Dotted with a network of rivers and lakes, Iowa is open for surprises as you discover Iowa's magnificent scenic beauty. That is, in lake beaches that provide Iowan's with ideal surroundings for maintaining your summer cool in the Hawkeye State.
The state park system is where to begin your Iowa beach adventure, with dozens of opportunities to relax the day away on sandy beaches. Places like West Okojobi Lake, Gull Point State Park beach, Arnolds Amusement Park beach and the beach at Pikes Point are some of the best rated.
In the larger cities, as well, you don't have to travel very far to beat the heat during the summer, what with Des Moines great mix of sun, sandy beaches and shade at Gray's Lake Park (rated a Top Ten Great Public Spaces in 2011) or Dubuque's warm weather playground at Grand Harbor Resort & Water Park.
Then there are acres of backyard in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo metro area at George Wyth State Park with scenic camping facilities, swimming, boating and more.
DID YOU KNOW? Iowa lake beach fun facts:
Yes. The world's largest
• Yes, there are Great Lakes in Iowa! The so-called Great Lakes include Spirit Lake, West Okoboji, East Okoboji, Upper Gar, Lower Gar and Minnewashta.
• One of the biggest tourist attractions at Lake Okoboji is Arnolds Park, "the oldest amusement park west of the Mississippi". It opened in 1889.
• North Overlook Beach is located at the state's largest lake reservoir -- Lake Red Rock -- where you'll also find Iowa's longest and highest bridge appropriately dubbed "Mile Long Bridge".
• A popular fishing and swimming location in northern Iowa, Crystal Lake is also home to the world's largest statue of a bullhead fish -- measuring about 12 foot long and 4 feet high. Other area attractions include the Buddy Holly Memorial commemorating the tragic plane crash involving the famous 50's rock 'n roll star...
Iowa State Parks & Recreational Areas - The mega-list maintained by the state's Department of Natural Resources with links to further descriptions major campgrounds, sandy lake front beaches and swimming areas.