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Lacey-Keosauqua State Park enjoys a picturesque setting on the Des Moines River and is a fantastic place to reconnect with nature. With a footprint of more than 1,650 acres, it's the largest state park in Iowa and features a diverse landscape of rolling hills, rugged bluffs, and lush valleys. The park has been welcoming visitors since the 1920s and offers excellent outdoor recreation opportunities, including fishing, hiking, and camping. History buffs love the park's connection to the Mormon Trail, the area's Woodland Culture tribes, and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
Planning a Midwest road trip? Book an RV in Van Buren County and you can sleep under the stars in Lacey-Keosauqua State Park. With the freedom of a home on wheels, you can also visit iconic Iowa parks such as Maquoketa Caves, Pikes Peak, and Backbone. Venture further afield and you can tick off Midwest gems like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, Apostle Islands in Wisconsin, and Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota.
Set on a horseshoe bend of the Des Moines River, it's easy to make a splash at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park. In addition to the river, the 30-acre lake provides a picturesque backdrop for swimming, boating, and fishing. Claim one of the two open picnic shelters or enjoy a picnic on the grass. There's also a lodge that's popular for family reunions, birthday parties, weddings, and other group gatherings.
More than 13 miles of trails wind through the park and showcase the unique landscape. The three-mile riverside bluff trail is a favorite and spotlights the rich history and heritage of the park. You'll learn about the Mormon Trail river crossing in the 19th century and see sturdy structures built by the CCC in the Great Depression. As you explore the trails, watch for local birdlife such as tanagers and warblers. You could also spot deer, raccoons, squirrels, red foxes, and opossums.
In the northwest section of the park, a series of hilltop mounds offer a glimpse of the park's Native American roots. The mounds were constructed as burial grounds by Woodland Culture tribes who lived in the area 2,500 years ago. Cyclists can hit the Southeast Iowa Bike Route, a 46-mile greenway that connects Lacey-Keosauqua with Geode State Park. Along the way, you'll pass through woodlands, cornfields, and pastures.
The Lacey-Keosauqua State Park Campground features spacious sites set under a canopy of oaks and hickories. Choose from 64 sites, including 51 with electricity. Of these, 13 include sewer and water hookups. The 14 non-electric sites are great for an off-the-grid motorhome camping experience. Like most state park RV campgrounds, Lacey-Keosauqua features modern bathroom blocks with toilets and showers. There's also a dump station for RV rentals. The biggest pull-through sites can accommodate RVs of up to 110 feet long, making Lacey-Keosauqua State Park a good choice for larger rigs.
Playground equipment makes Lacey-Keosauqua State Park a top choice for family RV camping. Dogs are welcome, so why not rent a pet-friendly RV and bring along the whole family on your Lacey-Keosauqua State Park camping trip? In addition to the campground, Lacey-Keosauqua State Park offers six self-contained cabins that combine the creature comforts of home with the novelty of sleeping outdoors.
Camping at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park puts you in the heart of Southeast Iowa, a captivating corner of the state where you'll find historic villages, Civil War sites, and postcard-perfect scenery. Located just across the river, Keosauqua is the closest major town and offers a good selection of gas stations and grocery stores. It's the seat of Van Buren County and will win you over with historic architecture and small-town charm.
Nearby, you'll find the historic settlements of Bentonsport and Bonaparte. Both welcome you with friendly locals and picturesque settings by the Des Moines River. You'll love strolling along the historic main streets, browsing the mom-and-pop stores, and stocking up on homemade baked goods. For a change of scene, spend the day at Lake Sugema, a two-mile drive from Lacey-Keosauqua State Park. Launch a boat, hit the scenic hiking trails, or cast a line for channel catfish, walleye, red ear, and tiger musky.
Held in the second week of October, the Scenic Drive Festival is one of the biggest events of the year. Camping in an RV during the festival is a great opportunity to admire the fall foliage and check out the arts and crafts festivals, antique fairs, and live concerts hosted by towns and villages throughout the region. Des Moines is a two-hour drive northwest and is a great place to rent a camper near Lacey-Keosauqua State Park and kickstart a Midwest road trip.