Smack dab in the middle of the country, Iowa is a roadtripper’s dream. It’s easy to pass through, but also easy to find places to visit within it. Many people think of Iowa as a flyover state, but RV travelers don’t — and for good reason.
Whether you’re just passing through Iowa or have made it your next stop, consider for a moment how, with an RV rental, Lake Manawa State Park could be your next vacation destination.
Lake Manawa State Park Facts
Lake Manawa State Park is one of the most popular attractions in the Council Bluffs/Omaha regional area, but visitors from elsewhere likely don’t know much about it. Have a look at some Lake Manawa State Park facts to help you plan your camping trip.
- Lake Manawa is a man-made lake that was first built in 1881, after a Missouri River flood.
- “Manawa” is a Native American word that means “peace and comfort.”
- A New Yorker, E.H. Odell, established the first beach area on the shores of Lake Manawa.
- Lake Manawa is called by some the “Coney Island of the Midwest.”
- Visitors to Lake Manawa State Park can enjoy outdoor activities, such as fishing, boating, and hiking.
Now that you’ve got a little background information on this beautiful location, let’s book your RV camping trip to Lake Manawa State Park!
Best Lake Manawa State Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
Truth be told, there are many good options for RV camping near Lake Manawa State Park over the border in Nebraska, even though Lake Manawa State Park is in Iowa. In any case, you can check out some of the Lake Manawa State Park RV campgrounds listed below for yourself to see which might be the right Lake Manawa State Park camping site for you and your family!
Amenities: Located in the Omaha, Nebraska area and a short drive from Lake Manawa State Park, Winsor Cove is a family-friendly, comfort-oriented RV park. Enjoy your nights preparing s’mores by a campfire, but bear in mind that the sites are electric and water only. They close for the season on October 31st, so don’t count on staying at Lake Manawa State Park RV sites like this in the colder months.
Capacity: 110 RV sites
More Information: Winsor Cove
Walnut Creek Recreation Area Campground
Amenities: For those looking for Lake Manawa State Park RV camping options, Walnut Creek Recreation Area Campground in Papillion, Nebraska is a nice choice. Papillion is a suburb of Omaha, which itself is about a 10-minute drive from Lake Manawa State Park. That makes this campground quite convenient. Here you will find electric hookups, and a pet- and kid-friendly atmosphere (fun for the whole family!). Keep in mind that it is first-come, first-served.
Capacity: 44 RV sites
More Information: Walnut Creek Recreation Area Campground
I-29 Hwy 34 Campground
Amenities: This no-frills campground has full hookups and free Wi-Fi, and the main reason to stay here is the convenience factor. You get Loess Hills views and a short drive to Lake Manawa State Park. Keep in mind that this most basic of RV parks near Lake Manawa State Park doesn’t take reservations, so you’ll need to call to ask about availability. The park also only accepts payment in cash or check, so you can grab a spot there, prepare accordingly.
Capacity: 40 RV sites
More Information: I-29 Hwy 34 Campground
Glenwood Lake Park Campground
Amenities: Glenwood Lake Park Campground is your chance to stay at Lake Manawa State Park RV sites in an urban setting. There are electric hookups and Wi-Fi, and Lake Manawa State Park is a short drive away. If you plan on choosing this campground, be warned that it is closed each winter. So, for those looking to visit and go RV camping near Lake Manawa State Park and stay overnight, it’s best to do so before it closes each November 1st!
Capacity: 20 RV sites
More Information: Glenwood Lake Park Campground
West Omaha/NE Lincoln KOA Holiday
Amenities: Located just over the Iowa-Nebraska border, the West Omaha/NE KOA Holiday is your typical RV campground of the type. Filled with trees, streaming-quality Wi-Fi, and amenities for the whole family including a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, bike kart rentals, and made-to-order pizza. Once you’re done for the day you can head back to one of the most comfortable RV parks near Lake Manawa State Park and continue the fun!
Capacity: 90 RV sites
More Information: West Omaha/NE Lincoln KOA Holiday
Best Time To Visit Lake Manawa State Park for RV Camping
The best time to visit Lake Manawa State Park might very well depend mostly on how well you deal with cold weather. You can just look at the seasonal breakdown to see which seasons hold which conditions in store for you, and go from there!
You can get a sense of what visiting Lake Manawa State Park in winter might be like by checking out the camping options, and seeing how many parks for RV camping near Lake Manawa State Park close for the season. You can’t really blame them for not expecting too many visitors or providing services, as daily highs average between 30 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, with overnight lows ranging from the high teens to low 20s.
Those wanting to catch the most snow should visit in January or February. Once the snow falls, you can enjoy Lake Manawa’s hiking trails to breathe in some of that chilly winter air!
Just as the cold begins to break, Iowa’s severe weather season begins. Yes, spring is known to be quite turbulent and wet, and Lake Manawa State Park doesn’t escape such trends. As daily average highs rise from the 50s in March to the low 70s in May, more rain falls than during any other season. April and May are particularly wet, with almost 9 inches of precipitation recorded on average.
If you don’t mind the stormy weather (there can be tornados at Lake Manawa!), then you’ll enjoy the atmosphere of a drizzle-draped hike at Lake Manawa State Park.
On paper, Lake Manawa State Park’s summer temperatures look divine, with highs in the low-to-mid 80s. Of course, that’s just an average. Temperatures in recent years have jumped into the 90s, and the steady humidity at or around 80% means that it can feel even hotter. Plus, there can be rain. Little wonder, then, that summer is considered by many to be the sweet spot, the best time to visit Lake Manawa State Park with a few caveats.
Even though summer is the most popular time to visit, bacteria in Lake Manawa itself can sometimes jump to high levels, leading the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to issue No Swim recommendations. Check before you jump in!
Many visitors to Lake Manawa State Park believe that fall is one of the best times to visit, and it’s hard to argue with their reasoning. With an RV rental, Lake Manawa State Park in the fall can be quite comfortable. Temperatures tend toward the mild side, with average highs near 80 in September falling to the low 50s by November. The rains begin to taper off in fall, and the hiking trails are usually covered with fallen leaves.
Even if fall isn’t the most popular time to visit, it might just be the most romantic time to go on a Lake Manawa State Park camping excursion!
Things To Do in Lake Manawa State Park
For residents of the Omaha/Council Bluffs area, Lake Manawa State Park is a welcome respite from the outside world. There are many outdoorsy things to do in Lake Manawa State Park, so take a gander at what you can do, and go from there.
- Boating. For those in the Council Bluffs/Omaha area who want to go boating, there’s no better location than Lake Manawa. Boaters may operate engines of any size, and there are numerous boat ramps.
- Fishing. Copious numbers of crappie, bluegill, and catfish, along with bass and walleye, await anglers at Lake Manawa year-round. Fishing is one of the most popular things to do in Lake Manawa State Park.
- Hiking. There are seven miles of paved trails at Lake Manawa State Park, enabling hikers of all ages to enjoy a stroll or a brisk walk.
- Biking. If you prefer to explore the shoreline of Lake Manawa on two wheels, you have that option on a paved bike trail.
- Picnicking. Lake Manawa State Park is a popular picnicking spot, and there are several open picnic shelters available for reservation with a modest fee.
This is just a handful of the activities available at Lake Manawa State Park. Book your trip and head to this stunning park to join in the fun!
Tips for Visiting Lake Manawa State Park
Before heading over for a Lake Manawa State Park camping trip, have a look at some of the fine print attending any visit to the recreational area.
- Fishing is a popular activity at Lake Manawa State Park, but be sure you have your Iowa fishing license before casting a line.
- Many Lake Manawa State Park RV camping areas close for the winter, but do so actually as early as November. Do your homework if planning on visiting from late fall to early spring.
- The shoreline of Lake Manawa can be muddy at certain times of year, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear.
- There is a non-resident vehicle permit fee of $5 per day.
As you book your RV camping trip to Lake Manawa State Park, make sure you do plenty of research about campsite availability and things to do each time of the year and you’ll be all set!
RV Rental for Lake Manawa State Park
With an RV rental, Lake Manawa State Park is an easy place to visit. Cruise America can hook you up with the perfect RV to visit RV campgrounds with full hookups, and enjoy all that the Council Bluffs/Omaha area has to offer.
Get in touch with Cruise America today to get on your way!