Best Beaches in Iowa

Sharing is caring!

Best Beaches in Iowa

Iowa may be a landlocked state in the heart of the United States but we do have several lakes and beach destinations! It may not be Gulf Shores, but there are some beaches in Iowa to explore. We have gathered some of our favorites and popular ones throughout the state of Iowa. Before heading to the beach and/or swimming in an Iowa lake, make sure you check the Iowa DNR (Iowa Department of Natural Resources) Beach Monitoring page to make sure it is safe to swim and play. Take a look to see how many you have visited or check some out this summer. 

Check out these other fun resources for your outdoor adventures in Iowa:

Ainsworth-Orleans Beach

Address: 25040 140th St, Spirit Lake, IA 51360

Ainsworth-Orleans Beach is located on the south shore of Big Spirit Lake, which is the largest natural lake in Iowa and part of the Iowa Great Lakes Region. Enjoy the sandy beach, swim in the lake, or play at the waterside playground. There is a boat ramp, dock, and restrooms. Adjacent to the beach is the spillway where the water from Big Spirit Lake enters and flows through to the chain of lakes. 

Arnolds Park Amusement Park Beach

Address: 243 W Broadway St, Arnolds Park, IA 51331

Head to the heart of Okoboji and spend time at Arnolds Park Amusement Park Beach. The sandy beach is free and right next to the famous amusement park. Rent a jet ski, boat, or paddle boat, or even try parasailing on the lake. Of course, after the beach, you will want to make a stop at Arnolds Park Amusement Park! There is tons of fun to be had in Okoboji, take a look.

Big Creek State Park

Address: 8794 NW 125th Ave, Polk City, IA 50226

Big Creek State Park is located just north of Saylorville Lake in Polk City. There are a variety of activities throughout the park such as hiking trails, a disc golf course, and of course, the beach! The sandy beach is located on the 866-acre lake. Just off the beach is a giant playground for kids to enjoy. Get on the lake and rent a kayak, paddleboard, or pontoon. After, rent a bike to check out the rest of the park. 

Clear Lake City Beach Park 

Address: S Lakeview Dr, Clear Lake, IA 50428

Clear Lake City Beach Park is located right off of downtown Clear Lake. Aside from the sandy beach, they have a splash pad, boat ramp, and a playground just across the street. They conveniently have restrooms and outdoor showers available for use. There are plenty of restaurants and shops for you to browse through too. Take a look at our giant guide to tons of fun in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Honey Creek State Park 

Address: 12194 Honey Creek Pl, Moravia, IA 52571

Honey Creek State Park is a great place to get in touch with nature. Discover the five miles of trails, take the Woodland Interpretive trail with 17 ancient Woodland Native American mounds, or get on the beach! Boat and fish on Rathbun Lake and enjoy the beach.  Stay at one of the four rustic cabins or campgrounds with modern sites or stay close by at Honey Creek Resort

Lake Macbride State Park

Address: 3525 Highway 382 NE, Solon, IA 52333

Lake Macbride is located about 30 minutes north of Iowa City and not too far from Cedar Rapids. This 940-acre natural lake is a great place to spend a summer’s day. The state park has seven miles of hiking trails, a fishing pier, boat rentals such as pontoons, motor boats, canoes, kayaks or paddle boards, and campgrounds too. Soak up the sun on the sandy beach, and reserve a shelter or day-use lodge for your group. Concessions and a playground are located near the beach as well. 

Oak Grove Recreation Area 

Address: 5798 NW 98th Ave, Polk City, IA 50226

Oak Grove Recreation Area is located on Saylorville Lake in Ankeny. It is the only designated swimming area on the lake. Saylorville is a 26,000-acre lake that is great for boating, fishing, and hiking in the many recreation areas. Oak Grove is a large, sandy beach, perfect for a day in the sun. Rest on the beach or play volleyball at the sand volleyball court.  It has two group picnic areas with electric and water hookups. There are restrooms and a playground by the picnic areas too. 

West Lake Beach

Address: 14910 110th Avenue Gate 1, Davenport, IA 52804

West Lake Beach is located in Davenport on Lake of the Hills. The large sandy beach has lifeguards on duty during the regular summer season. Your kids (and you) will love the inflatable waterpark! Take a break and get something from the concession stand. Then get on the lake and rent a paddle boat, kayak, or fishing boat. 

Raccoon River Beach

Address: 2500 Grand Ave, West Des Moines, IA 50265

Raccoon River Beach is located on the 232-acre Blue Heron Lake. This 500-foot-long beach has plenty of space for you to build sandcastles, read a book, or take a nap. Be sure to stop at the brand-new playground, located right behind the beach. Get on the water and rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddle board from the boathouse. The boathouse is located across the lake. Have a dog? Head to the Raccoon River Dog Park!

Jackie Fioritto

Jackie Fioritto

Hi, I’m Jackie. I am a teacher who recently became a stay-at-home mother of two. My husband and I moved to Des Moines from Green Bay, Wisconsin a few years ago. Originally, I am from Chicago, Illinois. My family has loved exploring Des Moines and all that it has to offer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *