State Parks in Iowa | Outdoorsy

State Parks in Iowa

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State Parks


Backbone State Park, IA

58 RV rentals

Set in an ancient valley carved by the Maquoketa River, Backbone State Park immerses you in the natural beauty of the Hawkeye State. It's the oldest state park in Iowa and has been welcoming visitors since 1919. The 2,000-acre park is named after its unique geological features, predominantly the narrow "Devil's Backbone" ridge that slices through the valley and forms one of the highest points in Iowa. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the scenery, from woodland hikes and sun-dappled picnics to leisurely paddles and exhilarating rock-climbing routes. There's even a dash of history thrown into the mix, with rustic stone cabins and an absorbing museum recalling the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

At just three hours from …

Beeds Lake State Park, IA

115 RV rentals

Offering a sandy beach, excellent fishing, and historic appeal, Beeds Lake State Park is one of the most popular outdoor recreation destinations in the Hawkeye State. At the heart of the park is a picturesque limestone dam and spillway built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. The dam was originally constructed in the 1850s to collect water for a local mill, though today it provides a scenic setting for swimming, boating, and fishing. History buffs love checking out the beautifully preserved CCC buildings, which won Beeds Lake a place on the National Register of Historic Places.

Planning a road trip in the Midwest? Book an RV in Franklin County and you can combine the creature comforts of …

Bellevue State Park, IA

123 RV rentals

With peaceful hiking trails, abundant native wildlife, and wonderful views of the Mississippi, Bellevue State Park is one of eastern Iowa's best camping destinations. Located just to the south of Bellevue, this 788-acre park actually comprises two separate areas.

The first area is the Nelson Unit, which is found just to the south of Bellevue. Home to a nature center, butterfly sanctuary, and hunting area, it offers plenty to entertain and excite visitors.

The second area of the park, the Dyas Unit, lies a couple of miles further south. It offers excellent hiking trails, beautiful river views, and a modern campground, so it's a wonderful spot to explore in a rental RV.

If you're planning to camp with an RV …

Black Hawk State Park, IA

113 RV rentals

A pretty park that sits right on the shores of Black Hawk Lake, Black Hawk State Park is one of northwestern Iowa’s best camping destinations. Located in the town of Lake View, this small but popular park is known for its excellent fishing, boating, and swimming.

Even better, Black Hawk State Park also boasts a large campground with plenty of room for your motorhome rental. And with disc golf, a large playground, and a number of other facilities on offer, it’s an excellent spot for a family camping getaway.

Buck Creek Park, IA

88 RV rentals

Buck Creek Park is located in southeast Iowa, on the easternmost border of the giant Rathbun Lake. Buck Creek is located just nine miles north of Centerville, 36 miles from Bloomfield, and 35 miles from Ottumwa. This small park is known for its scenic beauty, picnicking, and fun lakeside activities.

Buck Creek Park is made up of hilly grasslands that run along the Chariton River Valley. It shares a border with the easternmost arm of Rathbun Lake and provides full access to the water. The campgrounds are open, grassy areas with a few deciduous trees speckled throughout.

If your motorhome camping trip takes you to Iowa, you’ll definitely want to consider Buck Creek Park. This is a …

Dolliver Memorial State Park, IA

97 RV rentals

Dolliver Memorial State Park in Otho offers a relaxing and fun experience for hikers, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The 594-acre park also makes an excellent base camp for those looking to explore the cities in the surrounding area. Fort Dodge is only about 20 minutes to the north of the park. Des Moines, the state capital, is under an hour and a half to the south of the park and is a great city for tourists to visit full of educational and entertaining activities.

Lehigh is only five minutes from the park and a great place to stock up on camping supplies before parking your RV at Dolliver Memorial State Park. You don't have to own a motorhome …

Effigy Mounds National Monument, IA

85 RV rentals

Effigy Mounds National Monument is located near McGregor, Iowa, less than a mile from the mighty Mississippi River. The monument is a collection of mounds that were part of a culture that transcended individual tribes and is considered to be an archeological treasure providing insight into Native American culture. These mounds were not constructed for burial purposes, as many of the tribes continued to build circular mounds for burial. The Effigy Mounds Culture utilized hills in the shape of animals such as deer, bison, and turtle, among others. Archeologists believe that the mounds may have been created to honor seasonal events, to mark territory or for other purposes, but their actual purpose is still unknown.

Today the monument is …

Elinor Bedell State Park, IA

62 RV rentals

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 …

Elk Rock State Park, IA

110 RV rentals

Located in central Iowa on the southern shore of Lake Red Rock is Elk Rock State Park. With 50,000 acres of forested hills right next to Iowa’s largest lake, Elk Rock State Park offers the best opportunities to fish and boat in the state. The park’s namesake "elk rock" is located in the southern region of the park. The name of the lake derives from the red rock found in the area.

Some nearby parks open for exploring include Stephen’s State Forest, Lake Ahquabi State Park, and Whitebreast Park. There's also Cordova Park, which is located directly across Red Rock Lake. Nearby are several towns, and Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa, is just under an hour's …

Fort Defiance State Park, IA

61 RV rentals

Fort Defiance State Park is a smaller park encompassing 191 acres just outside of Estherville, Iowa. This park opened in 1930, making it one of the oldest parks in the state. Motorhome camping is a great activity for families to enjoy while exploring Iowa. Spirit Lake is only about 15 minutes west of the park and is a convenient place to stock up on supplies before parking your RV rental at Fort Defiance State Park.

You don't have to own an RV to enjoy a camping adventure at Fort Defiance. Book an RV in Emmet County and camp in style. Take a few extra days to explore northern Iowa; the park is situated close to the Iowa-Minnesota state line …

Geode State Park, IA

61 RV rentals

Iowa is packed with scenic state parks. In southeastern Iowa, you’ll find a unique gem of a park. Geode State Park is located 20 minutes west of Burlington, 25 minutes south of Mount Pleasant, and a stone’s throw north of West Point. This 1,640-acre park attracts hikers, water enthusiasts, and wildlife viewers from all over.

In 1937, Geode State Park became part of the Iowa State Park system. The area had always been a beautiful picnicking spot for locals. Then, after a group of citizens raised some money and purchased the land, they donated it to the state park system. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the park to be what it is today. It took 14 …

George Wyth State Park, IA

98 RV rentals

Northeast Iowa is shaped by the Mississippi River Valley, which gives it a landscape that's slightly different than that of the rest of Iowa, but equally gorgeous. George Wyth State Park is located midway between Cedar Falls and Waterloo, just west of Dubuque. It's part of the National Urban Wildlife Sanctuary and is a relaxing escape from city life.

In 1940, nearly a decade after President Roosevelt’s New Deal was set into motion, the Josh Higgins Parkway was established. Josh Higgins was a popular radio personality in the 1920s and '30s. Sixteen years later in 1956, the park was renamed George Wyth State Park after J. George Wyth of Cedar Falls. George was a conservationist who helped shape …

Green Valley State Park, IA

126 RV rentals

If your RV camping trip takes you to the Midwest, consider traveling through Iowa. Southwest Iowa is rich with grasslands and wide-open spaces. Green Valley State Park is located 35 minutes north of Lenox, 50 minutes west of Osceola, and 30 minutes south of Casey.

Built around Green Valley Lake, Green Valley State Park has become a go-to place for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy water activities. The entire lake fits inside the boundaries of the park, so Green Valley State Park campers have full access to the water. Anglers love the lake as it’s one of four major fishing lakes in the region.

Green Valley State Park is the place you go when you want to get …

Gull Point State Park, IA

63 RV rentals

Iowa may not be at the top of your list for a vacation getaway; however, the state park system offers fantastic opportunities for families to reconnect. Gull Point State Park, near Milford, is one such park that offers activities on the lake and throughout the park. This park is part of the Iowa Great Lakes region and is on West Okoboji Lake. Plan to spend the weekend RV camping at Gull Point State Park. You don't need to own an RV to enjoy a vacation here. Book an RV in Dickinson County and get ready for an adventure in the great outdoors.

Be sure to stock up on camping supplies in Spirit Lake, which is less than 15 …

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, IA

63 RV rentals

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, located near West Branch, is a monument to one of the most renowned American presidents to hold the office. The monument is located near the center of West Branch, the small town where Hoover spent his early childhood until being orphaned at the young age of 9. Hoover left the town soon after and would not return until his retirement when he chose to celebrate his many accomplishments in his place of birth. There are a large number of attractions for you to see, including his simple birthplace cottage and his burial site, marked with a Vermont white marble headstone.

Camping with an RV near Herbert Hoover National Historic Site is your best bet …

Island View Park, IA

102 RV rentals

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, …

Lacey Keosauqua State Park, IA

62 RV rentals

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 …

Lake Ahquabi State Park, IA

101 RV rentals

Camping with an RV is a great way to reconnect with your family and make memories that will last a lifetime. Lake Ahquabi State Park, near Indianola, Iowa has fun activities for all ages to enjoy. Don't worry if you don't own a motorhome — book an RV in Warren County and spend some time exploring Iowa. One of the biggest draws of Lake Ahquabi State Park is the 115-acre reservoir where visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, and swimming.

You can camp with your RV at Lake Ahquabi State Park and then head to Des Moines, less than 45 minutes to the north, for shopping and sightseeing. Spend an afternoon in Pleasantville wandering through quaint shops and stocking up …