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Tucked in between the Missouri and Mississippi, the midwestern state of Iowa is a beautiful landscape of cornfields and rolling plains that is wonderful to travel through. The Upper Iowa River is one of my favorite spots in particular. There are a ton of great places to camp, whether you’re traveling in an RV, van, or something else entirely.
Just make sure to plan your stops ahead of time! From our travels and research, here are our recommendations for the best campgrounds across the great state of Iowa.
Sleepy Hollow RV Park & Campground
Sleepy Hollow RV Park and Campground’s convenient location near Interstate 80 and about 15 miles from Iowa city place it near Eastern Iowa day-trip destinations like Lake MacBride, Coralville Reservoir, Kalona Amish Community, and the Amana Colonies. The campground offers lakeside sites and some terraced sites nestled on a tree-covered hill.
You won’t want to miss Sleepy Hollow’s themed weekends during the summer season, which include themes such as Halfway to New Year, Halloween, Are you a Redneck? Weekend, Wet & Wild Party, and much more.
3340 Black Hawk Avenue NW, Oxford, IA 52322
Upper Iowa Resort & Rental
Situated along the banks of the Upper Iowa River, Upper Iowa Resort & Rental is the place to stay for any river-related activities such as canoeing, kayaking, or tubing. The campground offers rentals for all three of those activities and will even shuttle you up the river in their vehicles or in yours. Within a mere five miles of the campground, you can also find five of Iowa’s best trout fishing streams, so this is the spot for you if you want to fish as well!
578 Lonnings Drive, Dorchester, IA 52140
Lakeshore RV Resort & Campground
Lakeshore RV Resort & Campground is a family-friendly, privately-owned campground located on Lake Oelwein in northeast Iowa. The owners were originally campers at the resort for years before gaining ownership, so they know exactly how to treat their guests now. The concern for fostering a respectful and peaceful environment coupled with the tranquil lakeside location of the campground make for a relaxing getaway for any campground guest.
1418 Q Avenue, Oelwein, IA 50662
Riverview Ridge Campgrounds
Riverview Ridge is an ever-growing and improving full-service campground that offers both RV and tent sites. The campground is located along the North Fork of the Maquoketa River in eastern Iowa, where you’ll find limestone bluffs and picturesque riverbanks near the town of Cascade, Iowa.
The folks at Riverview Ridge are constantly making new improvements to the campground, recently adding new sites, grooming walking, and hiking trails, and adding features to the popular river tube rental service.
24224 Riverview Road, Cascade, IA 52033
Lazy H Campground
The Lazy H Campground is a newer campground where family and fun always take priority. The campground’s 235 acres sit nestled between the Big Sioux River and the northern entrance of the scenic Loess Hills Byway in northwest Iowa.
Accommodation options include private cabin rentals as well as spacious RV sites on Little Pearle Lake, a “50-acre fisherman’s haven” that is kept stocked with fish. It’s no wonder this place has a perfect five-star record on its Google reviews!
701 IA-12, Akron, IA 51001
Chimney Rock Campground
The Upper Iowa River has been recognized by National Geographic’s Adventure Magazine as one of the top 100 adventures in the United States, and Chimney Rock’s location along the “Chimney Rocks” on a private farm gives you the perfect outlet to experience that adventure.
The campground’s relaxing, the rustic atmosphere allows it to welcome to a host of guests including trout and bass anglers, hunters, and nature lovers alike!
3312 Chimney Rock Road, Cresco, IA 52136
Spook Cave & Campground
Spook Cave & Campground is one of the coolest camping spots we have encountered! The highlight of visiting this special site is the opportunity to take a guided boat tour through the allegedly haunted cave system that gives the campground its name.
Just across a trout stream from the cave area is the campground, where you can enjoy the natural surroundings aboveground by fishing, swimming, and hiking.
13299 Spook Cave Road, McGregor, IA 52157
Whether you’re just passing through or wanting to spend some time in Charles City in northern Iowa, R Campground is the spot to meet all of your camping needs! Situated alongside the Cedar River, the campground also features a three-acre pond for guests to fish in.
Guests can also rent canoes at the campground or venture into the town to see local museums, theater, and music performances. R Campground offers extremely reasonable rates, as well as discounts for longer-term stays.
1910 Clark Street, Charles City, IA 50616
Outback Campground & Resort
WIth about 120 camping sites and multiple cabin and lodge rental options, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Outback Campground & Resort. Each site comes complete with water, electric, and sewer services.
The campground also has a rec room for rent if you want to host a get-together or event. Past guests love the family-friendly atmosphere created by welcoming staff and events like Fourth of July celebrations and fall festivals.
3220 H Avenue, Tama, IA 52339
Scales Pointe Camping
Scales Pointe Camping is part of a bigger location that also includes a restaurant, marina, and event space. The packed events calendar ensures that there’s always something happening at Scales Pointe, whether that’s a karaoke night, boat race, or musical performance. The campsites offered are water and electric RV sites or tent sites. Any campers who are also boaters can take advantage of the boat ramp with trailer parking and courtesy boat docks.
1850 Scales Bend Road NE, North Liberty, IA 52317
And that wraps it up! Have any other favorite campgrounds around Iowa that we didn’t list here? Shoot us a message and we will check them out!
Be sure to check out the rest of our choices for the best campgrounds in the USA:
- The Best Campgrounds in Alabama, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Alaska, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Arizona, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Arkansas, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in California, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Colorado, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Florida, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Georgia, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Idaho, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Illinois, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Indiana, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Kansas, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Kentucky, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Louisiana, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Maine, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Maryland, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Massachusetts, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Michigan, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Minnesota, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Mississippi, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Montana, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Nevada, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in New Hampshire, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in New Mexico, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in New York, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in North Carolina, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Ohio, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Oklahoma, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Oregon, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in South Carolina, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Tennessee, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Texas, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Vermont, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Virginia, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Washington, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Wisconsin, USA
- The Best Campgrounds in Wyoming, USA
If you don’t own an RV or van yet and are thinking about renting one, make sure you rent from the right place. We break down all the best options in our RV rental company comparison.