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.
579 McCollister Blvd., Iowa City
- 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.
4530 McClintock Rd., Palo
- 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.
- 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.
3525 Highway 382 NE, Solon
- 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.
- $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.
- Bathrooms near swimming area.
- Boat rentals available (canoes, kayaks, pontoon boots, paddle boats).
- Concessions available within boat rental area.
- No alcohol allowed on the beach.
- Swimming only allowed in designated area, no swimming from boats.
2048 Hwy 6 NW, Oxford
This is a 27-acre, man-made lake, that is perfect for fishing and swimming.
- 11 a.m . to 8 p.m. daily, from the first Saturday after Memorial Day through Labor Day.
- Showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms available.
- Playground available in state park, but not near the swimming beach.
- 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.
2850 Prairie Du Chien Rd NE, Iowa City
- Day use areas of the park are open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- $5 per car for day use of park (cash).
- Annual passes available.
- 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.
- 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.
Have a great and safe summer everyone!