Escape to Iowa

View of Lake Coralville at Sugar Bottom.
Sugar Bottom Recreation Area
Solon, Iowa

“What’s in Iowa?” That’s what my friend, Diane, asked when I told her Dan and I were going to Iowa for six days with our travel trailer. “Well, you’re just going to have to read my blog to find out”, I replied.

No, I didn’t really tell her that. Ha Ha. But I did tell her we weren’t sure what all was there, but we were going to find out. We had read about an Army Corps of Engineers campground that had excellent reviews. By going north to Iowa, we were hoping to escape some of the heat and humidity that we normally have to endure in August.

So, we loaded up our trailer and headed off to Sugar Bottom Recreation Area near Solon, Iowa. This is a very nice campground with lots to offer. The campground is on Coralville Lake and has 232 sites. We paid $13 a night with Dan’s National Parks Lifetime Senior Pass. Our site was a full hook-up site with a concrete pad.

Even though the campground has 232 sites, there are only twelve full hook-up sites. The rest of the sites are electric only, and most are on gravel pads. Many of these sites have great views of the lake. During the week we were there, the full hook-up loop was filled; the rest of the campground was pretty empty – except for the sites right near the lake.

Sites 300-311
The Full Hook-up Loop
The Rest of the Campground
It did fill up on the weekend.

The lake has a nice swimming beach with a nearby sand volleyball court. Close to our campsite was a short paved trail to the day use area. The day use area features another beach, a disc golf course, mountain biking trails and another paved bicycle trail. This second paved bike trail starts at the day use area, goes through the woods, and stops before the recreation area’s main road. This second trail isn’t very long, and it doesn’t really go anywhere.

There is also a nature trail -The Cedar Valley Nature trail. Since this is tic season, we avoided this trail. I’m not really sure where this trail goes. Maybe just through the woods by the road.

Mountain bike trail road.
The Road Not Taken
The trails branch off from this road.

We brought our new e-bikes with us hoping to do a lot of riding. We tried the mountain biking trails at Sugar Bottom – for about ten minutes. I just wasn’t confident and was afraid of falling – even though we were on the novice trails. I am sure many others would greatly enjoy all the mountain biking trails. We did, repeatedly, ride a two mile loop through the campground, the short paved trail, and the day use area. So, we did get some e-bike riding in.

Disc golf course - hole #18.
Full Disclosure:
We only played 9 holes.

Right outside Sugar Bottom, on the main road, is a wonderful paved bike trail which goes into North Liberty where the bike trail continues. Unfortunately, the road out of Sugar Bottom was too dangerous to ride out to these trails. We haven’t bought an e-bike rack yet for our car, so we were limited where we could ride.

We did enjoy our stay even though we couldn’t bike ride as much as we wanted. The weather was fantastic. We took our daily walks. We tried our hand at the disc golf course; we had borrowed a disc golf set from our library. We spent part of an afternoon at the beach and enjoyed the lake. And of course, we played Scrabble and some of our other favorite games. We took a couple of day trips which I will feature in coming posts.

Where did we go on our two day trips? This time I will say it. You’re just going to have to read my blog to find out.

Our Micro Lite camper and campsite at Sugar Bottom.
Home Sweet Home

20 comments

  1. That looks like a lovely little getaway to a new place. I only went to Iowa once, and it was such a different experience from anywhere else. Looking forward to seeing where else you went while there! Happy weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At first, Iowa looks like just a lot of corn. Especially at this time of year. However, like many things in life, if one just looks a little deeper, there lots more! It is very nice here – with lots of bike trails! And there’s more to see, so I’m hoping we’ll be back. Hope you have a happy weekend, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We loved Corps of Engineers campgrounds when we were traveling in our fifth wheel. This one looks like a great one! I know what you mean about people asking what would you go to Iowa for? One year we planned a trip around going to Field of Dreams in Dyersville and to Winterset to see the Bridges of Madison County and John Wayne’s birthplace. I can’t wait to see where you went!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know my brother went to Field of Dreams years ago. And now it is in the news! I could see visiting Winterset and John Wayne’s birthplace, too. Pictures of the bridges would make some good Wordless Wednesdays! Sometimes places call to us – for whatever reason – and to have that interest and desire to go there shows a passion and desire for life. I know I enjoy reading about your travels, and my bucket list is ever growing. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for taking us to Iowa!! My nephew lives in Minnesota and we are always looking for places to meet and camp in between. And COE parks are our favorite. Always fun to travel vicariously with y’all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are welcome! The sites were really spacious, and so many had really nice views. There was also an amphitheater where, I imagine, programs are sometimes offered – in non-covid times. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your Saturday!

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  4. I am so happy for you, you have the ability to pick up and go, and you found an excellent location. How did you ever score such a site last minute? And you are right with a passion for life you can go and have a great time almost anywhere. Enjoy your time there, especially riding your new bikes. Will be looking for more blog posts, I so enjoy reading about what you and Dan are up to. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! You are so kind. Now, we didn’t find this site last minute. I am a planner; this trip was in the books well in advance, and our reservation was made six months out. I just don’t mention it – to keep the blog exciting. 🙂 Our 2022 plans are just about wrapped up. We make plans, and then I note the date when I can make the reservations. Of course, adjustments sometimes have to be made – for various reasons. You’ll be on the go soon, and I’ll be reading your posts about who knows what, smiling, and adding to my bucket list! I do appreciate you always being a cheerleader for us, and I am for you and Barbara, too! Enjoy your weekend, too.

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  5. This sounds like a wonderful spot! How did you like the disc golf? We have a course in our campground park here, but I’ve yet to try it. I know, by your great description that I’d enjoy the many trails at this spot, Betty. Sadly, we’re waiting yet another month before finding out if we can head south this winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sugar Bottom was great, and the disc golf course was pristine. However, I am a terrible disc thrower – even after watching a Youtube video about how to throw. I did enjoy walking the course and being outside. I wish I was better. I was wondering if there was something else I could do on the course – something that would fling the disc or even throwing a tennis ball instead. I even googled “alternatives to disc golf”, but I found nothing. I hope you will be able to head south this winter. Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Not long ago, I would have asked the same question — “What’s there to do in Iowa? or What is in Oklahoma? or what is there to see in a thousand other places in this country?” But since we’ve been traveling, it is clear to me that there is so much to see wherever you are. You just have to seek it out.

    I don’t recall ever camping in a bad Army Corps park. The ones we’ve been to are great. I especially like the old people’s discount.

    I look forward to hearing how you end up carrying the e-bikes and I hope you find more places to ride. As always, I enjoyed reading. — Happy Days and safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right. There is so much to see and so many places. And you have worded that so eloquently. We love the old people’s discount, too. For now, we put the e-bikes in our travel trailer. Which has worked out fine. We even put them in last night because rain was predicted. With a little bit of moving Dan’s bike, we even had room to open our bed and this morning to make breakfast. Thanks for reading, and happy days and safe travels to you, too.

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