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One of the best ways to explore eastern central Iowa is to search for an RV in Johnson County, which encompasses Iowa City, just south of Cedar Rapids. In this county is Lake Macbride State Park, is a top tier camping location when you are renting an RV to check out the area. This state park was opened to the public in June of 1937 after the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce was able to raise funds to create it.
Construction on the park began in the 1930s after Thomas Macbride, for whom the park is named, spoke to members of the Iowa Academy of Science on the importance to establish a statewide system of parks. After this, the Civilian Conservation Corps was recruited to build the park, using local stone to build shelters and beach buildings. Later on, in 1955, Lake Macbride became one of the largest artificial lakes in Iowa after it was enlarged to include more water from the Iowa River. The park often draws visitors from nearby cities, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Mount Vernon, and more.
Central Iowa isn’t often raved about for its natural features, but it would be a mistake to assume this part of the state didn’t have its natural gems. RV camping at a state park in any state is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and Iowa is no different. At Lake Macbride State Park, hiking is a major activity that many guests enjoy, and because of the five-mile crushed limestone trail that runs along the north side of the park, enjoying hiking is easy to do. This trail is a multi-use trail, is well maintained, and is popular with walkers, hikers, and bikers alike. Many sections of the trail run through the forest, while other parts take you right along the shores of the lake.
Lake Macbride is also a huge feature at this state park, which is no surprise since the park itself is named after this huge lake. On hot days, the lake’s numerous beaches are a pleasant place to spend the day to beat the heat while laying out on the soft, comfy sand. The water of this 812-acre artificial lake is filled with many types of fish, and there are many swimming beaches that guests can venture out from.
This lake is also a great place for boating and fishing, so long as guests have the appropriate licenses. Camping at Lake Macbride State Park makes it easy to try day after day to catch the right fish, and those that don’t have access to a boat can head to the ADA compliant fishing pier to cast their lines. In the lake, fisherman can catch walleye, catfish, muskie, and more, and there is 24-hour fishing access designated shoreline for the die-hard fishers to use whenever they please.
Lake Macbride State Park is home to over 100 different campsites, each and every one of which is usable by those camping with an RV. These campsites are split up between two different campgrounds, the more modern of the two being the northern unit. This modern campground has full electrical hookups for each site, in addition to water and sewer, picnic tables, fire rings, and even lantern hooks. There are hot showers and flushing toilets centrally located, and even a trailer dump station should you need it.
The non-modern campground, the southern unit, can also hold RVs but they will have to deal with less modern amenities. There is a non-flush restroom in this unit, but the trade-off is that this campground is a bit closer to the lake and benefits more from the shade of dense trees. A quarter of all campsites are held available for guests on a first-come, first-served basis, while the other three quarters can be reserved online or by telephone.
When you camp in an RV near Iowa City, it would be foolish not to explore this major Iowan hub. This city is home to the Old Capitol Museum, which is one of the best places a guest can go to find information and exhibits on the local history. The museum is located in the former government center, which is an iconic building that has a beautiful gold dome atop it.
Iowa City is also a fantastic choice for guests looking to eat out since it is home to the University of Iowa. There are many diverse and interesting restaurants to try out. Unlike many other cities in Iowa, Iowa City is a multicultural hub, and this diversity is showcased rather well in their restaurant selections. Guests can find sushi, Thai, Brazilian, French, English, American food, and more.
If the hustle and bustle of the university are a bit too much, head north to Cedar Rapids to enjoy more restaurants and historical attractions. Cedar Rapids is home to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, which is filled with galleries highlighting the Czech and Slovak experience. There is also a genealogy library, a seasonal Christmas market, and more cultural events and exhibits for outdoor lovers to participate in.