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  • Post published:12/05/2021
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Enjoy the Iowa Sunset

Whether you enjoy tent or RV camping, you’ll be pleased with the variety of excellent state campgrounds in Iowa.

Iowa State Parks

No matter where you are in the state, it’s likely that you aren’t far away from one of the many state parks located throughout Iowa. There are more than 70 Iowa state parks, many of which offer several different camping options.

Throughout the state park system, camping is allowed only in designated areas. Campers can choose from among traditional camping sites for tents and RVs, cabins, group campsites, and lodge accommodations. Dogs are allowed, as long as they are kept on leashes that are no more than six feet long. If you’d like to learn more about a particular park see the park contact information page, where you will find email addresses and telephone numbers for each location.

Summer is the peak camping season in Iowa. During the peak season, camping rates range from $9 to $24 per night, depending on the type of campsite and amenities selected. Off-season rates apply from October through April, and range from $6 to $21 per night. If you plan to enjoy state campgrounds in Iowa frequently, you can save some money buy purchasing a camping coupon book that includes certificates that may be used for seven nights if camping in the system.

Iowa’s state park camping facilities are open year round, assuming that weather conditions are not prohibitive to camping. Those planning a winter camping trip will benefit from calling ahead, to verify that the park they want to visit isn’t closed due to inclement weather.

Activities in Iowa State Park Campgrounds

Campers can enjoy a number of different activities when spending time in an Iowa State Park.

  • Beach Going – Several of the state parks have beaches, providing campers with seasonal opportunities for relaxation and sunbathing.
  • Boating – Many visitors to Iowa’s State Parks enjoy boating. Boaters must observe the park system’s specific regulations regarding motor speed and wake.
  • Ice Fishing – Campers are allowed to erect ice fishing shelters over state owned waters or land in Iowa.
  • Fishing – There are many excellent opportunities for fishing throughout the state parks. A number of locations are designated for after hours fishing only, and are open to anglers from 10:30 p.m. – 4 a.m. daily. It’s important to know that boats are not allowed after 10:30 p.m., so all after hours fishing must be done from shore.
  • Horseback Riding – Horses are allowed in designated areas, provided that owners follow state park rules regarding animals and pets. Equine animals are allowed on designated trails and roadways, and must be stabled inside trailers or in provided corrals or stalls, where available. There are even several equestrian campgrounds in the system.
  • Rapelling – Adventurous campers can enjoy rock climbing or rapelling in several of Iowa’s state parks. In order to participate in this climbing activities, individuals must register with the park’s manager.
  • Swimming – Many of the state campgrounds in Iowa have designated swimming areas.

Reserving State Campgrounds in Iowa

The Iowa State Park system allows half of the campsites to be reserved in advance, and the other half are made available to campers on a first come, first served basis. You can make reservations via the Iowa State Parks online reservation system any time of the day or night. You can also reserve your campsite by calling 1-877-IAPARKS Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. central standard time. You can view maps of campsites available at each park so you can make an informed decision when selecting a camping spot to reserve.

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