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Iowa RV Camping and Campgrounds

Iowa has a wide variety of RV camping locations with nice scenery, solitude, and interesting history. Public lands and private RV parks and campgrounds offer a wide range of camping facilities from full service RV hookup campsites to remote primitive camping (boondocking) locations throughout Iowa.

Iowa Private RV Parks and Campgrounds

  • Private RV Parks - Research tools for finding the best privately owned RV parks and campgrounds in Iowa.

Federal RV Camping Information

  • US Army Corps of Engineers - USACE/COE information about COE lakes and RV camping opportunities in Iowa.
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service - FWS information about National Wildlife Refuges in Iowa. Most federal wildlife areas do not permit camping in Iowa. Check refuge regulations about restrictions.

State RV Camping Information

  • Iowa State Parks - Information about RV camping and campgrounds in Iowa.
  • Iowa State Forests - RV camping is just one of the many outdoor recreation opportunities to be found in Iowa state forests.
  • Iowa Wildlife Management Areas - Primitive camping is permitted in all Iowa WMA's unless posted otherwise. Start at this official Iowa web site for WMA locations and camping regulations.
  • Official Iowa Tourism Website - Where to go, and what to do in Iowa. Includes RV camping suggestions and travel planning ideas.

Campground Reservations

  • Camping Reservations - Make your campground reservations in advance and your campsite will be waiting for you when you arrive.

RV Dump Stations In Iowa

Free RV Camping In Iowa

The following are a few examples of free RV camping locations available throughout Iowa.

AKRON Akron Camping Location
Free overnight RV parking in City Park Campground on State Highway 12 and Big Sioux River Road. Electricity, swimming, boating, and fishing is now $10 per night, but still a great value.

HARTLEY Hartley Camping Location
Free overnight RV parking in city park on US highway 18 - Main St. Electric available.

OAKLAND Oakland Camping Location
On US-59 north of town, the Lyons park has water available and allows overnight RV parking.

PANORA Panora Camping Location
Lenon Mill County Park offers outdoor recreation opportunities including RV camping Follow signs on Highway 44 - 2 blocks south of Highway 44. Low cost RV hookups.

PRIMGHAR Primghar Camping Location
Free overnight parking in city park on US-59. Electric and water available.

SPENCER Spencer Camping Location
East Leach Park at south end of town offers free RV parking overnight.

Iowa Public Campgrounds

Iowa public campgrounds are great destinations for RV camping trips. State parks, state forests, USACE/COE (US Army Corps of Engineers), and even state wildlife management areas offer facilities from primitive campsites for full hookup campgrounds. The following are just a few examples of the many public RV camping opportunities in Iowa.

ANAMOSA Anamosa Camping Location
RV camping is available at the Wapsipinicon State Park. 26 campsites, 14 with electricity with showers available.

ANITA Anita Camping Location
One of Iowa's most popular RV destinations is Lake Anita State Park. Boating, fishing, swimming and hiking. 161 campsites, some with full RV hookups.

BEDFORD Bedford Camping Location
140 campsites, 30 with electric hookups are available at Lake of Three Fires State Park. Swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking are only some of the outdoor activities available.

CENTERVILLE Centerville Camping Location
More than 700 campsites are available at the USACE managed Rathbun Lake. Located in the southern rolling hills of Iowa, there is fishing, hunting, and sailing among the outdoor recreation opportunities.

FAIRFIELD Fairfield Camping Location
The 190 acre Jefferson County Park offers electric and water campsites. 4 fishing ponds, hiking trails, restrooms and showers.

PERRY Perry Camping Location
Electric and non electric campsites are available at Sportsman Park. This county park has playground, shelters, fishing, and hiking.

TOLEDO Toledo Camping Location
Tama county has a great park available for RV camping. The Otter Creek Lake offers sixty-five RV sites with electricity and 18 tent sites. Includes RV dump station, and water hydrants are scattered throughout the campground.

The location map images for finding RV camping locations in Iowa are derived from DeLorme Topo 6.0 Software and used with their exclusive permission. These map images only display a very limited area. DeLorme's Topo 6.0 covers the entire USA with highly detailed maps that can be zoomed in or out, moved, printed, and interfaced with GPS units. 3-D views, tracking and route planning, as well as map annotation ability are included. BLM administered lands are available free with registration of the program.

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Federal Public Land
RV Camping Information

USFS (US Forest Service) - Describes USFS policies and rules about RV camping. Information about dispersed camping, and tips on how to find great free RV camping sites.

NPS (National Park Service) - General information about RV camping and campgrounds in US National Parks. With campgrounds in the most historic and scenic places in the country, the NPS offers some of the best places for RV camping.

USACE/COE (US Army Corp of Engineers) - USACE (perhaps better know as COE) manages water recreation areas throughout the USA. Information about finding USACE lakes, RV camping possibilities, and rules and policies for use of these water based recreation areas is included.

Free and Low Cost
RV Camping Ideas In Iowa

Here's a list of places to consider when looking for a free overnight RV camping or parking location in Iowa. We always recommend asking for overnight RV parking permission when looking for a free spot to spend the night. The smaller your RV, the better chances you will have finding places to stay if you choose not to ask permission. If you don't ask permission, you end up "sneaking" into places and hoping nobody bothers you or issues you a trespassing ticket before you move on.

Be smart and Be Safe...Ask Permission.

  • Truck Stops - Asking permission is usually not a requirement Be considerate of the big rigs!
  • Walmart - Not all stores allow overnight RV parking in Iowa due to city ordinances. Check store for policy.
  • Nightclubs - Had one too many or just pretending?
  • Grain Elevators - Ask where you can park your RV out of the way for the night.
  • Fraternal Organizations - VFW, Elks etc. may allow members free overnight RV camping.
  • Cemetery - Sounds creepy to us, but we've also heard they may have water available.
  • Fairgrounds - State and County facilities may allow RV camping when not otherwise in use.
  • Parks - City, County, State, and Community parks often have free RV camping.
  • Churches - You can almost make "reservations" by calling ahead for permission.
  • Hotel Parking Lots - Assuming a nightclub/bar is inside, had one too many or just pretending?
  • Truck Terminals - Parking areas for large trucks might allow you free RV camping permission.
  • RV Dealers - Pretty brave to us, but you could fit right in.
  • Cracker Barrel - These nationwide restaurants usually allow free overnight RV parking.
  • Movie Theaters - Too tired to drive home after the late show?
  • Highway Rest Areas - All rest areas allow a few hours of free RV parking, but noisy.
  • Drive In Movies - Got a small RV, park in the back row and enjoy the show. Fell asleep by accident right?
  • Vehicle Repair Shops - Need to see the repairman first thing in the morning?
  • Big Box Retailers - Kmart, Best Buy, Sams Club often allow free RV camping.
  • Roadside Parks & Picnic Areas - The early day version of the rest area.

As you can see, there are a lot of free RV camping and parking possibilities in Iowa. If you are not asking permission, it's best to keep a very low profile. If your RV has slide outs, jacks and TV antennas, don't use them so as not to draw attention to yourself. Consider your surroundings carefully and if you feel uncomfortable with the area, move somewhere else.

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