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Camping in Iowa with campfires

Explore lakes, rivers, wide-open expanses, and hilly countryside in the heart of the American Midwest.

99% (2061 reviews)
99% (2061 reviews)

Popular camping styles for Iowa

Star Hosts in Iowa

Dog-friendly getaways

12 top campgrounds in Iowa with campfires

99%
(401)

Windy Goat Acres

6 sites · Lodging15 acres · Chelsea, IA
We love animals, plants, art, and outdoor recreation and love sharing these things with people! We found the perfect little plot for all of these things we love. Nature, art, animals, and lots of space! The hilly, lush land is also known as the Bohemie Alps and it's quite a beautiful area tucked away in Iowa.Visit with the llamas, goats, peacocks, potbelly pigs and the horses and hike around the property or stay in for a quiet stay with a good book and enjoy all the sights and sounds. Lots of extra 'add ons' to enhance the experience!Semi wooded property with hiking trails, hammocks, aerial silks, campfire pit. 5 mi away is Otter Creek Lake, a recreational park for fishing, kayaking, swimming, etc. We have 2 kayaks available. So much to do! Also perfect to just relax, meditate, yoga, sleep...
from 
$65
 / night
100%
(27)

#JTRidge Sites/Clothing Optional

10 sites · Tents15 acres · IA
Are you looking for the opportunity to be free and connect with nature naturally? A place to reconnect with your soul or reconnect with your significant other(s). Do you need to escape life for even just a little bit? A place to safely be your true self or selves. Our spaces are all about privacy and relaxing in nature peacefully. Perfect for first time clothing optional experiences. To test out your camping skills and or for those who just prefer a quiet natural low key space to relax. Are you a regular camper who is tired of the busy big campgrounds? Need a overnight camping spot that is more nature and less people? Looking for a place to relax in the sun naturally and just take some time for yourself or time with the special people in your life? Along with offering overnight camping sites, we offer day passes for those who just want some chill time within the day. A day pass gives you access to the property, relaxing chairs for that perfect moment in the sun and the woods to wander as you connect with nature. Perfect for a lunch break or just a step away from life for a few hours. Sneak away and take some moments to recharge yourself naturally. We hope you will find that this is a place for everything listed above and so much more. A space to enjoy some downtime, quiet at peace with nature, and a place for restorative just-for-me time. Perfect for yoga in the woods or a natural spot to meditate. Not a commercial campground, just a piece of personal property that we are looking to share with others who enjoy time in nature. We enjoy our natural privacy and welcome you to experience the same. We are stewards of the property and are charged with taking care of all that Mother Nature has given us. If you need space to think, read a book, or just be you, this could be the right fit. Very private and peaceful, perfect for those looking for some alone time or time with family/friends. Forget the news, forget work, forget city life, and just take in the moments; while listening to the birds sing, (Pull out your Merlin app) to see who's singing! Your hosts are here if you need us, but we leave you to enjoy this beautiful place at your own pace. We give you privacy to enjoy your stay fully. We have 15 acres of woods with a natural rock bluff, so many different spaces which allow you to fully bond with nature. Trails to wander and wildlife to see. Clothing is optional through out all the property; overnight camping and sunbathing/day pass spots are available. Day passes are the same as booking a sunbathing spot. Located on the Wapsipinicon River. Camp sites are very private and tucked away from life's stresses. Relax in the woods. Watch the cows and calves moo in the nearby pasture. Walk nature trails with native wildlife and flora. Great photo opportunities abound. Cast a line to catch dinner. Escape to nature is the key to this property; find yourself tucked away from city sounds and light pollution. Come out to see the sunset/sunrise, check out the stars, read a good book, lay out in your favorite hammock, find yourself, and be at peace. Great place for a nice camping fire; treat yourself to some smores. Peaceful sounds at night of the river flowing as you drift off to sleep in your tent. Perfect little spot for peaceful relaxation and just taking some time. Walk the trails in your natural skin, shoot photos of all the different plants, listen to the birds and animals scurry, enjoy the sunshine, and feel the warmth on all of your body. Perfect little spot to float down the river to your camping spot. There are lots of state parks within a short drive; visit the only Presidential library in Iowa; and tour some amazing caves in nearby parks. So much to do, and then come back to a space without crowds and just chill. Welcoming to all, we love to meet new people and let them share in the joy of bonding with nature freely.
from 
$20
 / night
97%
(198)

Nature Heaven

8 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents40 acres · Knoxville, IA
This seclude, beautiful pet friendly 40 acres of fenced camping site is on top of hilly land is rare in Iowa. It has close view of 3.5 private fishing ponds and far view of the Red Rock Lake. There are 10 acres nature timber area that keep you away from the other campers and rest of the world. Each site has a firepit, picnic table and a solar light . The drinking water is at the entrance, but no electricity on site. The RVs need to be self contained. There are tons of nature features, you may see deer, rabbits and other game birds by your campsite. The camping sites has good distances to keep privacy for each sites A recently built a 20ft diameter geodesic dome tent is for those who want more climate controlled stay while still enjoying the magnificent nature's gifts. for surrounding areas, the White breast beach is very close, a lot of water and hunting activities in the lake red rock year round. For our campers safety, any hunting activities are not allowed within our camping ground. However, in case you come for hunting with Iowa hunting tags, a couple of public deer hunting grounds are near our camping ground. The recently built glamping geodesic Dome tent is located on a top of hill. Our campers will have a fantastic sunset view of ponds and lake view while enjoy the great nature, and have a comfortable stay . And cell phone signals are good to use your hotspot remote working at this astonishing Lake Red Rock Oasis ^_^. Hope you will find joy, peace and happiness in this wonderful piece of natural land and the Red Rock lake areas. A little history of this land: This 40 acres of land was a surface mining site. The reclamation works done during the 1970s. But over the years, the soil was seriously eroded. Anna and Peilin, who have Masters and PhD in soil and environment health background, bought this land several years ago and started to restore the vegetation. Now the site looks beautiful and ready for nature lovers and campers to enjoy the fantastic view of the lake, ponds and tall grass... The site is totally different from what the Google map shows now.
from 
$25
 / night
99%
(664)

Horse Creek Adventures

26 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents170 acres · Sidney, IA
Horse Creek Adventures is a 170 acre ranch that provides an opportunity for visitors to stay one night or several days to enjoy the land and area sights. You have your choice as to how you want to stay. Our "off the grid" cabins offer a special opportunity to camp with a roof. The cabins are extremely popular! Check out the information about them and then check the photos posted by quests and read their reviews to give you lots of ideas of how you could enjoy these one of a kind sites. Tenting is available all over the 170 acres. You can tent by the pond; on top of the hill, or in a valley. These sites allow you to "get away from it all" and let the stress melt away. We have tenting sites close to a road to give you flexibility to see local attractions while enjoying the whole 170 acres. Lastly, we have RV hook-ups with 119, 30 amps and 50 amps The land is part of the famous Loess Hills. There are hilltops to take in the breath taking views and valleys surrounded by trees. A pond full of trophy sized bass , catch and release, no license required. Wildlife abounds including a wide variety of birds. We have been described by avid birders as a rich place for birding. The area is rich with history-Lewis and Clark; French Canadian trappers and their Lakota wives established French Villages; Mormons came through here on the way to Utah; Jesse James played cards. Waubonsie State Park is close with hiking trails and seven miles of Horse trails. At night you can use a portable corral to have your horse close. End the day around a campfire, look at the stars and the lightening bugs and be serenaded to sleep by the coyotes and whip-poor-wills Enjoy !!
from 
$30
 / night
97%
(89)

1860's Botanical Paradise

2 sites · Lodging, Tents2 acres · Bellevue, IA
Happy to announce we’ve won 2nd best property to visit in Iowa! We hope to keep striving and adding more amenities as we go! Thank you to our wonderful guests and hello to future guests! 👋🏽 Built in 1860 by its first caretaker botanist, this homestead was propagated over its many years of life and is busting at the seams with medicinal and edible herbs. We now run a flower farm and vegetable gardens on our homestead. If you’d like to learn about herbs or gardening/ homesteading, we love sharing our knowledge. If you’d just like some farm fresh eggs for breakfast and enjoy your time alone amongst the songbirds, that's just fine too :) The property is built into the stone hillside allowing for breathtaking views but also stairs to get to the campsites. Please wear comfortable shoes (not flip flops 😉). If you have mobility issues property access will be difficult. !CLASSES! We run our small school/business: HOMESTEAD and HAMMER from the property and are bringing classes to YOU in the 2022 Season! Look in the "EXTRAS" for classes you can partake in on your visit OR for more information on what's included on class weekends check out our website below! Classes include, forAging wild edibles, mushroom identification, homesteading skills, soap making, forging metals and many more! Website: www.homesteadandhammer.com *For guest and host safety property managed 24-7 by video and security services*
from 
$30
 / night
99%
(53)

Bend River Farms

5 sites · RVs, Tents50 acres · Runnells, IA
Bend River Farms is nestled in the gently rolling hills of central Iowa. Camp Creek flows through the property and continues on towards the mighty Des Moines river. Native prairie restoration, regenerative agriculture and sustainable ranching are the focus of owners, Amy Buckendahl and Dave Breese. Bend River Farms was a former junk yard that has now been transformed into a cottage core dream. Cool woodland meadows provide a comforting back drop to your tent site or your glamping experience. Private showers, complimentary firewood, a jungle gym, a communal outdoor dinning area and a saltwater hot tub await! Please understand that our property is a working farm. We are not a state park campground or "all inclusive" resort. Instead, we offer your wandering heart a place to rest. Bend River Farms is a place to enjoy wild spaces and recharge. Our farm is located just 13 miles off Interstate 80. Travel to the farm is on all paved roads, with no confusing dirt roads to navigate. The property is located near the small community of Runnells, Iowa in rural Camp Township. Enjoy a cold beer or food at one of the two local taverns, or check out the local ice cream shop or our Tuesday farmer's market during the summer. Don't worry if you forget something! We have a nearby gas station and a general store. We have farm fresh honey and eggs available for purchase, check the option during checkout! Amy, our own resident biologist, will give you an opportunity to learn about livestock husbandry and the local wildlife. The farms front orchard boasts several wild bird feeding stations, with edible landscaping! A stay on our farm will provide you with an opportunity to learn about Land Management in an agricultural setting. Or learn about carpentry and welding from a master fabricator. Come learn about gardening, poultry care, horsemanship, beekeeping and even falconry! Check the extra options available during checkout. Fancy a fireside meal or homestyle dinner? Dave is a trained chef and loves to cook for our guests. Select a meal during checkout. Off-site, but nearby opportunities: miles of scenic hiking and biking trails, kayaking and fishing. The Iowa State Fair Grounds and Adventureland Waterpark is only 20 minutes away, along with big city fine dining, music and art museums are all less than a thirty miles drive; when you need a break from camping and nature. Fee based Transportation is available for guests flying in or needing a break from driving, or whenever you need a quick trip into town. Our philosophy: "Here at Bend River Farms we are passionate about regenerative agriculture. We strive to push ourselves and our partners to think of the future and the longevity of our agricultural practices. " Regenerative Agriculture is an agricultural philosophy that both acknowledges the degenerative impact of poor land stewardship, and the positive use of agricultural practices that foster restoration and productivity." Local conditions determine which practices are most appropriate. A regeneratively managed food system should improve the long-term health and function of the agricultural ecosystem and the communities that depend upon them, physically, culturally, spiritually, and economically. Regeneratively managed businesses protect and improve the natural function of our water, nutrient, and carbon cycles by taking steps to increase biodiversity in the agricultural system, works to minimize reliance on external inputs, and avoid the use of synthetic chemicals whenever possible.”
from 
$18
 / night
98%
(563)

Draco Hill Nature Farm

3 sites · RVs, Tents75 acres · West Branch, IA
A convenient 7 miles north of Interstate 80 but feels like an oasis away from it all. Enjoy nature in a private, wooded river valley setting. Go to sleep under the stars to the sound of frogs, cicadas, deer and the rustling wind through the tallgrass prairie. Wake to an amazing sunrise over the river. Enjoy a hike through our 75 acres of rolling woodlands and prairie, picking berries, finding mushrooms, scaring up a turkey or pheasant in the brush or listening to the birds. (Pull out your Merlin app to see who's singing!) Play in the river or upland pond, cut cattails and prairie grasses for souvenirs and enjoy being unplugged for a while. Your hosts are here if you need us, but we leave you to enjoy this beautiful place at your own pace.
from 
$32
 / night
99%
(217)

Folk School Farm Stay

7 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents120 acres · Oxford, IA
Come enjoy the natural beauty of a working farm! In our transition to agroforestry, wetland restoration and perennial ag, you'll find some great spaces to walk your dog, let your children run and learn about ecological conservation. The farm is also home to a flower cutting garden, a food forest garden, and a folk school. Guests are welcome to cut flowers for a donation, and enjoy the sheep, chickens and resident cat. The setting is also great for taking in sunrises, sunsets and star gazing. Come explore the landscape, book a farm tour or enjoy some studio space at Land Alliance Folk School.
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$35
 / night
100%
(33)

Sleep in an Iowa Barn @ TLC

2 sites · Lodging, Tents28 acres · Zearing, IA
Threshold Learning Center is 28 acres of prairie, creek, woods, and our barn dormitory.  Threshold is first, an outdoor learning center for schools during the school year, and a summer camp offering several day camps, family camps, and trips.  As a non-profit, however, we are constantly trying to find a way to  offer our programs to everyone regardless of whether they are able to pay our fees while still making enough money to stay open.  We started renting TLC to the public 5 years ago for weddings, reunions, or just families who are looking to connect to the world around them.  Our motto is "No Child Left Inside" and we want every inner child to enjoy what we have at TLC.  We have 7 bedrooms in our dormitory, 5 camp sites, a large camp fire ring, a mini-golf course, and we are always willing to lead your group in an educational experience or take you on a hayrack ride.
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$15
 / night
100%
(131)

n*Everland Barnyard Camping

12 sites · RVs, Tents20 acres · Anamosa, IA
Learn more about this land: n*Everland Barnyard is an eccentric art installation space created from found, recycled, and repurposed building materials in the heart of Grant Wood Country in Jones County, Iowa. We are not a commercial campground. Firmly in the realm of Outsider Art, Gothic and rustic, Bob Kellogg has created a place unlike anywhere else in the world that represents freedom and inspires endless creativity. The land provides multiple camp sites for easy access to bike and walking trails taking visitors into town or through the Wapsipinicon State Park across the river from the property. Anamosa offers several restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses all within walking distance and less than a mile from our land. Kayak the Wapsi (we recommend a Matsell Bridge put in with a stop at the historic General Store Eatery in Stone City) and end only a mile away from your campsite at the Barnyard in Anamosa at the dam takeout. Visit the State Penitentiary Museum, hang out with the Barnyard chickens, hike our wooded trails, or simply unwind. This place is a magical retreat unlike anywhere else in the world. If you are seeking to disconnect from the world, find presence and live in the Now, this is the place for you.  There is a beautiful spring-fed water hole ideal for swimming in the state park, as well as access to the river from our property (although we do not recommend swimming in the river due to pollutants.)  Watching the sunset at the river is one of our absolutely favorite ways to end the day.  As of 2021, we have a newly constructed wood-fired pizza oven. Inquire upon booking about availability and pricing. You will not be disappointed, roasting any food and baking pizza in the outdoor oven is absolutely amazing!
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$55
 / night
97%
(431)

Come Enjoy the Beauty

61 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents30 acres · Earlham, IA
This property has a year round running creek called Bear Creek. They also mined the stone off the property for the State Capital in Des Moines, Iowa. Abundant wildlife and mature beautiful trees.
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$28
 / night
100%
(5)

Cedar Springs

1 site · Lodging10 acres · Decorah, IA
The property has been in my family for over 40 years and was originally settled in the mid 1800's. It is about 10 acres and is primarily wooded with Cedar, Oak, Maple, Hickory and Birch. The topography is diverse, having steep heights, easy flats and everything in between; which makes hiking fun and interesting. The lower College Drive side features a historic limestone homestead and quarry, also a fossil rich creek-bed and rustic (4WD) road to the top. The upper property (Hwy. 52 access) offers a secluded forest as well as a spacious meadow. The woods are filled with birds and many other indigenous wild animals. We are only a half mile from towns edge and two miles from its center (also a five minute drive from Luther College). The Decorah area is well known for its scenic natural beauty and has extensive hiking trails, biking trails, cross-country ski routes, rivers, creeks and hunting areas. People come here year round for our outdoor recreation and beauty. Canoeing, Kayaking, Fishing, Tubing, X-country skiing, and Trail Riding are very popular activities around here. Bring a side-by-side or ATV and have a blast both on the property and around the area. Decorah has several museums, a movie theater, 2 golf courses and bowling alley in addition to dozens of charming shops and several restaurants. You'll never get bored staying at Cedar Springs.
from 
$90
 / night

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Camping in Iowa with campfires guide

Overview

Sandwiched between the Mississippi, Missouri, and Big Sioux Rivers, Iowa is characterized by a mix of plains and hilly countryside, farmlands,  lakes, and rivers. This Midwestern state is full of spots to get out and adventure, with about 83 state parks and nearly 6,000 campsites spread among them. The state also has an extensive river system—with numerous lakes and reservoirs—and boating and angling are among the most popular summer activities here. Like elsewhere in the Midwest, the winter months often bring with them plenty of snow, ideal for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Where to go

Northwest Iowa

Northwest Iowa has lots of parks and camping opportunities along the Des Moines River, including the massive Brushy Creek State Recreation Area and Dolliver Memorial State Park. The Lakes Region—home to West and East Okoboji Lakes and Big Spirit Lake—is particularly popular among boaters, anglers, and birders, with a number of state parks and wildlife preserves across the region. Camping is available at Gull Point State Park.

Southwest Iowa

Southwest Iowa is characterized by wide-open farmland and pretty woodlands. Cyclists can take a tour of this region on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, which stretches for 63 miles from the Missouri border up to Council Bluffs near the Nebraska border. The region's Loess Hills State Forest is one of the more popular areas for outdoor recreation, offering a fishing lake and more than 60 miles of trails.

Northeast Iowa

Iowa's Northeast is ideal for getting outside, with miles of recreation opportunities, from trout fishing to canoeing, on the Mississippi River and its Upper Iowa River tributary. Popular spots in the region include Backbone State Park, which offers camping, fishing, and cycling and hiking trails. The Effigy Mounds National Monument, which preserves hundreds of ancient effigy mounds built by Indigenous people during the first millennium, is also worth a visit.

Southeast Iowa

There's no shortage of lakes in Iowa's southeastern region, including Lake Keomah, Indian Lake, and Lake Bonnefield,  in the charming town of Fairfield. This region is home to Lake Red Rock—the largest lake in the state—and the lakefront Elk Rock State Park offers camping, boat ramps, and 13 miles of trails. Other lake areas worth checking out include Geode State Park on the banks of Lake Geode and Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, which has camping, cabin rentals, and easy access to Lake Seguma.

Top cities in and near Iowa

States near Iowa

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