America is a country built for road trips. And the options for scenic destinations along this highway and that one are almost limitless. While some destinations are certainly more popular than others, it’s very probable that you’ll be in the vicinity of Iowa as you go cross-country. And, if you’re going to be near Iowa or even just passing through, you owe it to yourself to see what America’s Heartland has to offer overland visitors.
Some visitors to Iowa would argue that no visit to the Hawkeye State would be complete without stopping by Backbone State Park. Steeped in history and natural beauty, this is one of Iowa’s oldest locations, and RV parks near Backbone State Park can do brisk business during the busy season. Read on to learn more about why Backbone State Park should be on your list of places to visit in Iowa.
Backbone State Park Facts
For Iowans, Backbone State Park is a well-known treasure, but for out-of-staters some Backbone State Park facts are needed for an introduction. Here are a few fast Backbone State Park facts to help you get to know this famous Iowa landmark.
- Dedicated in 1920, Backbone State Park is Iowa’s oldest state park.
- Backbone State Park’s 2,001 acres are filled with oak and maple trees and a variety of other flora and fauna.
- Backbone State Park is named for a natural feature carved by a loop of the Maquoketa River.
- A dam built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s created Backbone Lake.
- Popular activities at Backbone State Park include hiking, skiing, fishing, swimming, and rock climbing.
Now that you have learned about the park, let’s take a look at the best Backbone State Park RV parks.
Best Backbone State Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
Some travelers might be interested in booking RV campgrounds in Backbone State Park, while other visitors would prefer to go RV camping near it. Whatever your preference, if you’re coming with an RV rental, Backbone State Park has many options for those looking for a place to stay.
South Lake Campground
Amenities: You can have all of the wonders of Backbone State Park at your RV’s door if you go RV camping in Backbone State Park itself. Not all of the campgrounds have full hookups, and that’s true of South Lake Campground, which is one of the most popular. Whether you have full hookups or just electric, you can enjoy the fire pits and picnic tables at your site. You’re also close to Backbone Lake!
Capacity: 89 RV sites
More Information: South Lake Campground
Lil' Bit of Country RV Park
Amenities: For visitors with an RV rental, Backbone State Park has many RV camping choices, including Lil’ Bit of Country RV Park. Make use of their mini-golf course, beer and wine tastings, community showers, laundry facilities, and a whole bunch of other amenities sure to keep you comfortable and happy.
Capacity: 12 RV sites
More Information: Lil' Bit of Country RV Park
Lakeshore RV Resort and Campground
Amenities: Lakeshore RV Resort is a family-friendly destination with full hookups and is open from May 1st through October 15th each year. As for activities to enjoy, you have the choice among disc golf, visiting the swimming beach, playing basketball, or even just sitting around relaxing and surfing the web using the Wi-Fi available all over the campground.
Capacity: 100 RV sites
More Information: Lakeshore RV Resort and Campground
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort - Monticello
Amenities: One of the bigger RV campgrounds in Iowa, this family-friendly Yogi Bear-themed RV park is basically a theme park all on its own. There are tons of things to enjoy, including a heated pool, a beach, playgrounds, and horseshoe pits. Keep in mind it’s one of the seasonal RV parks near Backbone State Park and is only open from April to October.
Capacity: 191 RV sites
More Information: Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort - Monticello
Lazy Acres RV Park
Amenities: A miniature golf course, a disc golf course, a splash pad, a fishing pond, and other amenities make Lazy Acres one of the more family-friendly Backbone State Park RV camping options. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the RV park, all of the bathrooms are handicap-accessible, and there are laundry facilities to make use of! They also have group sites that can fit up to four RVs, centered around a fire pit and four picnic tables.
Capacity: 92 RV sites
More information: Lazy Acres RV Park
Best Time To Visit Backbone State Park for RV Camping
You can come at any time of year, but the best time to visit Backbone State Park will depend on why you are going there and what activities you’re interested in. Check out this seasonal guide to Backbone State Park to help you decide when to visit.
Winter at Backbone State Park will chill you to the bone. Expect daytime highs in December to go slightly below freezing, with January and February average daytime highs in the low-to-mid 20s Fahrenheit. As for the overnight lows, December averages 20 degrees, but by January and February they can reach the low 10s.
If you’re looking to visit in the least-busy season, winter is obviously that time — unless you count all the snowmobile enthusiasts, sledders, and cross-country skiers who think that’s the best time to visit Backbone State Park!
In the spring, Backbone State Park comes back to life. It’s as if all of nature is celebrating, with temperatures rising into and beyond the 40s up to the 60s from March to May. Hiking trails will be open and likely busy, but there is also a good chance they’ll be soggy. Still, spring is only the second-rainiest season at Backbone State Park.
Anglers who skipped trout-catching opportunities at Richmond Springs in the winter will have another chance in the spring. But, the park will be more populated, so expect the same of the RV parks near Backbone State Park.
The rainiest time of year at Backbone State Park is in the summer. Highs hover in the 70s to the low 80s, but the humidity will also be over 80% for the whole season. There is an average of 19 days of precipitation per month in the summer, with June tending to see the most measurable rain.
Summer is when you — and everyone else — want to visit, if you’re keen on swimming in Backbone Lake. The trails are also wide open, and there’s also rock climbing to try out. Reserve early if you’re looking for RV camping near Backbone State Park in the summer.
Do yourself a favor if you love fall and visit Backbone State Park to check out all the vibrant colors of the trees as they go through their annual changes from early to mid-autumn. Temperatures will take a nose-dive over the course of this season, going from daytime highs in the low 70s in September to the mid-40s in November.
As for overnight lows, expect them to be in the 50s in September and 40s in October, but those comparatively mild temperatures will make way for just below-freezing overnight lows by November’s end.
Things To Do in Backbone State Park
There are plenty of things to do in Backbone State Park throughout the year. Whether you’re into winter sports or summer fun, or spring hiking or fall colors, have a look at some of the things to do in Backbone State Park that’ll keep you busy while you’re there!
Fishing. Trout fishing all-year-round is the sort that Backbone State Park is famous for, and there’s never a shortage of fish thanks to the fast-moving waters fed by Richmond Springs.
Visit Richmond Springs. One of the highlights of a visit to Backbone State Park is visiting this natural spring.
Hiking and Biking. There are 21 miles of multi-use trails to explore in Backbone State Park, and whether you do it on two legs or two wheels is up to you!
Hunting. Just northeast of Backbone State Park lies Backbone State Forest, which is open for public hunting so long as you have an Iowa state hunting permit.
Winter Sports. Once the snow falls, sledders, cross-country skiers, and snowmobilers can enjoy the powder. Trout fishing in the cold waters of Richmond Spring is also a popular activity.
Tips for Visiting Backbone State Park
To have the best possible time at Backbone State Park, you need to know a few other details. Keep these in mind as you plan your visit!
- If you are going RV camping in Backbone State Park, you can reserve a space ahead of time.
- While you can go swimming at Backbone State Park, the water quality can vary so it’s wise to check on it before taking a dip.
- Horseback riding is not permitted within Backbone State Park, but you can go horseback riding in the adjacent Backbone State Forest.
- During hunting season, it is possible for Backbone State Park to be closed to the general public for a day or two for a controlled deer hunt to help manage herd numbers.
- If you want to go hunting, you will need a license to do so in Iowa.
RV Rental for Backbone State Park
Iowa is America’s Heartland, and if you visit with an RV rental, Backbone State Park will reveal itself as a special place. If you don’t yet have an RV rental booked, Cruise America can help get you situated. Cruise America’s selection of RVs in various sizes, and with modern amenities, can help make your road trip to Iowa comfortable and fun.
Get in touch with Cruise America today to get on your way to Backbone State Park!