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7 Ideas to Celebrate Great Outdoors Month in Iowa

  • 6/3/2015 4:01:00 AM
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June is Great Outdoors Month! Use these ideas for ways to get out and explore. | Iowa DNRGrab the kids or your friends, and get the bike, kayak or fishing pole - June is Great Outdoors Month! Throw the tent in the car and explore some Iowa state parks this month – and if you need a few ideas, here are some great activities and events going on in Iowa state parks this month. For more ideas, visit the DNR events calendar.

Fish for free. This is the weekend to test the waters, so to speak. Free fishing starts this Friday, June 5 and runs through June 7. No license is needed for Iowa residents to catch and keep fish, provided they stay within normal regulations and limits. Most Iowa state parks have fishable waters and many are offering special fishing derbies, tournaments or clinics to introduce youth to fishing or improve the skills of any angler. Check out the DNR events calendar for details.

Soak up the strawberry moon. Experience Cedar Rock State Park as if you were a guest of Lowell and Agnes Walter, the original owners of this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home, at the Strawberry Moon event on June 6. Stroll down to the boathouse along the banks to the beautiful Wapsipinicon River for the sunset, and enjoy refreshments at the council fire under the June moon. The annual event is hosted by Friends of Cedar Rock as a fundraiser to support the preservation of Cedar Rock. For more information, visit

Take to the trails. June 6 is also National Trails Day. Whether you choose to hike this day or any other day, Iowa boasts more than 500 miles of trails throughout its state park and forest systems. Grab a day pack and a walking stick, hop on your bike or maybe saddle up your favorite equine.  If you prefer to paddle your trails, there or more than 900 miles of state designated water trails in the Iowa. For more information visit, or try our suggestions for 7 of Iowa's Best Hikes or our recommendations for water trails to try this spring.

Explore like Lewis and Clark. Take in the weekend-long Lewis and Clark Festival, June 12-14. More than 200 years ago, the famed explorers Lewis and Clark traveled up the Missouri River and actually camped in the vicinity of Lewis and Clark State Park.  Since 1984, this festival has celebrated the duo and their exploration with buckskinners, keelboat rides, archery, movies, music and vendors.  The Lewis and Clark Visitors Center will be open during the event.

Race to a regatta. You don’t have to be a boat owner to enjoy a major sailing event on one of Iowa’s natural lakes. View the color and excitement at Clear Lake or Iowa’s Great Lakes from one of the areas’ state parks. For a schedule of races, regattas and sailing championships, go to

Watch a movie under the stars. Enjoy the movie Yogi Bear under the stars at Prairie Rose State Park on Friday, June 20. The movie and popcorn are free and the show begins at dusk near the campground. All you’ll need is a lawn chair or blanket, and maybe some bug spray. A Dutch oven cooking demonstration will be held in the South Shelter earlier in the day from 1 to 3 p.m.

Learn something new. Need a girls’ getaway? Check out No Woman Left Inside, June 27 at Brushy Creek State Recreation Area. It’s a great opportunity for adult women to try out a new skill or improve on a favorite. Participants can choose from shooting sports, Dutch oven cooking, water sports, trailer backing and more. The one-day event is sponsored by the Iowa DNR and Webster County Conservation Board. Contact Erin Ford at 515-576-4258 or for more information. Registration deadline is June 12.

For more ideas on enjoying Iowa this summer, check out our Take it Outside, Iowa State Parks, We Love Summer in Iowa and many more boards on Pinterest.