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Iowa's natural resources plates include the state bird and flower, pheasant, eagle, buck and a Brook trout. Support conservation in Iowa by buying a natural resource plate for your vehicle.
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Experience Iowa's natural beauty and all the fun our state parks offer. Make your online reservation for state park cabins, camping sites, shelters and lodges.
Support conservation in Iowa by buying a natural resource plate for your vehicle.
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If tent camping isn’t quite your cup of tea or there’s no truck to pull a camper, there’s no need to give up on the idea of camping altogether. If you want a solid roof over your head or a hassle-free weekend camping getaway, rent a basic family cabin, a camping cabin or a yurt at an Iowa state park!
These basic accommodations can be rented for a minimum of two nights and reserved up to a year in advance. Your rustic getaway includes a basic open floor plan with electricity, bunk beds, futons, table and chairs, an outdoor picnic table, a fire ring or grill, and nearby camping sanitary facilities.
Basic family cabins also have running water and a kitchenette. Depending on the location, camping cabins may also include heating, cooling, a microwave, and a small refrigerator. Bring your own bedding, dishes and other essentials (like hot dog roasting sticks!). The camping cabins at some locations are pet-friendly, and allow guests to bring up to two dogs (just bring extra sheets to keep pet hair off furniture and cleaning supplies to remove excess pet hair before leaving). Check with your park for park-specific regulations.
Camping cabins and yurts offer unique camping experiences while also being affordable. Start your adventure at one of these Iowa state parks (or make a checklist to visit all of them):
Located in the Loess Hills, Waubonsie State Park offers hikers 7 miles of trails along the same historic route Lewis and Clark traveled. There are another 8 miles of equestrian trails available, and all trails offer the chance to see unique landforms molded by receding glaciers, and the unique organisms that live in these areas, like the endangered great plains skink and the yucca plant. Make a reservation
McIntosh Woods State Park is the proud location of the only yurts currently available for rent through the state parks system. These circular, tent-like structures have all the amenities of a camping cabin, and a special clear dome on the roof that lets in natural light and makes for great mosquito-free stargazing. The park is great for family picnics, and features a baseball field, playground, water access on Clear Lake and multiple wildlife viewing areas. Make a reservation
The cabins at Green Valley State Park make a great base camp for anglers and other visitors. These cabins feature a covered porch, dorm-sized refrigerator and a microwave, along with the standard amenities. Green Valley features four different lakes stocked with largemouth bass, crappies, bluegill, walleyes and channel catfish, as well as a three-mile paved multi-use trail that passes through DNR-managed Mitchell Marsh and a 10-mile hiking trail around Green Valley Lake. Make a reservation
There’s lots to Honey Creek beyond the resort. Go rustic for a low-key weekend in the camping cabins at Honey Creek State Park across the inlet from the resort. This park has more than 800 acres to explore, and all the watersports and fishing options Lake Rathbun has to offer. The resort is just a short drive away with its added opportunities – water park, eco-friendly golf course, biking, boat rentals and restaurant. Make a reservation
Lake Darling State Park is another great destination for anglers, as well as swimmers, hikers and nature lovers. Named for notable Iowa conservationist and cartoonist J.N. “Ding” Darling, the park and lake offer 17 miles of shoreline plus a number of hiking trails, one of which extends into a re-established prairie, and another that leads back to an 1800s cemetery. Boats with any size of motor or no motor at all are allowed on the lake, provided that they do not exceed “no-wake” speeds. Make a reservation
Originally planned in the 1930s, this park was dedicated in 1962. The park includes a lake that allows all boats at non-wake speeds, a three-mile hiking trail and a two-mile multi-use trail. Make a reservation
With 15 miles of hiking trails and a nearby paved 17-mile loop for cyclists, this Loess Hills area park is great for trail lovers. There are also six miles of trails specifically for mountain biking, and 1,450 acres of backcountry available for exploration. The Big Sioux River and Turtle Lake provide fishing, and the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center offers visitors a chance to learn more about the area. Make a reservation
The cabins at Pleasant Creek State Park are very similar to those at Green Valley, with covered porches and a few kitchen appliances. The park itself features Pleasant Creek Lake, 10 miles of trails, and seasonal hunting. Make a reservation
This park features the only basic family cabins in the state, which sleep four and have the added benefits of running water and a kitchenette. Dolliver Memorial State Park overlooks the Des Moines River and has unique and extensive trails through the Copperas Beds, where visitors can see massive sandstone formations shaped by the river, as well as Native American mounds and Bone Yard Hollow. Make a reservation
If you’re looking for additional amenities, consider reserving a deluxe cabin at an Iowa state park. Keep in mind that these cabins often require longer minimum stays during peak season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For more information and ideas, check out our Iowa Cabins and Iowa Camping boards on Pinterest.