10 Iowa Beaches

With spring in our midst and summer right around the corner, it’s that time of the year to start planning trips to the beach to cool off in the waters and soak up the sun. Here are 10 top beaches in Iowa to help you plan the perfect warm-weather getaway. 

Big Spirit Lake

Dickinson County 

Known as one of the largest lakes in Iowa, Big Spirit lake rests in Dickinson County. The natural body of water houses rare fish species like Bluegill, Pumpkinseed and various types of Carp, making for the perfect spot for fishing. The lake also features fish-cleaning stations, boat docks, grills and picnic tables as well to help you serve up your catch of the day.  

Emerson Bay State Beach


Emerson Bay in Milford offers its visitors crystal-clear waters and the perfect family-friendly spot for summer. The beach offers more than just its cool waters but also has picnic tables, camping spots and even a playground for little ones.

Big Creek State Park Beach

Polk County

This sandy coastline hidden in Polk City is perfect for more than just its waters but also its outdoor activities, with sand volleyball courts, large playgrounds and piers for fishing. The beach also houses covered picnic areas that you can reserve for gatherings and events.  

Lake Macbride State Park Beach


Lake Macbride is a just-right spot to bring little ones along for a beach day. The shoreline is shallow (there are ropes marking where the water gets deeper) and the waters are calm, with little to no waves crashing. The beach’s amenities include food concessions for when you work up an appetite, and water sport rentals featuring jet skis, kayaks, motorboats and more. 

Lake Red Rock

Des Moines

Venture into North Overlook Campgrounds in Des Moines, and there you will find Lake Red Rock, Iowa’s largest lake spanning more than 15,000 acres of water. The beach offers visitors clean showers and bathrooms, camping spots, concession stands and rentals for water activities, and much more. 

West Okoboji 

Dickinson County

Okoboji is famous for being the world’s third bluest lake, with its cooler colors forming from glacial movements from the north. The great lake is ideal for swimming on a sunny day, water sports and picnics in the shade. The lake rests next to multiple rental homes and resorts for guests to stay overnight at Okoboji. 

Lake Icaria


Nestled in Corning, Lake Icaria has more than 300 feet of soft sand on its shoreline and incredible views of its surrounding botanical life. Visitors who venture to the beach can expect to find volleyball courts, playgrounds as well as grills and picnic tables for a beachside cookout.

Clear Lake City Beach

Clear Lake City

True to its name, Clear Lake City is known for its crystal-clear waters and soft sand. If you don’t fancy a swim during your visit, the beach also has hiking trails surrounding its waters that lead to stunning bird’s-eye views of the lake, as well as damp sand for laying out on to catch a tan or make sandcastles. 

Honey Creek State Park Beach


Honey Creek is located on the shores of Lake Rathbun and is the perfect spot for beach lovers of all ages. The beach features shallow waters for the kids to safely swim, a pier to tan or fish on, and a shop to rent a bike and venture onto nearby trails. 

Gull Point 


Known as one of the several great lakes in Iowa, Gull Point in Northwest Iowa is hidden inside Gull Point State Park. Aside from the activities inside the national park, the lake’s surrounding area is filled with all the makings of a fun day, from a large playground to horseback riding on the shoreline.

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