preserved, everyday artifacts from America's past and hear stories about where Appanoose County came from, starting with the native people all the way up through today. Also, you’ll learn about the role coal mining has played in the development of the state of Iowa.
Midway between Centerville and Island View Park, you’ll find the Rathbun Fish Hatchery. Take a self-guided tour around the hatchery and see how the facility breeds walleye and catfish to stock all the lakes, ponds, rivers, and reservoirs across Iowa. The hatchery nurtures and distributes over 175,000 catfish, 400,000 walleye fingerlings, and over 70 million walleye fry every year.
Or, head north to Moravia for a day of sightseeing and museums. This small town is loaded with scenic byways and natural vistas to enjoy. Take the 110-mile Historic Hills Scenic Byway and see old farmsteads, quaint villages, rolling hills, and an old Amish village. You can also visit Sundown Lake for some beachside fun. Wabash Depot Museum Complex is also worth visiting while you’re in town.
As far as gas stations go, you'll find a whole slew of them within a 30-minute drive up Highway 5. There are also plenty of restaurants along the lake to stop by on your way out. Many grills and seafood restaurants are located within a few miles of the park. Then, you can steer your camper rental west towards I-35, which will take you north to Des Moines or south towards Kansas City.