One Tank Trip for Iowa Camping

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August 10, 2010

Iowa camping trip route mapThis One Tank Trip seen in the Woodall’s 2010 North American Campground Directory.

Iowa is thought by many to be at the center of America’s heartland, and they would be right; this is where the American ideal is alive and well. The Hawkeye State’s people are warm and friendly, who understand that you get a day’s wage for a day’s work. A great many farms run through this region, producing a sizable portion of America’s output of corn and soybeans, but there’s a lot more to Iowa than just cornfields and farming. Make Iowa your one tank trips destination and come see for yourself.

Cedar Rapids is a perfect place to start off your vacation, as it provides a blend of city and country living. You’ve got the theaters, nightlife, and fine dining opportunities available in any big city, but there’s a small town feel at work here that gives Cedar Rapids a charm all its own. There are city parks, state parks, and wide-open county parks within Cedar Rapids, providing you with plenty of places to park the rig and sit for a spell. The Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor is a hiker’s dream, with a maze-like network of interconnected trails that run through the city and countryside. There are car and motorcycle museums in town to attract even the most casual automotive enthusiast, and don’t forget to cruise through the local wine country and sample the incredible vintages they’ve got for sale.

Getting back on the road, head south on the I-380 for close to 20 miles until you pull into Coralville, a town that definitely rolls out a warm welcome to the RVer. You’ll have no trouble finding a place to hook up the rig for some convenient Iowa camping. The town’s got plenty of activities to keep you occupied for as long as you care to stay, with museums and galleries and nearby Coralville Lake. Spend a day or so by the water, and be sure to investigate the Devonian Fossil Gorge, where you’ll be able to get a close-up look at the fossilized remains of a 375-million year old ocean floor. This is definitely not something you see every day, nor will you forget it once you’ve visited.

From Coralville, drive west on the US-6 for 11 miles to your next stop, Oxford. In addition to providing ample opportunities for camping and sightseeing, there’s a very active golf community here with several courses that range from fairly basic to challenging. Whether you are on the Pro Tour, or if you’ve never picked up a club before, spend a day at any of these peaceful golf retreats and relax in the fresh air and sunshine.

Continuing west on the US-6, it’s another 5 miles before you reach Amana, site of the fascinating and historic Amana Colonies. This area is composed of buildings whose construction dates back to the mid 1800s, with wood fences and fruit trees in the yards. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped through a doorway into a simpler, slower-paced age. Pay a visit to the Amana Heritage Society Museum, where you’ll learn about the German immigrants who colonized this area in the mid-19th century. A blacksmith, general store, and original one-room schoolhouse still stand to honor those souls who settled the area. You can rent a bike and tour the surrounding area, maybe pack a picnic lunch and sit out in the middle of nowhere and just simply be. This charming town will no doubt win your heart as it has for so many who’ve come before.

History is alive and well in Marengo, your last stop on this one tank trips adventure through the Hawkeye State, which lies another 8 miles west on the US-6. Here you’ll find the Pioneer Heritage Museum, which showcases buildings from the mid 1800s into the 1930s, including log cabins, a railroad depot, and a gas station from the late 20s.

When it’s time to point the rig toward home, hopefully you’ll have seen that Iowa camping is where the past meets the present; its feet firmly planted in the old world and the new.

See a list of Woodall’s Recommended Iowa RV Campgrounds.

Planning an Iowa camping trip? Don’t miss these other great routes on one tank of fuel:
2009 Iowa One Tank Trip
2008 Iowa One Tank Trip

For a complete list of one tank trip camping routes, go to

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