Say what you will about Iowa, it is no slouch in the camping department. Filled with the requisite farms and fields of a Midwestern state, Iowa's campgrounds are clustered around streams and lakes, offering a relaxing place to get away.
Closest to Iowa's biggest cities is Lake Macbride. With several campgrounds around the edge of the lake and its proximity to most of the population of Iowa, Lake Macbride can offer more crowds than the rest of the state's campgrounds.
It is no secret that the weather in Iowa can be a little bit harsh in the winter. As a result, many of the state's campgrounds shut down their running water from November-April. When the camps reopen, the staff comes in and turns on the water. The campgrounds are always open, you just may have to bring or filter your own water from the nearest natural stream.
Iowa campgrounds also differ from other state's campgrounds because they do not charge entrance fees or even a nominal fee to cover maintenance around the park. Campgrounds are open all the time and free to the public. Because of this open access policy, most campgrounds are filled on a first-come basis. You can still book a campground here however, and be sure that it will be open when you show up.
The area around Rathbun Lake is almost as popular as Lake Macbride and the camping spots are even more secluded. Buck Creek campground is tucked away in its own separate cove and offers one of the more private camping experiences in all of Iowa. Only Island View campground, tucked away on a spit of land looking out over the rest of the lake can really compare to the isolation found at Buck Creek.
Located right off highway 142, the facilities at Bridgeview Campground are some of the nicest on Rathbun Lake. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife and enjoy the scenery, but if you don't have a reservation, be sure to show up early in the day to make sure you get a camp spot.