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Iowa State Parks are an opportunity to experience beautiful outdoor spaces throughout Iowa! You’ll love the scenic landscapes and fun adventures—from caves and bluffs to prairies, rivers, and lakes.
Visit an Iowa State Park (or visit them all!)
Unique scenery and enjoyable adventures await. Explore the caves at Maquoketa Caves, savor the views at Pikes Peak, windsurf at Clear Lake, and more!
The good news is there are over 60 state parks, forests, and recreation areas. And there’s probably one near you! So whether you’re looking for a day trip, weekend getaway, or a more extended road trip, plan a visit to Iowa State Parks.
Read on for more information on Iowa’s State Parks, and be sure to check out our map. And if it’s on your bucket list to see all the Iowa State Parks, use our free printable as your guide.
Most Iowa State Parks are open year-round. Hours are from 4:00 am to 10:30 pm for visitors.
Most Iowa State Parks are FREE!* (For those staying overnight, camping or cabin fees apply.)
*Lake Manawa and Waubonsie State Parks have an entrance fee for non-residents.
Camping and Cabin reservations
Overnight stays at Iowa State Parks are an excellent way to experience everything at each park. Plus, campgrounds and cabins make a fun and affordable getaway.
Iowa State Parks and Recreation Areas have over 4000 campsites! There are options for every camper, from full hookups to primitive hike-in tent sites. (Also, there are equestrian, group, and youth campsites available.)
There are close to 100 cabins for rent in state parks across Iowa! From yurts to modern cabins, the options are as varied as the parks themselves. And some of them are open year-round.
Many state park campsites and cabins are reservable through Reserve America. The window for reserving campsites is three months to two days in advance.
Day use lodges & shelters
Consider renting a day-use area at a beautiful state park if you’re planning a party or gathering! There are over 30 state park lodges, and some are CCC-era stone lodges! Plus, over 60 open-air picnic shelters can accommodate a crowd. Most of the shelters and lodges are reservable through Reserve America.
Programming & Events
Iowa State Parks offer visitors a wide range of programming, like kayaking, hikes, education, and volunteer programs. Some examples include night hikes, sunset paddles, and wildlife programs.
Iowa State Park trails are great for a relaxing stroll through the woods or a challenging hiking (or biking) adventure. The best way to find information on the trails in each park is through each park’s brochure and trail map. First, go to the Iowa DNR website to see a list of parks, then click on the park you plan to visit. There you’ll find the park brochure and maps.
Are you near the Des Moines area? Check out hiking and biking trails in Central Iowa.
Many Iowa State Parks have opportunities for fishing, swimming, boating, and paddling! The parks with beaches have designated swimming areas. For more, see the individual parks’ information.
State Parks Map
List of Iowa State Parks & Recreation Areas
- Ambrose A Call State Park
- Backbone State Park
- Badger Creek State Recreation Area
- Banner Lakes at Summerset Park
- Beeds Lake State Park
- Bellevue State Park
- Big Creek State Park
- Blackburn State Park
- Black Hawk State Park
- Brushy Creek State Recreation Area
- Cedar Rock State Park
- 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
- Fort Atkinson State Park
- Fort Defiance State Park
- Geode State Park
- 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 Manawa State Park
- Lake Wapello State Park
- Lake of Three Fires State Park
- Ledges State Park
- Lewis And Clark State Park
- Lower Gar State Recreation Area
- Loess Hills State Forest
- Maquoketa Caves State Park
- Marble Beach State Recreation Area
- McIntosh Woods State Park
- Mines of Spain State Recreation Area
- Mini-Wakan State Park
- Nine Eagles State Park
- Okamanpedan State Park
- Palisades-Kepler State Park
- Pikes Peak State Park
- Pikes Point State Park
- Pilot Knob State Park
- Pine Lake State Park
- Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area
- Prairie Rose State Park
- Preparation Canyon State Park
- Red Haw State Park
- Rice Lake State Park
- Rock Creek State Park
- Shimek State Forest
- Springbrook State Park
- Stephens State Forest
- Stone State Park
- Templar State Recreation Area
- Trappers Bay State Park
- Twin Lakes 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 Park
- Yellow River State Forest
Visit all the parks! Free printable!
Get your Iowa State Park Passport
Travel Iowa has a fun passport program for Iowa State Parks! When you sign up and add it to your phone, you can check in at the Iowa state parks you visit. It’s a great way to track which parks you’ve been to. And, by getting the passport, you can access park information and get special local discounts!
Recommended Reading and Other Resources
- Iowa DNR State Park Guide
- Iowa State Park Frequently Asked Questions
- Sign up for Iowa State Park Newsletters
- Iowa State Parks: A Century of Stewardship (book)
- Paddling Iowa: 129 Outstanding Journeys by Canoe and Kayak (book)
- Hiking Iowa: A Guide To Iowa’s Greatest Hiking Adventures (book)
- Iowa Nature Set: Field Guides to Wildlife, Birds, Trees & Wildflowers of Iowa (field guides)