RV Travel with Kids

Iowa State Parks

and Iowa National Parks

This Iowa State Parks and Iowa National Parks list will help you decide which of these locations will be right for your ultimate family vacation adventure. Come see what the Hawkeye State has to offer!

There is a lot more to explore in Iowa than cornfields. Take a trip through the many state parks and a nice selection of Iowa national parks.

This is the perfect opportunity to get away from the crowds of popular vacation destinations and just enjoy some time with your family. You may even find some valuable learning experiences for your children in these Iowa state parks and Iowa national parks.

Iowa State Parks

Clear Lake State Park
You can access this relaxing Iowa state park from Clear Lake or Mason City. This is a very popular camping destination because it places you in a beautiful wooded setting with access to a large lake with sandy shores.

You can go swimming, fishing, or head out by boat. You will have access to facilities and shelters for eating out in the fresh air. Reservations are taken online if you want to make sure there is a campsite available when you roll in.

Clear Lake State Park

Emerson Bay State Park
If your wanting a ultimate family vacation adventure this is one of many Iowa state parks located around the Iowa Great Lakes. Most visitors stop here to visit the sandy beaches or head out on the lakes by boat. Fishing is also a popular pastime for the park.

Emerson Bay State Park

Dolliver Memorial State Park
iowa-state-parks-01; picnic area with camp sign You enter this park from southbound highway D33.

This is an idyllic park with lots of trees, picnic areas, and spots for boating and playing in the water.

There is also a playground if you are traveling with children.

If you are looking for a pleasant park that allows camping, this is a great place to find.

Dolliver Memorial State Park

Wildcat Den State Park
The campgrounds at this state park have electrical hook ups and beautiful scenery looking out to the Des Moines River. You can hit the trails for some exercise or get on the water for fishing and boating. Make sure the check-out Boneyard Hollow before you head back out on the road.

Wildcat Den State Park

Fort Defiance State Park
If you don't mind really roughing it, this is a completely natural state park that has 13 campsites. You won't find electrical hook ups or any other camping amenities here, so be prepared to roll into your spot and become one with nature in the purest sense. This park lies just a mile outside of Estherville and offers a variety of trails for exploration.

Fort Defiance State Park

George Wyth Memorial State Park
If you're interested in visiting a larger state park with lots of camping sites and activities open all year round, you can get to George Wyth Memorial from Cedar Falls or Waterloo. There are lots of camping sites here along with amenities like camper dump sites.

You can walk or bike through extensive wooded trails or get out on the water for fishing and even power boating adventures.

George Wyth Memorial State Park

Gull Point
If you're heading down Cascade Lake Highway, there is a very popular camping site at Gull Point state park. You will find every amenity you need at this location and your family will have access to a variety of outdoor activities in the woods and on the water.

Gull Point

Honey Creek
This is one of the best Iowa state parks for camping. There are more than 100 campsites so there is plenty of room for everyone and you have ever convenience from electricity supply to dumping station.

Hiking, boating, and fishing are the primary recreation activities enjoyed in the park. You can access the park from the cities of Iconium and Moravia.

Honey Creek

Lacey Keosauqua State Park
If you're looking for something historical and bit unusual, check out the mounds at one of the most beautiful of all Iowa state parks and Iowa national parks. There are 19 mounds in the park and they were all designed by Indians for burial purposes.

This is a great place to stop for the night or a few days. Some campsites have electrical hook up but you will have access to bathrooms.

Lacey Keosauqua State Park

Lake Darling State Park
Just outside of Brighton and Richland, this is one of the smaller Iowa state parks open for camping. It has a small beach area and a playground to amuse the children and a picnic shelter is available if needed.

Lake Darling State Park

Lake of Three Fires State Park
If your wanting the ultimate family vacation adventure this is definitely one of the largest Iowa national parks or state parks, but is definitely one of the most popular. The lake is surrounded by woods and you can easily find hundreds of people scattered throughout the park on a pretty day. Hiking, and fishing are two of the most popular activities here, but it's a great place to stop for a leg stretch and outdoor picnic as well.

Lake of Three Fires State Park

Lewis and Clark State Park
There are 100 camp spots here with electrical hook up but only 12 that have full hook ups available. This is a great place to spend some time if your family is learning about American history, but you can also just stop to enjoy a bit of outdoor recreation.

Lewis and Clark State Park

Maquoketa Caves
This is a smaller state park that is accessed from the town of Maquoketa. The main attraction here was once the caves, but they are no longer open to the public. All that remains is about 6 miles of hiking trails and a small number of camping sites.

This may be the perfect place to stop if you don't like camping with the crowds at more popular state parks.

Maquoketa Caves

McIntosh Woods State Park
Clear Lake and Ventura will give you access to this park. You can find some campsites here and some have electricity, but you won't find a lot of hiking trails here.

The main feature of the park is the lake where you can hit the water for boating adventures. This is a busy access point to the lake for boaters.

McIntosh Woods State Park

Nine Eagles State Park
You can reach this state park through Lamoni, Davis City, Leon, or Pleasanton. This is primarily a place to stop and camp for a while. You can get out for fishing trips to the lake or enjoy the walking trail through the woods. This is a more basic, lower traffic park where you can relax, unwind, and enjoy time with the family.

Nine Eagles State Park

Springbook State Park
This is a great park to visit if you are looking for a place to spend a longer period of time. You can find laundromats and other amenities in nearby Guthrie Center and there are tons of activities to do in the park from swimming and fishing to hiking the trails. Make sure to visit the Springbrook Conservation Education Center while you're there.

Springbook State Park

Viking Lake
You can access this very popular state park through Stanton, Iowa. Campers and RVs love this park for its beautiful camping grounds and outdoor activities. You can go hiking, take a dip in the water, or spend some time fishing.

Viking Lake


Iowa National Parks

Effigy Mounds National Monument
When you walk into this state park you are walking into sacred land. The Indian tribes of the area greatly value every single one of the 200+ mounds that have been created over time by their ancestors. If you're following the Mississippi River on the Great River Road you will naturally come along this national monument.

Effigy Mounds National Monument

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site
This is one of the best Iowa national parks if you are interested in learning about American history. In this historic park you can learn about the humble beginnings of a great American president. Explore the presidential library and museum or browse the historic site to see how Hoover began his life in this small town.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

Lewis and Clark National Trail
iowa-state-parks-02; lewis and clark center This historic trail goes through 11 different states.

Every state has something special to offer explorers whether they are following the trail for an educational journey or just stopping in at one state or another.

The best place to visit in Iowa is the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.

It is like a huge museum dedicated to the history of the trail.

Lewis and Clark National Trail

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
You don't have to be Mormon to appreciate the history of this historic trail. This is one of the few Iowa state parks or Iowa national parks that will teach your children about religious tolerance and persecution.

There are different stopping points along the trail so you can determine the best points that fit with your other planned other planned visits to Iowa state parks and national parks.

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area
Few Iowa state parks or national parks will teach your children about the values of agricultural communities and the life of real farmers. In fact, it is becoming more and more difficult to find legitimate farming communities in this country.

Thankfully you can still visit this way of life in Northeast Iowa. This park will allow your family to explore museums, farming sites, agricultural tours, and a variety of other farm related activities.

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area
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Related Pages

  • Fun Facts About Iowa
  • Top 10 Iowa Tourist Attractions
  • Tell Us Your Favorite Iowa Family Vacations
  • Treasure Hunting in Iowa
  • State and National Parks in Iowa
  • Iowa Travel Books
  • Iowa Campground Reviews
  • Iowa as an RV Domicile

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