Have you ever considered a road trip to southeastern Iowa? Probably not, but that’s only because you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Forget the images of endless cornfields; this region is all about nature, with the Mighty Mississippi flowing along the state’s eastern edge flanked by an abundance of forests.
Geode State Park is one of the region's best attractions with its bountiful hiking, kayaking, swimming, and birdwatching opportunities. It’s also centrally located between the towns of Mount Pleasant, Burlington, and Fort Madison.
There are plenty of RV parks near Geode State Park to choose from too, so there’s no need to stay in an expensive hotel or Airbnb. Keep reading to learn some interesting facts, things to do, and where to find the best RV campgrounds in Geode State Park.
Geode State Park Facts
Geode State Park is a favorite for picnicking in southeastern Iowa, but that’s not the only thing it’s known for.
- Lake Geode is also known for its abundant stocks of largemouth bass, bullhead, channel catfish, bluegill, and crappie.
- The lake was drained in 2017 after bacteria, sediment, and fertilizer levels became too high. After this, recreation was curtailed significantly, but the water returned to its original level nearly four years later.
- The 46-mile-long Southeast Iowa Bike Route connects Geode State Park to Lacey Keosauqua State Park, making it a favorite with cyclists.
- The park once had an airstrip, allowing visitors to arrive by private plane. It has since closed and is now part of the boat ramp parking lot.
- You can view geodes at the park office, but cannot collect or remove any from the park.
Now that we’ve covered a few Geode State Park facts, let's dive into the camping options available in the area.
Best Geode State Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
Southeastern Iowa is relatively compact, so if your preferred Geode State Park RV sites are full, you need only drive a few miles to find another one.
Geode State Park Camground
Amenities: The obvious choice for Geode State Park RV parks is the one inside the park itself. Sites come with or without electrical hookups, shower facilities, a playground for the little ones, and a dump station for emptying your holding tank. It’s a fairly large campground, and you’ll be close to all the outdoor activities the park has to offer.
Capacity: 170 RV sites
More Information: Geode State Park
Welter Recreation Area
Amenities: This is a much smaller RV campground near Geode State Park, with only a few dozen sites. The majority of which do not have electrical hookups. There is a dump station though, along with a boat ramp, horseshoe pits, and a volleyball court. Overall though, this is the place to go when you want to get away from all the distractions of life.
Capacity: 36 RV sites
More Information: Welter Recreation Area
Pollmiller Lake Park
Amenities: Another small RV park near Geode State Park is on the outskirts of the town of West Point. It sits on the edge of a lake, which has an excellent swimming beach and great fishing. There are shower facilities near the beach too. Sites have water and electrical hookups and there’s a dump station near the entrance to the park.
Capacity: 31 RV sites
More Information: Pollmiller Lake Park
Crossroads RV Park
Amenities: If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience when RV camping near Geode State Park, Crossroads is the place to be. Campsites have full hookups along with cable TV and Wi-Fi. There are also laundry facilities and a playground for the kids.
Capacity: 34 RV sites
More Information: Crossroads RV Park
Big Hollow Recreation Area
Amenities: Big Hollow is one of the more popular recreation areas in the state with almost 800 acres of forest to explore and a nearly 200-acre lake for paddling, swimming, and fishing. Many of the campsites have full hookups and are large enough to accommodate two full-size campers.
Capacity: 48 RV sites
More Information: Big Hollow Recreation Area
Best Time To Visit Geode State Park for RV Camping
There’s no wrong time for RV camping near Geode State Park; it’s all about what you want to do while you’re there. Choose your season based on your preferred activities and be sure to come back at other times of year to get the full experience.
As the temperature drops, so do the number of people RV camping in Geode State Park. During the day, the high is usually just above freezing and drops significantly below it when night falls. So swimming and paddling are out, but the fishing is still good and the trails won’t be crowded. Some of the campgrounds amenities are shut off, but electricity is still available at each site and there’s a pit toilet and spigot available.
The birds are returning, a fresh crop of fawns are being born, and the foliage is getting a whole greener. If wildlife viewing is in your itinerary when RV camping in Geode State Park, there's no better time to visit than spring. Reservations for campsites start at the beginning of April and are slightly less expensive than during peak season (early May to mid-October).
Summer is easily the best time to visit Geode State Park (and the most popular). The lake is a great spot for cooling off and summer is when events are happening in the surrounding area. There’s Burlington’s Steamboat Days in June, the West Point Corn Festival in August, and the Old Thresher’s Reunion in Mount Pleasant just before Labor Day.
It’ll be too cold for swimming, but plenty warm enough for paddling around the lake or doing some fishing along the shore. The trails are less crowded too, and drier weather makes hiking a more attractive option than during the spring season. Brilliant fall colors also make this a great time for RV camping in Geode State Park.
Things To Do in Geode State Park
Southeastern Iowa is chocked full of fun activities, like time out in nature inside the park or lively events in nearby towns.
- Picnics. Iowans have been coming to Geode State Park for picnics for the better part of a century. The shimmering lake provides an excellent backdrop for romantic dinners and family meals.
- Swimming. After the lake was drained in 2017, there was no swimming permitted, but it's been allowed since the summer of 2021.
- Fishing. Since the cleanup in 2017 and restocking in 2021, Geode Lake has had a much healthier fish population. The fishing is great and the water is much clearer now.
- Hiking. There are over seven miles of hiking trails you can make use of when getting an RV rental for Geode State Park. The main one loops around the lake and has excellent views of it.
- Cross-country Skiing. Snowfall isn’t too heavy in this part of the state, but the trails around Geode Lake do get enough to support cross-country during part of the winter season.
Tips for Visiting Geode State Park
Camping in one of the RV parks near Geode State Park is pretty straightforward, but there are a few things you should know before you go.
- An Iowa state fishing license is required if you want to fish in Geode Lake. One, three, and seven-day licenses are available online or you can pick one up at a local sporting goods store.
- Look to see what events are happening while you’re RV camping near Geode State Park. This includes park activities along with things happening in surrounding towns.
- Find some geodes, but don’t pick them up. The only things that you can harvest in Iowa state parks are mushrooms, nuts, and fruit.
- Don’t take your RV down Snake Alley in Burlington, the “crookedest street in the world.” Navigate those tight curves on foot instead.
- If you’re staying in one of Geode State Parks RV parks during the fall, set aside a day to visit nearby Harvestville Farms, which has corn mazes, wagon rides, and a huge pumpkin patch.
RV Rental for Geode State Park
With so many great things to do in Geode State Park, are you ready to start your RV rental adventure?
Getting an RV rental for Geode State Park is easy with Cruise America. Not only is there a wide selection of vehicles, for nimble truck campers to full-size RVs ready to accommodate seven people, but each of their rentals undergoes a thorough inspection after each use.
Contact Cruise America today to go RV camping in Geode State Park!