Waterside camping in Iowa

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

98% (1393 reviews)
98% (1393 reviews)

Popular camping styles for Iowa

Top waterside campgrounds in iowa


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 and 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. Each camping sites have good distances to keep privacy from each other. 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 close by White Breast Beach is open from May 23-September 3, 2024, boating, hunting and hiking activities in the lake red rock year around. 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. You will have a fantastic sunset view of ponds and lake view while enjoy the great nature, and have a comfortable stay . The cell phone signals are good, you may use your cell phone hotspot work remotely 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 Master's 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.
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Waterside camping in Iowa guide


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 regions in and near Iowa

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