Jester Park offers some of the best camping in Central Iowa! And it’s only 30 minutes north of Des Moines on the west shore of Saylorville Lake.
Woodlands surround the campgrounds and cabins, and some have lake views! Camping at Jester Park is popular among locals and visitors alike—for good reason. It offers a peaceful escape to nature with many things to do in and around the park! The Nature Center, hiking trails, golf courses, and elk and bison herds are just a few of the unique features.
Whether you’re there for the weekend or a couple of weeks, you won’t be disappointed. The good news is the park has over 140 campsites and four modern cabins!
Jester Park Campgrounds
Jester Park has five campgrounds, including 80 electric sites and 62 non-electric sites. Also, primitive, equestrian, and youth group sites are available.
Two modern restrooms with showers are open from mid-April through mid-October. Both are near Campgrounds #1 and #2. A dump station is near the south entrance to the park.
Some campsites are reservable, but most are first-come, first-serve (see Reservations section below).
Campground #1 is the biggest campground with 52 electric sites. All campsites are gravel, back-in sites that back the woods. Fourteen campsites in this area are reservable, and the rest are first-come, first-serve. Sites #128-152 are along a slight hill leading to Campground #2. Modern restrooms with showers are near the entrance.
Campground #2 has 28 electric sites and 17 non-electric tent sites. The electric campsites are gravel, back-in sites. Some are right on the shore of Saylorville Lake! Tent sites are in a grassy area. All sites in this campground are first-come, first-serve. A pit latrine is on the north end of the campground. Modern restrooms with showers are near the playground, west of the campground.
Campground #3 has seven non-electric tent sites in a grassy area. The sites have excellent views of Saylorville Lake and are near the Jester Park Lodge. A modern restroom/shower house is north of the campground, near the playground. And a pit latrine is in Campground #2.
Campground #4 has 38 non-electric tent sites in a grassy wooded area. Nine of the sites are reservable. A pit latrine and hydrant are in the campground. Find the nearest modern restroom/shower house in Campground #1 (accessible via trail).
Campground #5 is the youth group camping area. Here, there are two group camping areas, each with a flag pole and fire pit. The area has a pit latrine. Both group sites are available by reservation. See map here.
For equestrian camping, contact the stables for more information.
Jester Park Cabins
Four modern cabins are in a beautiful green space nestled in the trees. Decks back to the woods, and front porches offer views of Discovery Pond. And they’re within walking distance of the Nature Center, bird blind, and elk and bison herds.
Each furnished cabin is a two-story walkout, with a modern kitchen that sleeps 6-8 people. They each have a gas fireplace, two bathrooms, showers, and a charcoal grill. A communal fire pit is for all cabin users. Check out the cabin slideshow for pictures of the cabins.
Prices right now are around $115 – $150/night, including tax. Reservations are available year-round.
There are 14 electric and nine non-electric reservable campsites at Jester Park. All others are first-come, first-serve.
To reserve a campsite, visit the My County Parks website.
For the non-reservable sites, set up on your campsite before registering. Find the registration booth at the entrance to Campground #1. (You must have a tent or camper set up to register.)
Other campground details
Jester Park campgrounds are open April 1-November 30. But walk-in tent camping is allowed year-round. Shower houses are open from mid-April through mid-October.
Registration and firewood are at the entrance to Campground #1.
Go camping at Jester Park Today!
Jester Park is at 12130 NW 128th St, Granger, Iowa 50109.
From I-35/I-80, take the exit for IA-141 W/SE Grimes Blvd and head north on Highway 141 for about 7 miles. Turn right onto NW 121st Street. At the T intersection at NW 118th Avenue, you can turn either right or left to get to an entrance to the park.
For more information…
- For more on Jester Park, go to the Jester Park website, or call 515-323-5338.
- If you’re looking for educational programming and resources, check here.
- For more on equipment rentals and the Outdoor Recreation and Wellness Center, go here.
- Go to MyCountyParks to reserve campsites, cabins, and shelters.
- For more on the equestrian center, see their website.