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Camping other than at fair grounds in August

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Austin, Texas
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Camping other than at fair grounds in August

Hello - my friend and I are road tripping to the State Fair this August. I know it is impossible to get a site at the fairground so wondered if anyone had any recommendations for camping around the area. Thanks!

Des Moines, Iowa
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1. Re: Camping other than at fair grounds in August

I don't know how busy they get around fair season, but the closest other camping I can think of is at Saylorville Lake just north of Des Moines. I've personally camped at Acorn Valley and enjoyed it quite a bit. Most of the campgrounds are run by the Army Corps of Engineers (link: http://www2.mvr.usace.army.mil/Saylorville/Camping.cfm) or there's Jester Park in the same area, run by Polk County Conservation (link: http://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/conservation/parks-trails/). There are also State Parks at Walnut Woods in West Des Moines (small campground) or Lake Ahquabi in Indianola (over half an hour away).

We've never camped at the private campgrounds near Des Moines, but I think there are some of those around as well.

Iowa
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2. Re: Camping other than at fair grounds in August

Saylorville Lake might be a good choice, but there is a little park on the east side of Altoona called Thomas Mitchell Park that allows camping. mycountyparks.com/county/Polk/Park/Thomas-Mi…

Des Moines, Iowa
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3. Re: Camping other than at fair grounds in August

I'm not a camper and have no first hand experience, but friends have recommended Timberline and also a KOA campground off I-80 between Adel and Earlham. Both would be at least 30 mins. away from the fairgrounds.

Austin, Texas
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4. Re: Camping other than at fair grounds in August

Thanks! Are the sites at both of the places you recommended nice and wooded?

Austin, Texas
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5. Re: Camping other than at fair grounds in August

I think my friend and I decided on Walnut Woods. Any more insight on it?

Des Moines, Iowa
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6. Re: Camping other than at fair grounds in August

I haven't heard anything about the camp sites, but the Walnut Woods State Park is wooded and has a remote feel to it even though it's fairly close to the airport and to West Des Moines' Valley Junction area. It should be a nice place.

Iowa
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7. Re: Camping other than at fair grounds in August

I have friends that stayed at the Timberline camp ground and they have negative reviews of that location. They said "So we went toTimberline Campground outside of Waukee, and it sucked! It cost me $92 to camp 2 nights (just for the camping spot). The pool wasn't open. And we found out that there is a firing range of some kind just north of the campground. We were woke up both mornings by gunshots at 8 am. Sucked! We will probably never go there again unless the shooting range shuts down."

Iowa
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8. Re: Camping other than at fair grounds in August

Here is a link for Walnut Woods iowadnr.gov/Destinations/…

midwest
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9. Re: Camping other than at fair grounds in August

The Des Moines Register reviewed state parks last month. Here's what it said about Walnut Woods: " Well-manicured Walnut Woods State Park in West Des Moines has overcome repeated flood damage and has new camper pads, trees and playground equipment."

You can see the article here: desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article…

Des Moines, Iowa
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10. Re: Camping other than at fair grounds in August

Walnut Woods is quite nicely wooded. It's a smaller park and a small campground, so you may want to either reserve it in advance or have a backup plan. This is the Iowa DNR site for campsite reservations: http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/ The campground does seem pleasant and there's a short hiking trail along the river. Should be a good place to stay if you can get a spot.