RV Camping - All The Comforts Away From Home
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.
- 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.
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.
Free overnight RV parking in city park on US highway 18 - Main St. Electric available.
On US-59 north of town, the Lyons park
has water available and allows overnight RV parking.
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.
Free overnight parking in city park on US-59. Electric and water available.
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.
RV camping is available at the Wapsipinicon State Park.
26 campsites, 14 with electricity with showers available.
One of Iowa's most
popular RV destinations is Lake Anita State Park.
Boating, fishing, swimming and hiking. 161 campsites, some with full RV
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.
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.
The 190 acre Jefferson County Park offers electric and water campsites. 4 fishing ponds, hiking trails,
restrooms and showers.
Electric and non
electric campsites are available at Sportsman Park. This county park has playground, shelters, fishing, and hiking.
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
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.
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
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.
Organizations - VFW, Elks etc. may allow members free overnight RV
- 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
- 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
- Truck Terminals -
Parking areas for large trucks might allow you free RV camping
- 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
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