There are so many great places to hike, fish, ski, and enjoy nature in Siouxland! Here are some of the best state parks within 1 hour of Sioux City, and why you might love them. Know of a park I should add to the list? Send me an email or leave a comment to tell me which one!
State & County Parks in Iowa
Iowa State Parks are FREE to visit, but hunting and fishing licenses may be required. There is usually free fishing one weekend each year. In 2021, that weekend is June 4th through 6th!
Brown's Lake & Bigelow Park
- 600 acre lake with a 36 acre park
- Includes a swim beach, fishing dock, play structure, electric and non-electric campsites, a showerhouse, and more!
- Read more about Brown's Lake and Bigelow Park from the Woodbury County Parks
Hillview Recreation Area
- 275 acre park with a 3.3 acre pond
- Includes hiking, equestrian, and snowmobile trails, a tubing hill in winter, a disc golf course, and campsites and camping cabins to stay in!
- Read more about Hillview Recreation Area from Plymouth County Conservation
Five Ridge Prairie
- 964 Acres
- Features hiking trails with impressive views of the northern tip of the loess hills, and a cabin
- Read more about visiting Five Ridge Prairie with Kids
Lewis & Clark State Park
- 176 acre park on the banks of the 250 acre Blue Lake
- Includes a full-size reproduction of the keelboat used on the Lewis & Clark Expedition as well as a nature center, playground, and camping sites
- Read more about Lewis & Clark State Park from the Iowa DNR
- About 1600 acres
- Includes hiking trails, fishing dock, scenic overlooks, a playground, camping cabins, campsites, and a large lodge for special events.
- Park adjoins the lands of the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center and the hiking trails connect; I recommend visiting both!
- Read more about Visiting Stone Park with Kids
State & County Parks in Nebraska
Most Nebraska State Parks require a park entrance fee or pass, and hunting and fishing licenses may be required. There is FREE park admission and FREE fishing on some special day. For 2021, free fishing & free admission day is May 22nd, 2021.
- 219 acre lake surrounded by 520 acres of park
- Known for great fishing and for its multi-use trails great for horse riding, hiking, and biking!
- The equestrian campground even includes 14 corrals!
- Read more about Danish Alps State Recreation Area from the Nebraska parks
Ponca State Park
- Over 2,100 acres of park land
- Ponca State Park sits along the Nebraska side of the Missouri River and offers riverside fun like fishing, boating, and birdwatching.
- The park also features archery and shooting sport ranges, an outdoor swimming pool, a golf course, hiking trails, and more.
- In late summer, the park hosts the Missouri River Outdoor Expo!
- Campgrounds and camping cabins are available.
- Read more about Ponca State Park from Nebraska Parks
- 1500 acres of parkland between the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers
- Includes a nature center, reproductions & restored historical buildings, hiking and cross-country skiing trails, archery range, playground, and a working education farm!
- Read more about visiting Adams Homestead & Nature Preserve.
Spirit Mound State Historic Prairie
- 320 acres of land
- Important site for local Native American tribes, and visited by the Corps of Discovery on their famed Lewis & Clark Expedition.
- Extensive efforts have been undertaken in the 21st century to restore native prairie
- Now includes restrooms at the trailhead and interpretive signs along a hiking trail to the top of the mound
- Find out more at the Spirit Mound website
Union Grove State Park
- 110 acres
- Includes trail for hiking, biking, and equestrian use
- Find out more on the Union Grove page of the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks website