10 Best Beaches In Iowa

The Midwest might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of beaches, but Iowa has some great options for those looking for a beach getaway. From majestic cliffs to serene lake views, Iowa’s beaches are truly one of a kind. Plus, when you add all the beach activities—kayaking, canoeing, fishing—you’ve got the perfect summer escape.

Whether you’re looking to relax in the sun or explore some of Iowa’s greatest waterways, this list of the 10 best beaches in Iowa will surely have something that fits your needs. Whether you’re looking for a romantic walk on the beach or an adrenaline-filled adventure, we’ve got you covered. So pack your bag and get ready—the beach awaits!

Ready for a Getaway? Here Are Iowa’s 10 Best Beaches

Explore these great Iowa beaches with family and friends for quality fun moments.

Big Creek Beach

As far as Iowa beaches go, Big Creek Beach is one of the best. Located in Polk City, this beach offers plenty of recreation and relaxation opportunities in the heart of the state. Big Creek State Park is just 20 miles from Des Moines, making it easily accessible to anyone planning a getaway.

At Big Creek Beach, you’ll find an impressive 1,300 feet of swimming opportunities and a large sand beach. Beyond that, you’ll find plenty to do on your visit. The park offers a large playground for the youngsters, volleyball courts for friendly competition, open areas for kicking back and enjoying the sun, and shelters for picnics or parties. Plus, you’re located near Saylorville Lake—a great spot for fishing or finding other water activities.

North Overlook Beach

Nestled along the shores of Lake Red Rock, North Overlook Beach is an ideal summer getaway in central Iowa. It’s managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, who work hard to keep this beach one of the 10 best in the state.

North Overlook Beach has recently been reconstructed to increase its usability during high water periods—a great move for beachgoers! It features a playground, family-style restroom/shower facilities, beach access, a picnic shelter, and access to the paved Volksweg Trail. All this makes it a great spot for a day trip or weekend excursion.

The wide variety of facilities and activities make North Overlook Beach an ideal destination for beach-goers of any age looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some peace and tranquility among nature.

Whitebreast Beach

Whitebreast Beach offers plenty of beaches jam-packed with activities in Knoxville, IA. From May to August, this beach is open Monday through Sunday and features a variety of activities and amenities.

For starters, Whitebreast Beach provides 124 reservable campsites for those who wish to spend the night. It also boasts access to a boat ramp, swimming beach, and playgrounds for the kids. Plus, there’s an admission fee for entry — keeping the crowds low — and public restrooms are conveniently available.

This beach is perfect for those looking for something more than just sunbathing. Whether relaxing under the warm rays or playing on a boat in the lake, Whitebreast Beach offers something sure to appease everyone in your group!

Honey Creek State Park Beach

Honey Creek State Park Beach is located in Moravia, right off the shores of Rathbun Lake. It’s a popular destination for families and visitors from all over the state who search for fun in the sun. This beach offers 828 acres of rolling, timbered hills as a beautiful backdrop to your visit.

The beach also features plenty of activities for visitors of all ages. Kids love to explore and make sand castles by the shore, while adults can go kayaking or fishing on the lake. Visitors can even rent cabins or camp out overnight for the full experience. Honey Creek State Park Beach is a great spot for anyone looking for a relaxing day outdoors with family or friends.

West Lake Beach

Located near the Quad Cities,  West Lake Beach is part of the Iowa state park system, and it’s perfect for a beach getaway. It has a large sand beach, a swimming area, and a separate swimming area for infants. Lifeguards are also on duty, so you know your little ones are safe while playing in the water.

For extra fun, there’s an inflatable waterpark where you can face your fears and try out different obstacles! And if you prefer to do something more relaxing, fishing is an enjoyable activity here too! You can fish for bass, bluegill, crappie, and channel catfish.

Gull Point State Park Beach

Located on West Okoboji Lake in the city of Wahpeton, this beach offers plenty of activities to keep you and your family occupied throughout your visit.

Gull Point State Park Beach is a hiker’s delight for nature lovers, with a 1.5-mile self-guided interpretive trail that winds through woodland and prairie areas. There are also plenty of opportunities to paddle around the lake in canoes, kayaks, or rowboats – all of which can be rented at the park office. Additionally, there is a generous picnic area with grills and shelters that provide ideal spots for outdoor meals.

Not only is Gull Point State Park Beach perfect for nature-based activities, but it also offers a well-rounded variety of outdoor recreation facilities: two playgrounds for youngsters, a fishing pier for anglers, and two sand volleyball courts for those who like to play team sports outdoors. 

Ainsworth Beach

Ainsworth Beach is a safe beach in Orleans that can be considered a perfect retreat from the city for anyone ready for a getaway. A two-acre park with a long sandy beach on Big Spirit Lake. A few amenities the beach offers include playgrounds, boat ramps, docks, and restrooms.

The resort-like atmosphere offers visitors space to relax and enjoy such activities as swimming, boating, and fishing. Visitors often praise the beach for its cleanliness and beauty, with multiple reports of people remarking that they felt like they were on vacation while at Ainsworth Beach.

Kent Park Beach

Kent Park Beach has something for everyone! Located 3 miles west of Tiffin on Highway 6, this 1,062-acre park includes a great playground area, nice walking trails, and a beautiful beach. There are also numerous ponds for fishing.

The swimming beach is open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily from the first Saturday after Memorial Day through Labor Day. But even if you’re not swimming, you can still take advantage of the park’s other amenities like picnic areas and shelters. In peak season, there are even concessions and restrooms available.

Lake Icaria Beach

Lake Icaria Beach, located in Corning, is one of Iowa’s finest beaches. This beach offers something for everyone and should be on your list of places to visit. Lake Icaria has approximately 300 feet of sandy beach and an impressive modern marina boasting boat facilities.

At this beach, you can enjoy a picnic with your friends and family at one of the many shelters available or take the kids to the playground, to have fun in the sun. You’ll also be able to access restrooms, a hydrant, a sand volleyball court, numerous stand-up grills, and abundant picnic tables. Be sure to bring your own charcoal and utensils, as they are not provided at the beach.

Backbone State Park Beach

When it comes to the best-secluded beach in Iowa, Backbone State Park Beach is the place to be. This beautiful shaded park is located in Northeastern Iowa and offers an array of activities such as picnicking, camping, fishing, boating, and biking. For an even more enjoyable stay, you can rent 6-8 cabins.

The ravines around the park provide a stunning landscape, and Backbone State Park was dedicated in 1920 as Iowa’s first state park. As a result, it remains one of the most geologically unique parks in the state. In addition to its beauty, it also offers exceptional trout fishing for those looking for a unique getaway.

Is it safe to swim on Iowa beaches?

Yes, Iowa’s beaches are relatively safe for swimming, but visitors are advised to follow the water safety rules to avoid accidents. Pay attention to the warning signs and flags before entering the water, especially during strong winds, high tides, or in areas with strong currents.

Is there any lifeguard on duty on Iowa’s beaches?

Iowa’s beaches do not typically have lifeguards on duty, but most beaches are considered safe for swimming. However, it’s always better to be careful and take the necessary precautions, especially when traveling with children.

Are there any admission fees for Iowa’s beaches?

Most of the beaches in Iowa are free to enter, but some parks and recreational areas may charge an admission fee. It’s always a good idea to check the website or contact the relevant authorities to know about the entry fees in advance.


Iowa has something to offer whether you’re looking for a low-key spot to pop up a tent or a place to kick up your feet and relax. With its great range of options, from family-friendly beaches to secluded spots, Iowa has all you need for a perfect beach getaway. So grab your towels and sunglasses, and get ready to feel the sand between your toes. You won’t regret choosing Iowa as your next beach destination.

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