10 Best Family Beaches in Iowa [for 2023]
Iowa may not be known for its beaches, but the state is home to many beautiful lakes and spectacular rivers. which provides a wonderful opportunity for families to enjoy the water and the great outdoors.
The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are the most prominent and offer sandy beaches where families can swim, kayak, paddleboard, and engage in other fun activities. The beaches are surrounded by stunning natural backdrops and panoramic views, making them perfect for photography and relaxation.
The beaches provide an excellent opportunity for family bonding as they can have picnics, build sand castles and explore the beautiful scenery of the area. Iowa’s beaches are a hidden gem, and families should pack their bags and find a fun seaside getaway for themselves with our list of the best family beaches in Iowa for a memorable vacation experience.
1. Emerson Bay State Beach, Milford
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Emerson Bay State Beach is a hidden gem situated on the shores of West Okoboji Lake, which presents crystal clear waters and a charming shore to its visitors. This pristine beach houses a wide range of activities, making it an ideal place to enjoy quality family time to the fullest.
One of the best activities at the beach is the picnic area. With plenty of waterfront picnic tables available, you can bring your own delicious packed food and enjoy them while enjoying the serene views of the lake.
For those who want to get their feet wet, the lake offers a plethora of water-based activities, such as boating and fishing. Parents can teach their kids how to fish, while youngsters can have fun building sand castles on the beach.
You’ll find plenty of recreational activities here, including a playground that’s perfect for those little ones Who don’t like swimming, modern restrooms and showers, and ample parking space. Those who want to spend more time on the beach can also pitch their tents in the campgrounds. Or there are many luxurious resorts near the beach where you can stay with the whole family, So Many Amenities Make It One of the Best Family Beaches in Iowa.
2. Honey Creek State Park Beach, Moravia
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Honey Creek State Park Beach is a great beach for your purpose and to spend the best of your vacation with kids. Located on the banks of Lake Rathbun, this beach boasts a variety of recreational activities.
Which can be enjoyed by people of all ages in their own way. Whether you want to teach your kids how to ride a bike, build sandcastles or take a boat ride, this beach has enough activities for everyone.
One of the best things about this beach is its Water adventure activities, which are great fun. You can rent a canoe, jet ski, sailboat, kayak, paddle boat, or water ski and enjoy a thrilling experience with your family.
The beach also has easily accessible restrooms and showers, a dock, and a picnic area to relax and take in the views, where you can enjoy a delicious meal together. For a more comfortable stay, you can book a cabin in the park.
Recommend renting. These cabins come with electricity, toilet and shower facilities, basic furnishings, heat and air conditioning, a microwave, and a refrigerator. This makes it a convenient option for families who want to spend more time enjoying the beach and its plethora of amenities.
3. Big Creek State Park Beach, Polk City
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Big Creek State Park Beach is one of the best family beaches in Iowa. Located in Polk City, this popular beach is especially known for its kid-friendly facilities and expansive shoreline, making it a great place to spend a day with the family.
The playground located near the beach is perfect for little ones to explore and play, while the expansive shoreline allows them to build sandcastles, make sculptures, and play beach volleyball. Teens and older kids can enjoy fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing One can also indulge in a number of water activities such as kayaking, paddle boating,
windsurfing, and sailboating. Crystal-clear waters and beautiful views make for a perfect day on the water, and the beach’s amenities and services ensure that everyone in the family has a great time. If you’re planning to host a family gathering or celebration, There are several picnic shelters available to rent at Big Creek State Park Beach.
These shelters provide shade, ample space, and a little more privacy for your group. It is important for you to note that you must call ahead of time and make a reservation to secure accommodation.
4. Lake Macbride State Park Beach, Solon
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Lake McBride State Park Beach is a safe and enjoyable beach for families with young children. The beach has a shoreline and shallow water, making it perfect for kids to play without worrying about strong waves or currents.
Plus, there’s a designated roped-off area that adds an extra layer of safety for parents. Along with swimming, Lake McBride State Park Beach offers a variety of activities to keep families entertained all day long. You can Pontoons, motorboats, canoes, paddle boats, and kayaks can be rented for scenic views of the lake, and a bait shop is available for fishing enthusiasts.
Families can enjoy an abundance of delicious snacks and treats at the food concessions, while well-maintained restrooms and showers are available for added convenience. The highlight here is that it caters to families with diverse interests.
There is a playground for children and four golf courses within a 24-minute drive for families who enjoy playing golf after enjoying water-based activities.
5. West Lake Beach, Davenport
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West Lake Beach is an excellent choice for a family vacation spot in Iowa. It is situated in a beautiful location with a well-maintained sandy beach and clear sparkling water. This beach is a top pick for families with toddlers because it is one of the safest beaches in Iowa.
There are alert lifeguards on duty who are always ready to jump into action in case of any emergency. Additionally, there is a separate swimming area for babies and young children, making it easy for parents to keep an eye on their little ones.
The water quality here is checked weekly, ensuring the water is safe for swimming. is safe The expansive shoreline is perfect for building sand sculptures, and the shaded picnic areas are a relaxing beachside retreat to eat and take a break from the heat.
Beach lounge chairs are also available for you to spend a peaceful relaxing day in the sun. An expert tip Hiring one of the boats on the beach for a relaxing cruise on the water while you watch the sunset with your loved ones. It is a great way to spend quality time with family and create unforgettable memories.
6. Lake Icaria Beach, Corning
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Lake Icaria Beach is a beautiful beach located in Iowa that is perfect for families and everyone in the family who loves a natural tranquil setting. The beach boasts 300 feet of sandy shoreline, giving you ample space to relax and sunbathe.
The stunning views of the surrounding nature add to the overall experience, making it a peaceful and serene environment. One of the main reasons to recommend this beach is its family-friendly atmosphere.
The beach is equipped with amenities that cater to families, including stand-up grills, picnic tables, and clean restrooms. You can cook and eat here in comfort while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
The beach has a sand volleyball court and a playground, providing a fun and safe environment for youngsters to play. Lake Ikaria Beach offers plenty of activities during the summer season. Food trucks serve delicious food and treats, making this a great place to enjoy some local cuisine. The beach also has huge floating mats which add to the overall excitement and give you a unique experience.
7. Whitebreast Beach, Knoxville
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Whitebreast Beach, located on the shores of Lake Red Rock, is one of the best family beaches in Iowa. The beach attracts people of all ages with a variety of fun-filled activities. The crystal clear waters of the beach are known for swimming, kayaking, water skiing, canoeing, and boating, giving you a plethora of water-based activities to choose from.
You can arrange a picnic at one of the beach’s picnic tables, which are equipped with grills to cook your food. Additionally, the beach offers showers and outdoor wash-off stations for guests to clean off after a day in the sand, making it easy to wash the salt and sand off your skin.
It is important to note that Red Rock Whitebreast Beach can sometimes flood due to the dam. To avoid disappointment, it is advised to call ahead of time to confirm beach conditions before planning your visit.
8. Gull Point State Park Beach, Milford
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Gulf Point State Park Beach is a great family beach, a must-see destination for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The crystal clear water, soft sand, and lush greenery of the beach make it a beautiful place to spend your time outdoors.
There are a variety of activities available here that you can enjoy with your family, which include canoeing, Sail boating, jet skiing, and power boating are included. These activities will keep everyone entertained and provide an exciting experience that you will remember for years to come.
The golden shoreline is perfect for soaking up the warmth of the sun and enjoying the soft powdery sands. You can also engage in fun activities like burying each other in the sand or building sand sculptures and castles.
Here you can fall in love with hiking and nature walks, Gulf Point State Park is a must on the self-guided interpretive trail on the west side of the beach. The trail provides a breathtaking view of the coastline and allows you to appreciate the beautiful scenery and wildlife in the area. You may also be lucky enough to spot white-tailed deer and songbirds.
9. Kent Park Beach, Oxford
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Kent Park Beach is a hidden gem in Iowa, featuring a charming beach that boasts calm waters and clean sandy shoreline. What sets it apart from other popular beaches in the region is its seclusion and quietness.
The beach is surrounded by beautiful trees, one of the best things about Kent Park Beach is that it rarely draws large crowds, allowing you to enjoy a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Whether you want to watch a novel, sunbathe or play with your kids, the beach provides the perfect setting. You can also bring a ball or frisbee with you and indulge in fun activities with your loved ones.
Here you can visit the Conversation Education Center located nearby. The center offers a variety of programs and workshops for the whole family, including prairie hikes, outdoor skills programs, day camps, and more. These activities provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about wildlife and the environment with your family.
10. Ainsworth-Orleans Beach, Spirit Lake
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Ainsworth-Orleans Beach is located on the shores of Spirit Lake, offering crystal-clear waters for you and your family to swim, fish, or participate in water sports like water skiing. The park here is perfect for kids to enjoy the energy.
And also offers a playground to play favorite games. There is also a boat ramp that allows you to launch your boats and explore the lake. There are clean and accessible restrooms available for public use, making the beach a comfortable and convenient place to spend the day.
Picnic areas are also available, so families can enjoy meals and snacks together. For those looking to enjoy the beach without the crowds, this is the perfect time to visit. The weather is still mild enough to enjoy outdoor activities, but the summer crowds have thinned out. If swimming is a priority, the summer months are the best time to visit. You should also consider wearing a wetsuit if you plan to swim in cold water.