Clear Lake State Park RV & Campground Guide


Clear Lake State Park is an Iowa state park near the town of Clear Lake, and it encompasses 55 acres of land, 10 of which are reserved for state-of-the-art picnic sites. The campground found at this state park is one of the most commonly visited in the Iowa state park system, and there is a historic lodge available to rent for large gatherings. This day-use lodge, known as Clear Lake Lodge, was built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration and was renovated to include modern amenities, such as an electric kitchen and a fireplace, in 1998. Just outside of the park is Clear Lake's Surf Ballroom, which was the site of performer Buddy Holly's final performance.

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Spring 36-58 F
Summer 61-83 F
Fall 37-60 F
Winter 6-23 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Clear Lake State Park

The campground at Clear Lake State Park is one of the most popular in the state, and it features modern restrooms, vault toilets, showers, and two dump stations. It has 161 electric campsites plus eight campsites with full hookups for RVs to use. Sites are a mix of pull-through and back-in types, and most pull-through sites can accommodate vehicles up to 75 feet in length. This campground is also pet-friendly and is open year-round, though some amenities may be unavailable during the winter.

Oakwood RV Park

Open April 15th-October 15th, Oakwood RV Park is located minutes from the State Park and just two blocks from the lake, in a very quiet setting. The family-friendly campground caters to big rigs with long, wide pull through sites, plus it has plenty of other amenities and recreational fun nearby. Rates begin at $35 a night.

Water hookup: yes

Electrical hookup: yes

Sewer hookup: yes

Wifi: yes

Pet-friendly: no

Other amenities: free wifi, clean bath house and more.

MacNider Campgrounds

Located about a half hour from Clear Lake State Park, MacNider campgrounds offers a wide variety of sites, plus plenty of amenities and fun! There are no reservations, all campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Rates begin at $17 a night.

Water hookup: yes

Electrical hookup: yes

Sewer hookup: yes

Wifi: no

Pet-friendly: yes

Other amenities: roadways, park lighting, tornado shelter/bathhouse, picnic shelters, office/camp store, fire rings, picnic tables and more.

RV Rentals Near Clear Lake State Park

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Clear Lake State Park

Boaters who visit this state park can enjoy paddlesport rentals at the park office, and anglers can always use the fishing jetty and cleaning station. Other amenities of the park include picnic shelters, a playground, and a swimming beach.

Inside Clear Lake State Park

Clear Lake State Park may be small at only 55 acres, it’s mighty with plenty of nature recreation and fun! Whether you’re ready to take on the Lake itself or just want to do some wildlife viewing, sunbathing or enjoy a cookout with family, there is something for all ages to enjoy. Here are some of the activities and things to do inside the park:

Clear Lake Activities – Although the 3,643-acre Clear Lake isn’t technically part of the State Park, they are located next to one another and many of the recreation activities take place on the lake! The State Park includes a 900-foot sandy beach that offers unsupervised swimming, sunbathing and of course, playing in the sand. The lake itself allows visitors to boat, jet ski, sightsee from the lake, windsurfing, sailing and angling. Clear Lake is a great place to fish for walleye, muskie, northern pike, bullheads, catfish, yellow bass and much more.

Scenic Woodford Island – A 3-acre island managed primarily for wildlife habitat, it’s the perfect area of the State Park for wildlife viewing and fishing. Some of the wildlife that visitors may see include owls, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, rabbits, songbirds and deer.

Picnicking/Shelters/Lodges – Clear Lake State Park has more than 10 acres of picnic areas with tables and grills, playground equipment and more. They are the perfect spot to enjoy a family cookout or picnic after a day spent on the lake! There are also open picnic shelters available for reservations and a day-use lodge near the beach – it was built in 1938 and is a historical facility perfect for large group events.   

Fishing Fishing

Anglers who want to fish at Clear Lake State Park can use the fishing pier right on Clear Lake to catch walleye, muskie, and northern pike. In addition, Woodford Island offers additional spots for shore fishing. The park also has a fish cleaning station for visitors to prepare their catches for mealtime.

Hiking Hiking

There are two hiking trails at Clear Lake State Park, both of which are rated easy to moderate in intensity. The Prairie Trail is a 0.7-mile trail used for both hiking and cross-country skiing, and the Bike Trail is a 0.2-mile trail that follows along the beach.


Clear Lake State Park has a boat launch area for both motorized and non-motorized boats to use. This park also offers paddleboat rentals at the park office.

Swimming Swimming

Clear Lake State Park has a 900-foot beach on the lake for unmonitored swimming. This beach can be hiked to from the picnic and campground areas, and there is an accessible concrete trail along the beach, too.


Bikers can use the short Bike Trail at Clear Lake State Park, which offers wonderful lake views. Cyclists can also ride along the roads of the park's campground for exercise or to get around.

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How to Get to
Clear Lake State Park

Clear Lake State Park can be easily accessed from the north and south by taking I-35. To reach the park from the east or west, visitors can use State Road 18. To get to the park from Rochester, Minnesota, visitors should take I-90 West for 49 miles to Albert Lea, then take exit 159A to merge onto I-35 South. From there, continue 39 miles, then take exit 193 toward Clear Lake. After that, continue on 4th Avenue South, turn left onto South 8th Street, then right onto 27 Avenue South, and left onto South Shore Drive. Turn right immediately, then turn right again to enter the park.

Entering Clear Lake State Park

There are multiple parking areas inside Clear Lake State Park, including at Clear Lake Lodge, the Lions Shelter, the Ritz Shelter, and the beach. The park office can be found at the park entrance, where visitors can stop to ask questions of park rangers.

Clear Lake State Park Entry Fee : $0.0

Frequently Asked Questions About Clear Lake State Park

What is the best time of year to visit Clear Lake State Park?

One of the best times to visit Clear Lake State Park is in the summer when the weather is pleasant and you can swim in the lake. Other popular water activities include kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, and windsurfing. However, campers may also enjoy coming to the park in the winter for less crowded dry camping, cross-country skiing, and fishing.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Clear Lake State Park?

Deer and wild turkey may be seen at Clear Lake State Park any time of year, but they most commonly show up in the fall. Other animals often found in the park's picnic area include squirrels, songbirds, and raccoons.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Clear Lake State Park?

Most campsites at Clear Lake State Park can accommodate RVs, and some are big enough for RVs up to 75 feet long. Most sites offer electrical hookups, too.

Do you have to reserve a camping spot at Clear Lake State Park and what is the cost?

Reservations are recommended at Clear Lake State Park, and campers can make reservations online through Reserve America or by phone. A select few campsites at this state park are also available on a first-come, first-serve basis, but they may not offer full hookups. The cost to camp at this campground is typically between $20 to $35 per night.

Are pets allowed at Clear Lake State Park?

Pets are allowed at this state park so long as pet owners pick up after them and keep them on a six-foot leash at all times. Pets must also not make excessive noise, and park rangers may ask for noisy animals to be removed from the park at any time.