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New and improved campground at Lake Manawa State Park in Council Bluffs opens; online reservations available

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 19:47:00-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — For Park Manager Grant Carstens, the old campground at Lake Manawa State Park was out-of-date with maintenance issues. Longtime campers like Denise Benedict noticed it too.

"Honestly, there was not a lot of upkeep on the last one, I feel like, it was kind of just a drag, kind of went downhill quite a bit. When we were camping, we had a tree snap on the top of one of our tents, so we left earlier that year," Benedict said.

That's why park leaders decided to go back to the drawing board, opening a new campground.

Some of the amenities include a shower house, full hook-up campsites, a gated entrance for campers and a paved walking trail connected to the beach. There's also the Dreamland Playground.

"It's clean, paved and the bathrooms are really nice," campers Lynn & Marla Patrick said.

You can also make online reservations for all 40 of the campsite as far out as 90 days in advance, up until 9 p.m. on the same day of your arrival, but that's if a site is available.

"Makes it a lot easier for campers to figure out what's available and everything like that. If you go online, you can see which sites are available for which days," Carstens said.

Nebraskans and other non-Iowans visiting the park will have to pay a fee of $5 for the day if they're enjoying the beach or playground. But if they have a campsite rented, they don't have to pay the fee.

While Benedict would like more shade at the campground, she appreciates a "staycation" as a mother from Council Bluffs given the high costs of fuel and travel.

"I get all the family together. That's nice. All the kids come. We don't get a lot of that because a lot of them are grown and out of the house, have their own families," Benedict said.

The campgrounds are fully booked this Fourth of July weekend. Iowa DNR stresses that fireworks are prohibited in state parks, but you can still use items like sparklers.

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