11 Unforgettable RV Camp Spots in Iowa (Both Parks and Rustic)


Iowa has some really neat places to visit. I personally love the Maquoketa Caves, which I will talk about later. There is plenty of landscape rock formations to see here. Check it out!

  1. Pikes Peak State Park
  2. Adventureland Resort
  3. Sleepy Hollow RV Park
  4. Honey Creek Resort State Park
  5. Winterset City Park Campground
  6. Oakwood RV Park
  7. Cherry Glen Campground
  8. Big Woods Lake Campground
  9. Linder Point Campground
  10. Pulpit Rock Campground
  11. Maquoketa Caves State Park

I believe that Iowa is one of those states that people sleep on, meaning that it is not recognized or respected for what it has. I highly recommend you check these 11 places out!

Parks

This section will be about places that have full hookup. It does not have to be parks per se but it does have to have a modern appeal to those who would live with water and electricity.

1. Pikes Peak State Park

Rate (Per Night): $19

Perks:

  • Bicycling
  • Hiking
  • Picnic area
  • Boat rentals
  • Golfing
  • Laundry
  • Bear Mound
  • Big rig friendly

Pikes Peak State Park has the amazing Mississippi River running through it. Because of that, this is one of the places where you will find that most of the photography in Iowa comes from.

There is a really cool place called Bear Mound. An ancient American Indian tribe built these effigies in mounds shaped to look like animals. There are 63 of them and I would totally say that it is worth your time. Objects that you have to look at from the perfect angle are something magical and I think you will find this enjoyable.

The sites only have electric and water for your RV. There are no pull-thru sites but they do allow big rig access.

There are also some falls here called Bridal Veil Falls. These are nearby the effigy mounds. The Bridal Veil Falls Hike is something easy that the whole family can do. According to the Hiking Project website, Bridal Veil Falls is a 0.5-mile hike with not very much incline.

A big attraction of the area is the fall colors of the trees. The people in the area have some festivals and a flea market during this time as well. The optimal time for viewing the trees is October 9 through the 15. Fall tree colors are something to die for. Go check it out!

2. Adventureland Resort

Rate (Per Night): $45

Perks:

  • Full hookup
  • Dog Run
  • WiFi
  • Indoor Pool
  • Arcade
  • Playground
  • Sports Bar & Grill

About 10 minutes outside of Des Moines is Adventureland Resort. There is plenty to do here if you do not plan on going to the city. If you are planning on going to the city, there is plenty to do here when you get back from your day trip.

Since this article is more about the RV places, I will not say anything much about Des Moines and more about what this place has to offer. The RV sites are good sized. It is a bit confusing to get to the RV site because it kind of just comes up out of nowhere.

The things that it offers here are great for the whole family. My favorite part is the Indoor pool. They have a couple of slides that make the inner kid spirit in me happy. There is a pool bar as well for the parents that will get bored.

Speaking of bars, There is a sports bar and grill at Adventureland where you can spend some adult time with friends.

Another part that I like is the arcade. I love arcades. It is a pretty moderate size and I’m sure you could waste a lot of money in here. The kids will enjoy it. It makes a great bonding time.

3. Sleepy Hollow RV Park

Rates (Per Night): $43

Perks:

  • Badlands National Park
  • Wall Drug Store
  • Pull-thru
  • Pool
  • TV
  • Dog park
  • Wildlife

Sleepy Hollow RV Park is a great place to stop for a couple of days and a return trip from another place or even just for a weekend getaway.

The staff is great and the RV sites are well taken care of. Nearby is the Badlands National Park with plenty of wildlife to see.

The badlands are so amazing. The mountains and the hiking is killer. This place has so much to do! I can’t even begin to tell you. The wildlife here is amazing as well. Bison and bighorn sheep are just some of the animals you will see on your trip here.

The World Famous Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota is very close by as well. Come check out this historic landmark in America.

4. Honey Creek Resort State Park

Rates (Per Night): Call for current price

Perks:

  • Buccaneer Bay Indoor Water Park
  • Kayaking
  • Golfing
  • Fishing
  • Canoeing
  • Jet skis
  • Mountain Biking

I think that the RV Park here is a really great bonus. You can still be outside enjoying what it has to offer but also enjoy all of the amenities and activities that Honey Creek Resort has in store.

The Rathbun Lake has plenty to do. You can hop in your canoe/kayaking or even get some jet skis going. Nothing is better than the adrenaline of going fast on a jet ski. There is a fishing pier here too if you prefer the more laidback life.

There is tons of area to bike. Take your significant other out on a bike ride and enjoy each other’s company. You can go hiking through the hundreds of acres of forest around.

There are tons of shops and restaurants in the surrounding areas. Cultural and historical attractions can be found nearby and if you are lucky, maybe even a festival.

5. Winterset City Park Campground

Rates (Per Night): $30

Perks:

  • Birthplace of John Wayne
  • Clark Tower
  • Winterset City Park
  • Showers

The Winterset City Park Campground is a great place to visit because it puts you directly in the city in an RV. There is plenty of history here for you to check out so if you have ever wanted to come to this city, this is the place to stay.

The site is really nice for something that is in a city park. They have showers and restrooms for you to use. It is a well-kept site.

This is a great little town with some cool stuff to go see like the Clark tower which looks like something out of a film set in medieval times.

Speaking of movies, this is the birthplace of John Wayne. If you are a sucker for old-timey movies, you gotta check out the museum they have for him. There is a ton of rich history to find here so why not go and see it?

6. Oakwood RV Park

Photo Courtesy of: Oakwood RV Park

Rates (Per Night): $35

Perks:

  • Clear Lake
  • Local attractions
  • Lady of the Lake
  • Central Gardens

Oakwood RV Park is a great place to stay if you are looking to spend some time at Clear Lake, Iowa. This RV park is located in an open field with some trees off to one corner. Being within a couple of block of the lake, you can visit whenever and take a stroll to get there.

There are plenty of local attractions as well as the Surf Ballroom. Something I enjoy are gardens and they have some at this location. The Central Gardens are really cool because on Friday mornings from June to August you can buy some beautiful bouquets of fresh flowers arranged in many ways.

They have a nature education area where they teach you about flowers and how everything is cultivated. It is really neat. You can even rent the gardens for events as well.

The Lady of the Lake is a cruise ship that takes you around the lake during the summer. It is old-timey and I love that so I suggest checking it out.

Rustic

The more rustic kind of camping is that which does not always have a full hookup for the RV. Those would want to live off of what is around them or get away from the crowd should look into these places.

7. Cherry Glen Campground

Rates (Per Night): $26

Perks:

  • Hunting
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Biking
  • Swimming

Cherry Glen Campground is a simple campground but fairly popular because of its location. The campground is located on the Saylorville Lake.

The lake here is amazing! There is something I love about trees and water near each other. Anyways, the lake is super close to the Des Moines River.

Because the campground accesses straight to the lake, there is plenty of swimming, fishing, and boating to do. If you are an angler, you will find your classics like walleye and largemouth bass. You might even find a catfish or two.

Hiking is another great activity here. The Neal Smith Trail is a huge trail that reaches over 20 miles. The trail is used by many for running and biking because it is paved. You could take your family for a nice stroll and check out all of the nature around you.

There is plenty of wildlife to see around these areas. Most of what you will see are white-tailed deer. This area is popular for a reason. Going here will give you some much-needed relaxation.

8. Big Woods Lake Campground

Rates (Per Night): $30

Perks:

  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife
  • Boating

This is a great spot to go if you are still trying to be in an urban area but also gives the feel of being away from the hustle and bustle of life.

Big Woods Lake has plenty of fishing to do. Largemouth bass, walleye, and northern pike are all classics here. Get your fishing on while you are here. Almost all of the places I suggest are going to have some form of fishing, so I hope you like to fish.

The big attraction, second only to the lake, is the city: Cedar Falls. There is plenty to do here. The great thing is there is a trail you can take to just walk into downtown Cedar Falls. That is what I was talking about for being out the busy city life but also close if you want to visit.

It is a little over 1.5 miles to get there. It is a really nice trail to walk on and see the lake and all the water around you.

9. Linder Point Campground

Rates (Per Night): $30

Perks:

  • Devonian Fossil Gorge
  • Water skiing
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Picnic areas
  • Hunting
  • Showers

Linder Point Campground is a great place to stay near the Coralville Lake. The campground is a part of a group of campgrounds called the Dam Complex that is on the Coralville Lake.

The Lake here provides some great recreational activities like water skiing, river fishing, swimming, etc. When it comes time for lunch there are picnic areas perfect for a midday meal.

If you are looking for a nice nature hike, the Woodpecker Nature Trail is a good place to look. It has some viewing points out over the lake along the trail. There is a little dome structure there to check out that might be a good place to stop with your kids.

Below the dam is the Devonian Fossil Gorge. At one point in history, this gorge was a sea floor and there are plenty of fossils here of sea life that once was around. You can take a tour of this area and probably take some pictures. I’m sure the kids will love finding fossils.

10. Pulpit Rock Campground

Rates (Per Night): $42

Perks:

  • Pulpit Rock
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Picnic areas
  • Fishing

Pulpit Rock is one of those places that hikers go… and the occasional photo op. This is a really nice and quiet place. This is the only place you should stay if you are going to Pulpit Rock. Do an overnighter here for a pit stop at Pulpit Rock and then head to your next destination.

There is hiking to do here and you can pull out a canoe and swim but the focal point of this campground is Pulpit Rock. Check it out, send some pictures to your kids, sleep here and then go to the next destination.

11. Maquoketa Caves State Park

Rates (Per Night): $16

Perks:

  • Picnic areas
  • Hiking
  • Caves
  • Shower
  • Wildlife
  • Museum

Obviously, the coolest part about this place are the caves. I love caves so this is right up my alley. Maquoketa Caves has some really neat history. The caves used to house pottery, tools and other objects. That shows that this used to be a popular area back in the day.

There is plenty of camping and picnicking to do. Hiking is abundant here. They have some really neat areas like Dancehall Cave and Natural Bridge. The bridge stands almost 50 feet about Raccoon Creek. This is a beautiful area to check out.

The have a center with history and the geology of the cave formations if that is what you fancy. If anybody with you is unable to walk around a lot, they have a video tour of the park and caves that you watch instead of walking around.

Related Questions:

Do Iowa state parks have a full hookup? Most if not all Iowa state parks have a full hookup for your RV. You will have to look for your individual place online or by calling the place. The price and availability may vary.

Can you stay overnight at state parks? You can stay overnight in state parks. They will charge you per night so keep that in mind as well. Some places will not charge you during the day so it is free.

Do state parks have WiFi? I believe that most do. You will have to look online or call the place you are going to in order to find out. Now that WiFi is commonplace, most places should have it.

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