Honey Creek Resort is a unique 850-acre nature resort on the shores of Rathbun Lake in southern Iowa. With so many fun things to do on and off the water, it’s sure to top your list of best Iowa getaways!
So, whether you want to boat, swim, fish, play, golf, or relax, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. Best of all, overnight accommodations provide a cozy retreat after a day of fun.
Table of Contents
- Things To Do at Honey Creek Resort
- Honey Creek Resort Map
- Stay at Honey Creek Resort
- Things to do nearby
- Visit Honey Creek Resort Today!
A Brief History of Honey Creek Resort
The resort opened in 2008 and was a first for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. And it was the first project of its kind funded by the state, though there were high hopes for the new venture.
A third-party company currently manages the resort for the state. But, a pandemic-induced drop in revenue means the resort is operating in the red. While the resort’s future is uncertain, it remains open for the foreseeable future.
Things To Do at Honey Creek Resort
Swim at the Indoor Water Park & Outdoor Aqua Park
Buccaneer Bay Indoor Water Park is an excellent place for the entire family to splash, slide, and swim! A two-story slide, lazy river, hot tub, and fun water features make it a great place to spend the day.
Also, don’t miss the Outdoor Aqua Park, which is open seasonally! It’s a 3900-square-foot inflatable area on the lake, with slides, climbing, and a water trampoline. For guests over 40 lbs with a life jacket.
Go boating (+rentals!)
There’s no better way to experience Iowa’s ocean than by boat! So whether you want to ski, fish, or relax and explore the beautiful lake, this is the place.
As a resort guest, you can dock your boat at Honey Creek Resort Marina. Don’t own a boat? No problem. The resort has pontoon boat rentals!
Paddle the lake
Paddle around the lake shores near the resort, or explore one of two water trails on the lake! Resort guests get free kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals.
The North Shore Water Trail is nearest to the resort. It extends 5.3 miles from Honey Creek State Park to the Rathbun Marina. And for the more adventurous, primitive paddle-in tent sites are at Paddler’s Pines Camp.
The South Shore Water Trail is across the lake. It’s a 14.5-mile trail with several entry points and a wilderness trail section. It’s less affected by wind and waves and rated for beginners.
For more on the water trails, see the Rathbun Water Trail map.
Relax on the Honey Creek Resort beach
The beach is the ideal spot to kick back, relax, and take in panoramic views of Rathbun Lake! And, in the summer, make sure you check out the Outdoor Aqua Park or play a game of beach volleyball! You can find the beach on the south side of the lodge.
Play a round (or two!) of golf
The Preserve on Rathbun Lake is a scenic 18-hole golf course surrounded by nature. As one of Iowa’s top golf courses, The Preserve is suitable for all levels of golfers, and carts have GPS. Plus, resort golf packages are available!
Just imagine catching the big one at Rathbun Lake! Popular fish species at the lake include Walleye, Black Crappie, Catfish, Largemouth Bass, White Bass, and Wiper. See the Iowa DNR Rathbun Reservoir page for fishing reports and regulations.
The good news is that guests of the resort can check out fishing equipment for free (fishing licenses are available at the gift shop).
Hit the trail(s)
Hike through the woods and prairie on the Savanna Ridge Interpretive Trail while you learn about southern Iowa habitats!
If you want more distance, the North Shore Trail is what you’re looking for. This 8-mile limestone trail starts near the resort and extends to Prairie Ridge Park.
Eat at Rathbun Lakeshore Grille
The resort restaurant is a delicious way to start or end your fun-filled day. Yet, the Lakeshore Grille has limited breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours, so it’s best to plan ahead. See the menus here!
Play at the playground
A playground is on the north end of the resort, off Resort Drive and across from the Golf Clubhouse.
Take in a nature program
Guided and self-guided activities and programming are offered at the resort. Take a group hike, learn about wildlife, listen to stories, play games, and make nature-themed crafts! Find out more about programming and activities at the lodge.
Ride a bike
Bike around the resort! Or mountain bike the North Shore Trail, an 8-mile limestone trail starting near the resort and extending to Prairie Ridge Park.
Best of all? Guests can check out a bike for free! Kids and adult bicycles are available.
Host an event
Honey Creek Resort is a terrific place for a wedding or conference! There’s nearly 9000 square feet of indoor event space and options for an outdoor venue.
Honey Creek Resort Map
Stay at Honey Creek Resort
Honey Creek Resort RV campground
The RV campground gives you the option to go camping and enjoy the resort amenities (additional resort fees apply). And it’s easy camping there with its level campsites, concrete pads, and full hookups. Several sites are also pull-through. See the resort website for reservations.
The Cottages at Rathbun Lake
The Cottages are great for a family getaway, couples retreat, or family reunion! The twenty-eight luxury cottages have modern amenities, like a full kitchen, modern bathroom, TV, and Wifi. Plus, you’ll love the fireplace and the scenic views from the deck. See the resort website for details and reservations.
The Lodge at Rathbun Lake
You can’t miss the 60-foot tall fireplace and beautiful mural when you enter the lobby at Honey Creek Lodge. The lodge offers 105 large rooms with scenic views, a TV, and Wifi. And you’re sure to sleep like a baby in the cozy beds after a day of resort fun.
Things to do nearby
Honey Creek State Park is just southwest of the resort but an eight-mile drive. So go camping, rent a camping cabin, hike the trails, boat, fish, and more!
Rathbun OHV Park is 11 miles from the resort. It’s a 125-acre park with dirt and gravel trails for UTVs and ATVs. Cruise through the woods, catch a lake view, and climb challenging hills at a former rock quarry! See the Iowa DNR website for more.
Rathbun Lake Marina is 9 miles away on the lake’s east side. It’s a full-service marina with fuel, slips, pontoon boat rentals, a ship store, a cafe, etc.
The US Army Corps of Engineers has two public swimming beaches on the shores of the lake. Find them at Buck Creek Park and Island View Park. Day-use fees apply.
Sharon Bluffs State Park is just a few minutes away and east of Centerville. Go there to explore the nature center (with wildlife enclosures), hike the trails, and go camping here.
The town of Centerville is a great stop for camping, fishing, and boating supplies. Also, you can ride a historic trolley, tour a coal mining museum, and find dining options.
Lelah Bradley Park & Reserve is a 165-acre park in Centerville. It has 10 miles of trails, plus scenic fishing and picnic spots!
Red Haw State Park is a 30-minute drive northwest of the park, near Chariton. This beautiful park is especially popular in the spring when visitors can see Redbud trees blooming around the lake. Red Haw is a terrific spot to hike, fish, boat, or camp!
Visit Honey Creek Resort Today!
Find Honey Creek Resort at 12633 Resort Dr, Moravia, IA 52571.