Beaches and Outdoor Swimming Areas Near Iowa City

Nothing says summer like a trip to the beach.  Sun + sand + water = hours of fun for all.  Even though we are far from the coasts here in landlocked Iowa, we are lucky to have a number of great Iowa City beaches and swimming areas within just a short drive from home.  Check out the our interactive map and descriptions to find your next summer memory!

Note: All information in this guide is subject to change.  Please verify information before heading out to avoid any unpleasant surprises!

Click here for link to map.

 Terry Trueblood Recreation Area

579 McCollister Blvd
Iowa City, IA 52245 319-855-3455


  • canoe, kayak, paddle boarding, fishing and approximately 2 miles of paved trails
  • Rentals available seasonally through Fin & Feather H2O, call 319-855-3455 for more information.

Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area

4530 McClintock Rd
Palo, IA 52324 319-436-7716


  • Call ahead to learn about seasonal closure due to day-use lodge construction


  • Lake stocked with several types of fish, swimming area on the north end
  • 8 1/2 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and running
  • A “no-wake lake” policy allows for canoeing, diving, SCUBA, pontoon boats

Lake MacBride State Park

3525 Highway 382 NE
Solon, IA 52333    319-624-2200


  • Swimming beach: 6 AM – 6 PM
  • Boat rentals: M-F 9AM – 7 PM, Sat/Sun 8 AM-8 PM


  • $5/car to enter the state park, paid in cash (some reports say this is inconsistently collected)
  • Boat rentals: varies based on time and type of boat. Call (319) 624-2315 for price list


  • Bathrooms near swimming area
  • Boat rentals available (canoes, kayaks, pontoon boots, paddle boats)
  • Concessions available within boat rental area

Other Information

  • No alcohol allowed on beach as of 2016 swimming season
  • Swimming only allowed in designated area, no swimming from boats
iowa city beaches swimming
Ready for a day of canoeing a Lake MacBride!

Kent Park

27-acre man-made lake perfect for fishing and swimming.

2048 Hwy 6 NW
Oxford, Iowa 52322


  • 11:00 a.m . to 8:00 p.m. daily from the first Saturday after Memorial Day through Labor Day.


  • Free!


  • Showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms available
  • Playground available in state park, but not near swimming beach

Other Information

  • No lifeguards on duty, swim at your own risk
  • Boat dock available, but no boat rentals
  • Swimming only allowed from the beach, no swimming from boats
  • No alcohol or pets allowed on beach
  • No concessions available

Coralville Lake: Sugar Bottom, Sandy Beach, West Overlook

2850 Prairie Du Chien Rd Ne
Iowa City, IA 52240-7820
Phone: (319) 338-3543


Day use areas of the park are open 6 AM – 10 PM


$5 per car for day use of park (cash).  Annual passes available.


  • Bathrooms and changing areas available and Sugar Bottom
  • Visitors Center available within the park
  • Bike and hiking trails available within the park, as well as camping areas

Other Information:

  • Information can be found here
  • Public swimming beach located near mountain bike trail in Sugar Bottom Recreation Area
  • Sandy Beach and West Overlook beaches are located in the Day Use recreation areas
  • A separate beach is available only for campers registered at the Sugar Bottom Campground
  • Alcohol is not allowed on any of the 3 swimming beaches
  • Life jackets are available for loan for children weighing less than 90 lbs, available at the visitors center.  Must be checked out by an adult with ID shown.

If beaches and sand aren’t your cup of tea, check out this guide to Iowa City Area Pools and Splash Pads  for other great cooling off options.

Have a great summer everyone!


Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.


  1. thank you for posting this particular article – I have a local friend that lives near Iowa city and I am a fan of Coralville Lake’s swimming area as that was a lot of fun – are there any more swimming areas you can think of that are family friendly?


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