High Trestle Bike Trail

Trip Planning

Make The Most Out of Your RV Experience in Iowa

For RVers looking for a midwestern getaway, Iowa is full of beautiful camp sites, national parks, and stunning natural landscapes. Here are some great locations to visit and things to do while exploring Iowa.

My husband and I have always loved to travel in our RV throughout the United States. We live in Iowa and have found our home state to be one of the best places to camp. One of our favorite places to camp is Ledges State Park near Boone, Iowa. This beautiful state park is approximately an hour from the Des Moines Area and 2 ½ hours from Omaha, Nebraska.

As with many campgrounds over the years, many things stay the same and some things change. The one thing that has remained are the beautiful, natural settings of the campsite. When you choose your campsite at Ledges State Park, you will find shade and an opportunity to connect with nature. Many of the campsites back right up to one of the ledges which offer a steep drop off with a majestic view. During spring and summer, the lush green shines through, and if you visit during the fall, an overabundance of red, orange, and yellow colors each leaf. 

One of the things that we really enjoy is hiking. Before you pack up to head out, make sure you have a great pair of binoculars, bug spray, hiking shoes, sunscreen, and comfortable clothing for hiking. Tip: If you enjoy hiking, keep these items in your RV throughout camping season.  With more than four miles of hiking trails that will take you to the views of Pea’s Creek Canyon, your hiking legs will get a workout with some steeper trails to challenge you.

Another favorite activity of ours is biking. Within the last year we invested in electric bikes. Iowa’s well known High Trestle Trail is a short 10-minute drive from the Ledges State Park Campground. You can charge your bike up at your electric campsite or charge it up before you leave home.  Ledges State Park Campground also offers several paved and gravel roads that you can ride on throughout the campground and the state park.

Once the sun goes down, roast marshmallows over the campfire and break out the graham crackers and chocolate for a delicious s’more. Look to the skies. This is an opportunity to do some stargazing.  You might see the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, and even the Milky Way. Ledges State Park in Central Iowa is a great place to stargaze and experience those dark skies.

I always recommend that you reserve a campsite in any of Iowa’s state parks before you leave home, as they do fill quickly. TIP - camping Sunday- Thursday nights will give you a better chance at finding a campsite with the views and amenities that you prefer.

Travel 90 minutes north from Ledges State Park on I-35 and you will find yourself in Clear Lake, Iowa. Clear Lake State Park is one of Iowa’s most popular campgrounds. With more than 150 electric, level campsites, you will find the ideal place to park your RV before you sink your toes into the sand at the beach. Clear Lake State Park provides a beach that families will enjoy, and incredible sunset views. The beach area is a short five-minute walk from your campsite. TIP - Stop at the shower house after visiting the beach. This ensures that you don’t end up with a load of sand inside your RV.

I’d highly recommend a family camping trip over the 4th of July holiday. The best tip I can give you is to reserve your preferred campsite as soon as possible, as campsites fill quickly. The town of Clear Lake offers one of the best Independence Day Celebrations in the country. From a parade, music in the park, corn dogs, and fireworks over the lake, your holiday will be a smashing success. It is possible to view the fireworks from the Clear Lake State Park beach area, but they are off in the distance.

You can easily spend one full week in each of these state park campgrounds, exploring, hiking, swimming or just relaxing.   

Sara Broers

Travel Blogger

Sara Broers is a travel enthusiast living in northern Iowa. She is the CEO of Travel With Sara and the co-owner of the Midwest Travel Network. Sara is also a proud wife and mother of two grown sons. She and her husband live on their family farm and enjoy taking their RV on adventures whenever they can.