Bellevue State Park RV & Campground Guide

Iowa

Bellevue State Park

is one of the most unique and beautiful state parks in the Iowa area, rich in archaeological, historical and natural beauty. With 770 acres including timbered walking trails, a unique butterfly sanctuary and best of all, high bluffs with scenic views of the Mississippi River, Bellevue State Park is the perfect spot for those who love recreation within nature and those who just love to relax and take in all the beauty. 

Bellevue State Park is divided into two separate tracts, the Nelson Unit and the Dyas Unit, which are located about 2 miles apart from one another. Continue reading to find out what else makes this State Park so unique, and you may want to load up the RV for a visit this year!   

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Weather
Spring 26-71 F
Summer 58-85 F
Fall 29-75 F
Winter 17-33 F
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Nearby Cities
Dubuque, IA
Pleasant Creek, IA
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Bellevue State Park

After a day enjoying nature, there’s nothing better than taking a nice hot shower in your private bathroom, grabbing a snack from your stocked kitchen and getting cozy in a comfortable bed. If you’ve decided to rent an RV for your next camping trip, considering using  RVshare.com. The world-class team is quick to help you find a perfect, totally custom RV that fits into your budget. Plus, all rentals come with nationwide insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance.

After you’ve selected the perfect RV, it’s time to find the perfect camping site. There is no camping in the Nelson Unit of Bellevue State Park, but there are a wide variety of campsites in the Dyas Unit. They offer electrical hookups, modern restrooms, showers and a sanitary dumping station. The campsites are available to be rented in advance but a quarter of the sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so make your reservation well in advance, or consider camping offsite. There are a wide variety of campgrounds and RV parks in the area. Here are some worth checking out:

Lakehurst Riverside Campground

Located just a half hour from Bellevue State Park along the Maquoketa River, Lakehurst Riverside Campground is a family-friendly RV park and campground nestled right in nature in a peaceful setting, surrounded by a variety of trees, wildflowers, bluffs and the river. Rates begin at $25 a night.

Water hookup: yes

Electrical hookup: yes

Sewer hookup: no

Wifi: no

Pet-friendly: no

Other amenities: restroom facilities with shower, primitive sites available, large pavilion available for rent for parties and receptions. For more information, click here.

Hoot Owl Hollow Campground and RV Park

Set on a tree-lined area behind Catfish Creek in the rolling hills of Eastern Iowa, Hoot Owl Hollow Campground and RV Park is a family-friendly RV park with full hookups and tent sites available as well. Visitors can rent a site for long or short term.

Water hookup: yes

Electrical hookup: yes

Sewer hookup: yes

Wifi: no

Pet-friendly: no

Other amenities: pool, pavilion available for rent, swings and sandbox. For more information, click here.

RV Rentals Near Bellevue State Park

Nearby RV Rentals

Restaurants

What to Do at
Bellevue State Park

Inside Bellevue State Park

Bellevue State Park is known for its beautiful scenic views, rich history and unique features such as the butterfly garden. From hikes to picnic areas with stunning views and much more, there is something for everyone in your group to enjoy. Some of the things that make the State Park unique include:   

Hiking and Nature Activities – Between the two units of Bellevue State Park, there are plenty of hiking and nature activities! In the Nelson Unit, there are three trails, each offering a unique experience: scenic views of the Mississippi River, a trail through the butterfly garden and restored prairie and a limestone quarry with views of a primitive limestone kiln. In the Dyas Unit, there are over 5 miles of trails offering scenic overlooks, a stream with wildlife, plentiful spring flowers and much more.  

Nelson Unit Butterfly Garden – Located in the Nelson Unit, the Butterfly Garden is truly a must-visit! Visitors can walk through the area to take in almost 60 different species of butterflies, a frog pond and array of flowers. The area includes over one hundred separate plots on one acre, each featuring plants and flowers that provide food and habitat for the butterflies.

South Bluff Nature Center – Also located inside the Nelson Unit, the South Bluff Nature Center offers an educational glimpse into Bellevue State Park. Visitors can enjoy a variety of interesting and educational displays on the animals, plants and geology of the State Park.

Picnicking – After a hike taking in the beautiful sights within Bellevue State Park, enjoying a snack or meal is a fun way to relax! There are a few picnicking opportunities in the Nelson Unit, which offer views of the Mississippi River. Open picnic shelters and a lodge (perfect for family events or larger parties) may be reserved online through the park reservation system.

Outside Bellevue State Park

The beauty of Iowa doesn’t end at the park limits! When you’re done enjoying the nature and recreation experiences within Bellevue State Park, take a quick trip to experience what the area has to offer. From restaurants with panoramic views to unique crystal caves and educational experiences, there is so much to do! Here are some of the experiences worth checking out:

Restaurants

Enjoy a delicious meal inside a historic mill or along the River – there are plenty of options for restaurants that have great food and even better atmospheres! Here are some nearby restaurants worth checking out:

Potter’s Mill

Located inside a historic, restored 175-year old mill, visitors and locals alike enjoy Potter’s Mill for delicious BBQ and southern specialties, plus live music every weekend. It’s a must-stop destination to experience award-winning cuisine and internationally acclaimed musicians.

Type: Southern

Location: Bellevue, IA

Spruce Harbor Inn

At Spruce Harbor Inn, the food is just as good as the scenic views! Located right on the Mississippi River, the casual atmosphere features panoramic views of the River. There is something for everyone on the menu, including fish and seafood, chicken, steaks, burgers and much more.

Type: Seafood

Location: Bellevue, IA

Off Shore Bar and Grill

If you love to dine outdoors, the Off Shore Bar and Grill is a perfect choice! Featuring three spacious outdoor terraces, you can enjoy delicious food and panoramic views of the Mississippi River. From salads to wings, pizza, burgers and more, there is something to keep even the pickiest eaters in your family happy!

Type: American

Location: Bellevue, IA

Shopping

Kennedy Mall

Whether you’re looking for a way to occupy a rainy day or a place to pick up some trip essentials, Kennedy Mall has plenty of stores and dining options. Some of the stores include Dick’s Sporting Goods, Finish Line, JCPenney, Jo-Ann Fabrics and much more. 

Location: Bellevue, IA

Sightseeing

Crystal Lake Cave

First discovered in 1868, the Crystal Lake Cave is the longest living show cavern in the state. Visitors can take a guided tour through 3,000 feet of passageways that are well-lit, showing off nature’s beautiful crystal menagerie and intricate formations. Kids can even mine their own fossils and gemstones in a specialized mining area! The Crystal Lake Cave is open from May-October and there is an admission fee.

Location: Dubuque, IA

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium

The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium provides three times the fun – it’s part aquarium, part museum and part science center! Visit to learn more about the animals, history, culture and ecosystem of the Iowa rivers, from Lake Itasca all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Location: Dubuque, IA

Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark

The Mississippi River-themed waterpark offers visitors 25,000 square feet of family fun, including an indoor and outdoor tube ride, a lazy rize, two large hot whirlpools and water chutes.

Location: Dubuque, IA

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How to Get to
Bellevue State Park

Bellevue State Park features two separate tracts, the Nelson Unit and the Dyas Unit. The Nelson Unit is at the immediate south edge of Bellevue on U.S. 52, atop a 300-foot limestone bluff. The Dyas Unit is two miles further south on U.S. 52. For more information and directions, click here.

Entering Bellevue State Park

No need to worry about entrance fees to Bellevue State Park - Iowa State Parks do not charge entrance fees!  

History buffs, nature lovers, butterfly watchers and more enjoy themselves at Bellevue State Park. The entire family is sure to find something to do on this camping vacation! When you post your fun vacation photos on social media, don’t forget to tag us, or shoot us a photo and some details at [email protected]. We may just feature your story on our blog or social media channels. Happy camping!