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Upcoming Events

Iowa’s state parks are continually adding new programs and events. Check both the events calendar at the right and our special events calendar for activities that may interest you and your family or friends.

Some annual park events to check out include:

Fort Atkinson Rendezvous – Last full weekend in September
Every year, since 1977, this recreation of the frontier rendezvous and 1840s military life is held at Fort Atkinson Preserve. More information about the event hosted by the DNR and local community can be found on the City of Ft. Atkinson website.

Volunteer Day – last Saturday in September
Give back to your favorite state park with hands-on work! Participating state parks across Iowa will have a wide range of volunteer projects waiting for eager helping hands on the last Saturday in September. 

Halloween Celebrations - check the events calendar and individual parks for exact dates/times. Like Christmas-in-July events, many of state park campers host Halloween celebrations, welcoming other visitors to checkout their spooktacular costumes, decorations and treats.

First Day Hikes – January 1
Kick off the New Year will a little outdoor exercise on a First Day Hike. More than two dozen Iowa state parks annually host this event along with hundreds more state parks across the country.

Camping Kickoff – On the first Saturday in May, state parks across the United States celebrate the start of the camping season. Iowa will join the celebration with special programs and activities scheduled in campgrounds. We hope to see you there!

Lewis and Clark Festival – Friday-Sunday, second weekend in June.
This buckskinners’ rendezvous will take you back to the time when Lewis and Clark explored this area of the Missouri River. Activities, demonstrations, food and fun are all part of this annual event.

Christmas in July – - check the events calendar and individual parks for exact dates/times.
Campers in a number of Iowa state parks decorate their campsites and celebrate Christmas in July. Join in the fun or just visit these parks for a look at how creative our visitors can be.



Upcoming Park Events


Swimming Registration at State Parks

People wishing to swim outside the designated swimming beach areas at Iowa state parks, for example to train for a triathlon, must obtain special permission by completing a registration form and communicating with local park staff.

For information and guidelines:
Swimming Registration Form


Special Events Permits

State parks are popular places for people and groups to hold a wide variety of events (weddings, scout jamborees, festivals, rendezvous, triathlons, fun runs, etc.) A special event permit is required when the event is an organized race, tournament, exhibition, demonstration or other planned event in which a fee is charged, prizes are awarded or competition occurs between participants. A special event permit is also required for any other planned event that, due its nature, potential or actual size, or length, would likely adversely impact the use of the area by the public. NOTE: Special events that take place solely within a reservable day-use lodge or shelter structure, do not require a special event permit. The person or group holding the event must reserve and pay the appropriate rental fee for the facility that will be used.

At least 30 days before the scheduled date of a special event, an application must be submitted to the DNR using the Special Events web-based application found at https://programs.iowadnr.gov/specialevents/.

For more information, contact your local State Park office, or the State Parks Special Events Program Manager or call 515-725-8486.