Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

Search for a News Release

Press/Media inquiries:

DNR News Releases

Visitors expected to fill parks over Memorial Day weekend

  • 5/16/2023 1:42:00 PM
  • View Count 2212
  • Return

Iowa state parks and forests are gearing up for a busy Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the outdoor summer recreation season.  

“Park visitors are excited to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather after a long winter inside,” said Sherry Arntzen, chief of the DNR’s State Parks, Forests and Preserves Bureau. “Our parks offer a variety of activities for all enthusiasts from hiking the trails to picnicking, fishing and swimming. There’s something for everyone while enjoying the outdoors.” 

Campers are urged to plan ahead when visiting Iowa state parks and forests for Memorial Day weekend. Most electrical and full hookup sites in busy parks are already reserved, so campers may want to consider non-electric sites or at “hidden gem” parks a little further away from home. Additionally, Iowa state parks and forests offer around 1,200 non-reservable sites available on a first-come, first-served basis, with most people choosing to stay Thursday through the weekend.

To find site availability and make a reservation, go to For an up-to-date list of park and trail closures due to renovations or weather-related alerts, visit:

Park visitors can help take care of the parks by cleaning up trash after themselves, and carrying out what they brought in. Please park vehicles in designated parking lots and not along roadways. If visiting beaches, be aware that most swimming areas do not have a lifeguard on duty, and pets must be kept off beaches and be on a leash.

“We hope that campers enjoy their time and make memories while staying in our parks and recreational areas, and do so safely and return again,” Arntzen said.


  • Keep track of the weather and have a plan in case of severe weather
  • Pack bug spray, sun screen and a basic first-aid kit
  • Check the registration kiosk for activities in the area
  • Don’t burn trash
  • Don’t bring fireworks
  • Be a good neighbor. Observe quiet hours and pick up after yourself