Best Spots to Picnic

Few things scream summer quite like a quaint, outdoor picnic or barbecue. And fortunately, Iowa’s landscape boasts miles of gorgeous, untouched land that’s perfect for picnicking. Here are a few of the best spots to picnic in Iowa this summer.

Eagle Point Park


Few places in Iowa are quite as spectacular as Eagle Point Park—a 164-acre public park that not only overlooks the Mississippi River, but also provides otherworldly views of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. Beyond its pretty unmissable views, Eagle Point is also home to a handful of picnic tables, grills, public pavilions and kid-friendly play equipment. Admission is $1 per car; $5 per bus. Bicycles and pedestrians are free. Eagle Point Park is open Sunday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., from the first Saturday in May through the fourth Sunday in October. For more information, visit www.cityofdubuque.org

Stone State Park

Sioux City

Nestled within the ravines adjacent to Big Sioux River is Stone State Park—a 1,069-acre park that overlooks the South Dakota-Iowa border and is favored by locals and tourists alike for its vibrant wildlife and community of critters that can be spotted all throughout the area. Stone State Park also encompasses a number of exciting hiking trails, lodging accommodations and picnic shelters, for those looking to enjoy a more secluded meal in the park. Note that park gates are closed after 10:30 p.m. For more information, visit iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com

Leach Park Photo credit: City of Bettendorf

Leach Park


Located just along the Mississippi River in Bettendorf is Leach Park—a public park which encompasses a vibrant space of natural land, complete with two picnic shelters and a handful of other covered picnic tables. The main allure of Leach Park is its proximity to the Mississippi River, which provides visitors the opportunity to get a closer glimpse at one of America’s grandest rivers. For more information, visit www.bettendorf.org

Backbone State Park


While Backbone State Park boasts beauty at every turn, the park’s real highlight is in its eclectic character and rich history. Backbone State Park is Iowa’s oldest state park and was dedicated in 1919. Today, the destination is celebrated for its picturesque indoor/outdoor picnic area, easy beach access and much more. For more information, visit iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com.  

Pikes Peak State Park


Pikes Peak State Park really has it all—gloriously lush trees and brush, towering bluffs, enchanting views of the surrounding waterways and even picnic-friendly additions that allow visitors to take in McGregor’s beauty all the more comfortably. With picnic shelters and closed gazebo areas, Pikes Peak State Park is a can’t-miss destination for a picnic in Iowa. For more information, visit www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/.

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