Lewis And Clark State Park, Onawa IA

21914 Park Loop Onawa, IA 51040
712-423-2829     web:  http://www.stateparks.com/lewis_and_clark_state_park_in_iowa.html

Pros:  very reasonably priced ($16/$19), full hook-ups available

Cons:  Reservation system issues, confusion over available sites

We stayed at this state park campground on a trip from Ohio to Yellowstone.  We were unsure how far we would make it travelling the first day, so we did not have reservations.  We did call on the road to see if spots were available at the Park office during open hours but our calls were never answered.  We tried Reserve America and were told they could not tell us if any sites were available, and that sites could only be reserved if more than two days in advance.  We took out chances and were able to secure a site – although there was confusion about sites that were actually available and we later were forced to move sites.

There are 112 sites, 100 with electrical hookups and 12 with full hook-ups.  Many are lake view.  Half of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. We stayed at site 108, then 89. The rates were very reasonable ($16/$19)  There is no camp store but there was firewood available for $5 with proceeds benefitting a local Girl Scout troop.  There is no cable or wifi but be did have adequate cell phone coverage.  Check-out time is 3:00.


The main roads are paved and the sites are gravel.  Although fairly close to the highway, we did not hear road noise.  The landscaping was average and typical for state park campgrounds.  Many of the sites backed up to the water, but did not appear to be mowed recently.  This may have been due to recent rain in the area.  There are many nicely shaded sites with mature trees (Cottonwood, Maple, etc.)  There were some areas with wildflowers and the campground is adjacent to a nature preserve.

Rating:  (one to five lanterns with 5 being the highest)


Family/Pet Friendly:

The campground sits on Blue Lake, a 250 acre lake that is good for fishing.  There are no motor speed restrictions, and there is a boat ramp in the campground. Kids can enjoy the basketball hoop, a pretty nice playground, and a theater area.  There is a youth camp and many activities throughout the year including the Lewis and Clark festival every June.  Be sure to check out the  full-sized reproduction of Lewis and Clark’s keelboat/barge, and visit the information center for lots of interesting displays and information.

There is no fenced in dog park, or any designated pet walk areas but there are many open grassy areas, and some short walking trails.



Area Attractions:

There are not a lot of restaurants nearby, but there was a McDonalds and Dairy Queen.  Sioux City is located 38 minutes north. If you are a history buff, there are many things to enjoy.  Visit Sergeant Floyd’s monument and Riverboat museum.  There are also several chain restaurants here.






I had an “oops” moment and did not take pictures of the showerhouse, mainly because we had a site with full hook-ups.  But my husband did check out the showers.    There are 3 hooks and a small bench in the dressing area. There are three stalls per side, and the showers are push button (25 seconds) and no temperature control.  Each shower stall has its own door, but no toilet in the room.  The showerhouse was average in terms of cleanliness.  There are also pit-toilets, which were relatively clean but there was no toilet paper until late into our second day of camping.




Overall Rating:


This camp ground is very affordable and nice to have some full hook-up availability.