Iowa

State Park Campground Guide

← Previous state | Next state →

Iowa is home to some stunningly beautiful protected lands, from dense forests, dramatic cliffs, caves, and clear lakes to the mighty Mississippi River, and it has plenty of camping and outdoor recreation opportunities for the whole family to enjoy. Fishing, hiking, mountain and road biking, kayaking, and rock climbing are all popular activities here.

Iowa state parks offer a great value to RVers. Well-maintained campgrounds, standard amenities, and big rig friendly sites with electric hookups are available for $20 during peak season. With a few exceptions, there are no entrance fees at Iowa state parks. RV camping is available at 50 sites and dozens more dedicated historical, recreational, and protected areas in the state park system, making Iowa an ideal stop on a cross-country route.

Pikes Peak State Park

Reservations

To make a reservation, visit iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com or call 877-427-2757. 

Reservations are required and can be made from 3 months up to 2 days in advance of arrival. Due to unpredictable weather, all campsites are first come, first served between November 1 and March 31.

Two nights are required over weekends, 3 nights over holidays during peak season.

Campsite sizes

All campgrounds have sites that accommodate RVs up to 35 feet, and most fit rigs over 40 feet. Search by RV length on the reservations website.

Accessibility

ADA-accessible campsites are available for reservations on the website or over the phone.

Hookups

Partial and full hookups are available. Most campgrounds have electric hookups and many have water and/or sewer, although the number of sites with all three is limited. Campsites with hookups are searchable through the reservation system.

Connectivity

WiFi is generally not available in Iowa state parks. If connectivity is a priority, contact the park for more information about WiFi coverage and cell service.

Maximum stay

The maximum stay is 14 days. Campers must vacate for at least 3 days before returning to the same park. 

Additional facilities

Park facilities range from restrooms and a dump station to playgrounds, visitor centers, concessions, and outdoor activities such as marked hiking trails and swimming beaches. Facilities are listed under each campground website and in the reservation system.

“Modern” campgrounds include heated shower buildings and flush toilets. “Nonmodern” campgrounds have vault toilets, and may not have potable water available.

Cost

Campsite fees range from $6 per night for a site with no hookups in a nonmodern campground during the offseason to $16 per night for a site with electricity in a modern campground in peak season. 

Water and sewer hookups are an additional $3. Peak season dates are May 1 through September 30.

Additional Fees:

Nonrefundable reservation fee: $4 if booked online, $6 if booked through the call center.

Nonrefundable change fee: $5. Changes can be made only through the call center.

Cancellation fee: $5 if canceled online, $7 if canceled through the call center.

Cancellations one day prior to arrival also forfeit the first night’s fee. Cancellations on the day of arrival incur two nights’ fee. 

Pet policies

Pets are allowed as long as they’re kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Of course, campers should always pick up after their pet.

Additional regulations

  • Maximum occupancy per site: 6 people and 1 or 2 vehicles. 
  • Check-in time: 4 p.m. Check-out time: 3 p.m.
  • Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Alcoholic beverages: Beer and wine permitted, hard liquor and kegs are prohibited.
  • Generator use: Permitted except during quiet hours.
  • Campfires: Allowed in designated rings or pits, following local advisories.
  • Drone use: Regulations vary; check with the specific park.
Backbone State Park

Featured Campgrounds

Pikes Peak State Park

32264 Pikes Peak Road, McGregor, IA 52157

Located on a national scenic byway, Pikes Peak State Park is one of Iowa’s top outdoor destinations. Miles of forested hiking trails, a waterfall, and scenic bluffs and valleys all enhance the park’s highlight: the magnificent views over the Mississippi River at the confluence of the Wisconsin River. The campground has almost 70 sites, most with electric hookups. Restrooms, a dump station, a playground, and a visitor center are available. Pikes Peak was established as a state park in 1936, and its campsites are a mix of sizes and spacing from one another. Check the reservation system map for maximum RV length and accessibility. With good cell service and convenient access to stores, Pikes Peak is a great base to explore this scenic area, including charming river towns and Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Backbone State Park

1347 129th Street, Dundee, IA 52038

Iowa’s oldest state park is an ideal summer camping experience with more than 20 miles of scenic hiking trails, streams for fishing, and a lake for swimming and boating. Established in 1920, Backbone State Park is named after a strikingly steep, narrow ridge of bedrock carved by the Maquoketa River. Hiking and water activities, rock climbing, rappelling, and cave exploring opportunities are available for the adventurous visitor. The park includes a beach, lodge, playground, market, dump station, restrooms, and a Civilian Conservation Corps museum. More than 100 campsites, half with electricity, can accommodate big rigs. Note that the campground is operated seasonally and open only from May through September.

Maquoketa State Park

9688 Caves Road, Maquoketa, IA 52060

There are a variety of landscapes to see in Iowa, and one of the most surprising is Maquoketa State Park. The drive up to the entrance passes flat cornfields, but once inside, park visitors are transported to another world of dense forest, bright green moss and ferns, and rocky streams. Rock formations and dramatic bluffs reveal the park’s highlight: a series of caves connected by trails, walkways, and stairways. For an overnight stay, 30 campsites are nestled in the forest. Most can fit RVs up to 40 feet, and a few sites accommodate bigger rigs. All have electric hookups. Park facilities include a restroom, dump station, playground, museum, visitor center, and showers. Check the park website for notifications on cave closures. Even if the caves are closed, the park is still well worth a visit to explore the family-friendly trails through this unique landscape.

Iowa state park campgrounds that accommodate RV camping

Backbone State Park

Beeds Lake State Park

Bellevue State Park

Black Hawk State Park

Brushy Creek State Recreation Area

Clear Lake State Park

Dolliver Memorial State Park

Elinor Bedell State Park

Elk Rock State Park

Emerson Bay State Recreation Area

Fairport State Recreation Area

George Wyth State Park

Green Valley State Park

Gull Point State Park

Honey Creek State Park

Lacey Keosauqua State Park

Lake Ahquabi State Park

Lake Anita State Park

Lake Darling State Park

Lake Keomah State Park

Lake Macbride State Park

Lake of Three Fires State Park

Lake Wapello State Park

Ledges State Park

Lewis and Clark State Park

Maquoketa Caves State Park

Marble Beach State Recreation Area

McIntosh Woods State Park

Nine Eagles State Park

Palisades-Kepler State Park

Pikes Peak State Park

Pilot Knob State Park

Pine Lake State Park

Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area

Prairie Rose State Park

Red Haw State Park

Rock Creek State Park

Shimek Forest Campground

Springbrook State Park

Stephens Forest Campground

Stone State Park

Union Grove State Park

Viking Lake State Park

Volga River State Recreation Area

Walnut Woods State Park

Wapsipinicon State Park

Waubonsie State Park

Wildcat Den State Park

Wilson Island State Recreation Area

Yellow River State ForestFor more information on Iowa state park campgrounds, visit iowadnr.gov/Things-to-Do/Camping.

Keep Up with the Pack

Sign up for emails from Togo RV