Camping in Iowa

“The Hawkeye State” boasts 83 state parks and recreation areas—camp in state parks, private campgrounds, or a covered wagon. Iowa’s landscape varies from rolling hills and valleys to wind-deposited bluffs, rugged forests, and glacial lakes. You’ll spot eagles, deer, and turkeys in these 364,200 hectares of parklands. Whether bird-watching, museum hopping, or stargazing, there’s lots for campers to see and do in Iowa.

Camping in Iowa - UI International Programs
Photo: UI International Programs
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Photo: tylersmiller_
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Photo: cwwycoff1
Camping in Iowa - Phil Roeder
Photo: Phil Roeder
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Photo: christinejwarner


Top-rated campgrounds in Iowa

Saylorville Lake

Saylorville Lake is a reservoir on the Des Moines River in Iowa, United States. It is located 11 miles (18 km) upstream from the city of Des Moines, and 214 miles (344 km) from the mouth of the Des Moines River at the Mississippi River. It was constructed as part of a flood control system for the Des Moines River as well as to aid in controlling flood crests on the Mississippi, of which the Des...

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Coralville Lake

Coralville Lake is an artificial lake in Johnson County, Iowa, United States, formed by the Coralville Dam, a dam built from 1949 to 1958 on the Iowa River upstream from the city of Coralville, Iowa.

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Lake Red Rock

Lake Red Rock, also referred to as Red Rock Reservoir is a reservoir formed by Red Rock Dam on the Des Moines River, about 41 miles (66 km) southeast of the city of Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. The dam was completed in 1969 as a Flood control project by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, creating the largest lake in Iowa. The lake is essentially confined to Marion County. The damface is a few...

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Ledges State Park

Ledges State Park is a state park in Boone County, Iowa, United States, located approximately four miles (6.4 km) south of the city of Boone. The park contains a sandstone gorge carved by Pea's Creek, a tributary of the Des Moines River. The gorge is 100 feet (30 m) deep in places, with concretions jutting from the cliffs.

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Maquoketa Caves State Park

Maquoketa Caves State Park is a state park of Iowa, United States, located in Jackson County. It stands northwest of the city of Maquoketa. In 1991 111 acres (45 ha) on the east side of the park were listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Rathbun Lake

Rathbun Lake was constructed and is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Located at Chariton River mile marker 142, approximately 7 miles (11 km) north of Centerville, Iowa, in Appanoose County, it is one of the largest lakes in Iowa. The lake was constructed to control flooding, provide recreation opportunities, abate stream pollution, fish and wildlife enhancement, and maintain minim...

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How to scan Iowa parks for cancellations

Is the Iowa park you want to camp at sold out? We can help! Campers often cancel their camping reservations. Campnab monitors Iowa parks and can text you when a suitable campsite one opens up! 🙂

Browse parks in Iowa

A map of campgrounds in Iowa


Campnab scans these Iowa parks for cancellations


Get notified when a sold-out campground has availability

Tell us when, where, and how long you want to camp for. We’ll notify you (via SMS) when a suitable spot opens up at that campground—so you can nab that sold-out campsite reservation!

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