Prairie Rose State Park RV & Campground Guide


Prairie Rose State Park captures the scenic, tranquil beauty of southwestern Iowa. It's located next to the town of Harlan in Shelby County, making the park a short 60 miles away from Omaha, Nebraska, and 90 miles away from Iowa's capital in Des Moines. Prairie Rose State Park’s most notable feature is its 218-acre lake, a popular fishing and swimming destination. The lake itself is roughly half of the entire acreage of the park. The park also features multipurpose trails in several spots, which are in use both in the summer and the winter seasons for a variety of activities.

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Spring 60-70 F
Summer 80-90 F
Fall 50-60 F
Winter 15-35 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Prairie Rose State Park

RVs are ideal for visiting and touring Iowa's state parks, especially for trips longer than a weekend. With the convenience of not needing to set up or take down tents, as well as no need to worry about either hotel or cabin/lodge vacancy in parks, RVs allow for both ease of travel and packing. For those who do not own an RV, a rental is a cost-effective option for many trips. Be sure to check out RVshare if you need to find a nearby rental. 

Prairie Rose State Park East and West Campgrounds

Prairie Rose State Park features two separate campground areas with over 90 sites available overall. The East Campground, the larger of the two options, features a number of amenities, including modern showers, restrooms, and electrical hookups, that are ideal for RV campers. The West Campground also features some spots with electrical hookups and is very popular with tent campers. Camping spots can be reserved ahead of time through the Iowa State Park Reservation System, though there are also several on-the-spot sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. For the peak season of May 1-September 30, full hookups cost $19 per night. In the off-season of October 1-April 30, full hookups cost $14 per night.

Backyard RV Park

Backyard RV Park is a little over 11 miles outside of Prairie Rose State Park at 1244 Street F32 in Harlan, IA. This smaller RV park is limited to less than 20 RV spots. However, at $13 per night, the rates are very reasonable. Backyard RV Park features grass sites with free Wi-Fi, restrooms, full electrical hookups, sewer, and a pet-friendly policy.

Shelby RV Park and Country Inn Motel

Located roughly 20 miles away from the park at 15 East Street in Shelby, IA, Shelby RV Park features 125 RV spots and a 16-room motel. RV rates are $35 overnight. The campground is fairly basic, but it does offer free Wi-Fi and laundry service.

RV Rentals Near Prairie Rose State Park

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Prairie Rose State Park

Inside Prairie Rose State Park

The lake at Prairie Rose State Park features both a sizable beach for swimmers and two ramps for boaters. All kinds of boats are welcome in the lake at limited speeds, and iceboats are popular in the winter season. Fishing is also very popular at the lake, which is home to bass, crappie, catfish, and bluegill as well as two fish-cleaning docks for anglers. Other activities at the park include picnicking and hiking in the summer and snowmobiling and skiing in the winter. There are several miles of trails dedicated to these activities in different sections of the park. 

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How to Get to
Prairie Rose State Park

Fortunately, Prairie Rose State Park is relatively easy to get to with few twists and turns. The park is located just north of Exit 46 off of I-80 in Iowa, roughly 7.5 miles from the interstate on State Road M47. The park entrance is on the left-hand side of M47 when traveling north toward the park. 

For a frame of reference, from the nearest large city in Omaha, the trip is an almost straight shot on I-80 East and should take less than an hour to travel. From the nearest city in the state (Des Moines), the trip is primarily on I-80 West, and it should take just a little under 90 minutes to arrive at the park.

Entering Prairie Rose State Park

Prairie Rose State Park is open daily from 4:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. for day-use activities. Campers can access park facilities 24/7. 

Prairie Rose State Park Per vehicle : $0.0

Prairie Rose State Park is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and the memories made on such trips are often more valuable than anything spent on travel and lodging expenses. When you're ready to take a pleasant trip out to Shelby County, make sure to post about your experience and tag RVshare on social media. You can also send photos and memories to [email protected] for a chance to be featured on our blog!

Frequently Asked Questions About Prairie Rose State Park

What is the best time of year to visit Prairie Rose State Park?

Any time of year is a great time to visit Prairie Rose State Park. The park is the perfect destination for summer activities, including swimming, fishing, and boating. The park becomes a winter playground after a snowfall.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Prairie Rose State Park?

The park is full of wildlife. Birders will appreciate seeing native and migratory birds, including bluejays, Canadian geese, robins, cardinals, and more. Wildlife includes deer, pheasants, eagles, hawks, turkeys, and more.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Prairie Rose State Park?

Prairie Rose State Park has 82 sites for RVers. Only eight of those sites have full hookups, 69 sites have electric hookups, and five have no electric hooks. The campground has restrooms, showers, a dump station, and a playground.

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

Reservations are required for camping spots. Reservations can be made up to three months in advance and as late as two days before arrival. The reservation fee for online reservations is $4.50 and $6 through the call center.

Are pets allowed at Prairie Rose State Park?

Prairie Rose State Park is pet-friendly. Pets need to be on a leash that is 6 feet or shorter or contained at all times. Dogs cannot be left unattended in the campground.