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Camping & Facility Rentals

camping


A Guide to Iowa State Parks

Experience Iowa's natural beauty and all the fun our state parks offer as you make memories with family and friends. With an array of activities for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, there's something for everyone whether you're visiting for an afternoon or a week.

Peak Season Camping Fees: May 1st - September 30
Modern Area $16 per night/ electric site
$11 per night/ non-electric site
Non-Modern Areas $14 per night/ electric site
$9 per night/ non-electric site
Sewer and Water Hook-Up Additional $3 per night
Equestrian Sites Additional $3 per night
Emerson Bay Campground Cable TV Hook-Up Additional $2 per night
Off-Season Camping Fees: October 1 - April 30
 Modern Areas with Heated Shower Buildings  $13 per night/ electric site
$8 per night/ non-electric site
 Modern Areas without Heated Shower Buildings  $11 per night/ electric site
$6 per night/ non-electric site
 Non-Modern Areas  $11 per night/ electric site
$6 per night/ non-electric site
 Sewer and Water Hook-Up  Additional $3 per night
 Equestrian Sites  Additional $3 per night
 Emerson Bay Campground Cable TV Hook-Up  Additional $2 per night

Warning Camper! Did you Know... unwanted-Emerald Ash BorerFIREWOOD ALERT
Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been confirmed in a number of counites throughout Iowa.  As a result, the entire state of Iowa is now under state and federal firewood transport quarantines.  It is in direct violation of the federal quarantine to transport firewood from a quarantined area into a non-quarantined area.  Park visitors are cautioned not to transport firewood across county lines in Iowa or across state lines since the movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread EAB even further.  Do your part to help prevent the spread of EAB and other woodland pests.  Please consider buying firewood locally near the park you are visiting and burn it all during your stay.  For more information about EAB and the federal firewood transport quarantine, visit: www.iowadnr.gov/firewood.                                    

Weather Conditions
State park camping is available year-round in most places depending upon weather conditions. Heavy snowfalls may prevent access to the campground as not all roads are routinely maintained. Modern conveniences such as water, flush toilets and shower buildings are closed during the winter months. It is recommended that campers may want to call ahead and check the weather and road conditions before heading out to camp.

Camping Guidelines
Camping is permitted only in designated areas. Camping is restricted to one basic unit per site except that a tent may be placed on the site with the basic unit. The area occupied by the small tent shall be no more than 8 feet by 10 feet and the tent shall hold no more than four people.

The maximum number of people using a campsite is six (6)except for the following:

  • families that exceed six persons may be allowed on one campsite if all members are immediate family and cannot logically be split to occupy two campsites
     
  • campsites which are designated as chaperoned, organized youth group campsites.

Immediate family means spouses, parents or legal guardians, domestic partners, dependent children and grandparents.

Campers are furnished space, drinking water (where available) and sanitary facilities. The use of one picnic table per camping unit is permitted.

All campers must register.  Registration must be in the name of a person age 18 or older who will occupy the camping unit for the full term of the registration.

Check-in time is 4 p.m. daily on reservable sites and check-out time is 3 p.m. daily on reservable and first come/first serve campsites. The length of stay in campgrounds is limited to two weeks. Campers must then vacate and can not return to the same campground for three nights. There is a fee for all camping facilities. The fee varies depending on the season of the year and the facilities available for the camper. Check with the local park staff for details.

Some state forests contain campgrounds administered by the State Parks Bureau. The same regulations governing fees, use of campsites, quiet hours, etc. apply to the state forest campgrounds as are applicable in the state parks.

Reservations
Reservation can be made by calling the reservation call center at 1-877-427-2757 or by going online to http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com.

Reservable Campsites
Reservations are accepted for 50% - 75% of the campsites in all DNR managed state park, recreation area and state forest campgrounds, except at AA Call, Fort Defiance and Preparation Canyon State Parks. The remaining 50% of campsites will be available for first-come, first-serve camping only.

Important 2013 Reservation Dates -- The following chart shows the first date the reservation window would be open to accept a reservation for a camping stay starting on that particular arrival date.

Holiday Weekend Starting Date Date 3-Month
Window Begins
3-day minimum
Memorial Day Weekend - May 23 (F)
February 23 (Sun)
Fri-Sat-Sun
4th of July - Fri
April 4 (Fri)
Fri-Sat
Labor Day Weekend - Aug 29 (F)
May 290 (Thurs)
Fri-Sat-Sun

Camping Coupons
Camping coupons can only be used for first come/first serve campsites.

A book of seven camping coupons can be obtained for $91 from any state park office or from the DNR Central Office, Wallace State Office Building, 502 East 9th St., Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034. If you go to the Wallace Building, please go to the receptionist located on the 4th floor.  The coupons are used in lieu of payment by cash or check. Coupon books are valid for one year from the date of purchase. The price of the coupon books includes tax.

Coupons save the user approximately $3 per night in a modern campground during the peak season on an electrical site. Be sure to check the amount of the total camping fee for your chosen site to determine if there will be a savings by using the coupon. Use of the coupon for camping on a site with a camping fee less than the value of the coupon will not result in a refund or credit.

The camping coupon does not cover additional fees such as water and sewer hook-up, cable, equestrian or reservation fees.

Extra Vehicles
Campers are allowed one vehicle to be parked at a campsite which can be used for transportation at no extra charge. Some parks do allow a second vehicle to be parked at the campsite at no extra charge. The vehicle policy is posted at each campground.

Persons with Disabilities
Some camping areas contain sites designated with the persons with disabilities parking symbol. Use of these sites is limited to vehicles displaying the wheelchair symbol on their license plate or the rear view mirror tag. The vehicle must be in use by a person with disabilities either as a driver or passenger. This is similar to the restrictions on parking in public parking lots.

Can't find the answer about state parks on the web pages or are experiencing problems with website links? Please send your question(s) to: sherry.arntzen@dnr.iowa.gov.

Equal Recreational Opportunities
All persons are entitled to full and equal enjoyment of the recreational opportunities, privileges and advantages available in Iowa's great outdoors.


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