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10 Things To Do in Iowa State Parks This Fall

  • 10/21/2015 9:36:00 AM
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Iowa’s state parks provide the perfect getaway from fall hecticness, whether it’s a quick hour or two between soccer games, a day trip or a weekend staycation. Explore the beauty of Iowa in the fall and get out there!

1.       Go camping.
Fall is a beautiful time to camp in Iowa, with comfortable temperatures, fewer bugs and gorgeous fall colors. Campgrounds have fewer campers this time of year, too. Cozy up to a campfire, take in the foliage and wildlife, and relax! Reserve your campsite at

2.       Cast a line and go fishing.
Fall is one of the best times to go fishing in Iowa, as fish are feeding like crazy in preparation for the spawn next spring. You’re likely to catch more fish and bigger fish this time of year. Go in the middle of the day when water temperatures are warmer, and check conditions before you go with our fishing report.

3.       Take a hike on the trails.
Immerse yourself in the middle of Iowa’s beautiful reds, oranges and yellows of fall colors. Take along a scavenger hunt checklist to keep younger ones focused on the nature around them.

4.       Rent a cabin or resort cottage.
Cabins and cottages make the getaway easy, no tent or fancy RV required! Cabins are also perfect for that weekend hunting vacation. Plus, since we’re outside of peak season, only a two-night stay is required. Reserve a cabin or a Honey Creek cottage, or browse our cabins board on Pinterest.

5.       Ride the bike trails.
Explore a multi-use trail or try a mountain biking trail. With the cooler temperatures and fewer bugs, you’ll want to keep riding and explore more on a fall ride!

6.       Go on a picnic.
The perfect option to soak up some nature for those having just a couple of hours between soccer and football or whatever else our hectic schedules throw at us. Throw in a few sandwiches and set up at a picnic table, or find a grill and throw on some burgers and brats.

7.       Look for fall leaf color.
Every year, thousands of Iowans and visitors flock to the countryside to view nature's colorful display of red, orange, yellow and purple leaves. For updates on where fall colors are at their peak, call 515-233-4110 or get online updates from the DNR and Travel Iowa.

8.       Take up wildlife watching.
Whether it’s birds, deer or other critters, a walk through an Iowa state park is a great way to get a glimpse of Iowa’s watchable wildlife.

9.       Go paddling in a canoe or kayak.
Experience the calming effect of a peaceful paddle trip in a canoe or kayak – and remember that being out on the water gives a great view for fall colors and chances to watch wildlife, both in the woods and along the shore.

10.   Go stargazing.
Get away from the city lights, which often wash out many stars, and experience the night sky like no other. Watch for satellites moving across the sky, learn new constellations and check the calendar for meteor showers, which give the opportunity to see tons of shooting stars.

10 things to do this fall in Iowa State Parks | Iowa DNR