Guide to Beaches and Lakes in the Iowa City Area

Nothing says summer like a trip to the beach! Even though we are far from the coasts, you may be surprised to know there are several available in landlocked Iowa. Check out this guide to beaches and lakes in the Iowa City area.


Guide to Beaches and Lakes in the Iowa City Area

Please know that information in this guide is subject to change. Please verify before heading out to avoid any unpleasant surprises! It’s a good idea to bring a mask and keep your distance from others. The Iowa DNR has a statement regarding COVID-19.

Beaches and Lakes in the Iowa City area


Terry Trueblood Recreation Area

579 McCollister Blvd., Iowa City
319-855-3455

Amenities

  • 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. Operations may be closed or limited due to COVID-19.

Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area

4530 McClintock Rd., Palo
319-436-7716

Hours

  • The beach is open from 4 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Alcohol, glass containers, and pets are not allowed within the fenced swimming area.

Amenities

  • Fenced swimming area (swimming is only allowed within the designated area). Restrooms and showers located at the swimming area.
  • Lake stocked with several types of fish.
  • 8 1/2 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and running.
  • A “no-wake lake” policy allows for canoeing, diving, SCUBA, pontoon boats.
  • Three camping areas are available within the park.
  • Two small shelters and a day lodge that can be reserved via the online reservation system.

Lake MacBride State Park

3525 Highway 382 NE, Solon
319-624-2200

Beaches and Lakes in the Iowa City area

Hours

  • Swimming beach: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Boat rentals: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday/Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost

  • $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 a price list.

Amenities

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

Beaches and lakes in the Iowa City area

Other Information

  • No alcohol allowed on the beach.
  • Swimming only allowed in designated area, no swimming from boats.

Kent Park

2048 Hwy 6 NW, Oxford

This is a 27-acre, man-made lake, that is perfect for fishing and swimming.

Hours

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

Cost

  • Free!

Amenities

  • Showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms available.
  • Playground available in state park, but not near the 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
319-338-3543

Hours

  • Day use areas of the park are open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost

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

Amenities

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

Other Information

  • Check out the website for more helpful information.
  • 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 three swimming beaches.
  • Life jackets are available for loan for children weighing less than 90 lbs and are available at the visitors center. Must be checked out by an adult with ID shown.

If beaches and sand aren’t your thing, check out this guide to Iowa City Area Pools and Splash Pads for more great options for cooling off in the summer sun. Please be aware that capacity limitations or other rules specific to the COVID-19 pandemic may be in place.

Guide to Pools and Splash Pads in the Iowa City Area

 

Have a great and safe summer everyone!

Sarah is a proud Iowa native who currently lives in North Liberty with her husband and 2 sons. She grew up in rural Benton county and moved to the Iowa City area in 2005 to attend graduate school at the University of Iowa in Physical Therapy. Now she balances raising two growing boys with a work as a pediatric physical therapist. Outside of work and family, Sarah loves music, playing her cello, running, baking, crochet, church activities, and cheering for the Hawkeyes and the Minnesota Vikings.

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