Saylorville beach

Saylorville beach DEFAULT

Fun Place...good beach and bathrooms

We recently rented a pontoon boat for an afternoon from the Saylorville Lake Marina. The boats can be rented for 2, 4, or 8 hour periods. We chose a 4 hour rental.

The rental store is right on the dock, obviously quite convenient. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by two friendly and efficient staff. After about 10 minutes of paperwork, we were helped with life vests (no charge) and ready to go.

Our boat was a 22' with 90 horse motor. The boat was clean, equipped with stereo, and easily sat the 8 of us. The motor was the quietest outboard I have ever been around.

We left the marina and cruised the lake. Saylorville has no real coves, but the cruise was nice. We stopped for a couple of swims. There is no anchor on board which was a bit of a let down, but it was calm enough to drift and swim. The 4 hours went by quickly.

On out return we were greeted at the dock. The tank was filled and we were charged for the gas we used. $150 for the rental and $32 for the gas. All in all a reasonable cost for an afternoon on the lake. We will do it again some day!


These 11 Iowa beaches are worth a visit this summer

If you’re lamenting living in a landlocked state — don’t. 

Iowa has plenty of beaches where you can catch some rays, swim and put your toes in the sand this summer, including:

Awaysis Park at Storm Lake

  • Address: 1490 E Lakeshore Dr., Storm Lake, IA 50588

Awaysis Park is one of Storm Lake’s must-see beaches. It’s located just west of Kings Pointe Resort and includes a swimming beach, picnic area and iconic lighthouse. At the beach, you’ll enjoy the newly redesigned Kolb Gardens, walking trails, restrooms and concessions.

Big Creek Lake beach

  • Address: 8794 NW 125th Ave, Polk City, IA 50226

The beach at Big Creek Lake is 1,300 feet long, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and includes a playground, volleyball courts, picnic sites and plenty of open space. With rental options including everything from sailboats and kayaks to bicycles and hydra bikes, plus fishing, hiking and disc golf, there's something for everyone at Big Creek.

City Beach 

  • Address: City Beach, Clear Lake, IA 50428

Located on the lakefront, south of the shops and restaurants, City Beach is a .83-acre park that provides a beach for sunning, swimming and water sports. It’s steps away from restrooms, outdoor showers and convenient parking. Here you’ll find a boat ramp and dock with 10 short-term slips or check out the splash pad for non-lake goers.

Riders take a break at the water's edge in Clear Lake while on the Register's Annual Bicycle Ride Across Iowa in 2014.

Cherry Glen at Saylorville Lake

  • Address: 4338 North West 94th Place, Ankeny, IA 50021

Cherry Glen Beach is a 13-acre wooded area located at Saylorville Lake in Ankeny. The beach includes a boat ramp and great spots for swimming, water sports, picnics, fishing and hiking. It’s a short drive to the marina for great food and drinks, plus live entertainment on the weekends. This location also has modern restrooms — always a plus.

Saylorville Lake's Cherry Glen Beach is worth visiting for some summer fun.

Okoboji for newbies:Where to stay, eat and play around Iowa's Great Lakes

Easter Lake Park

  • Address: 2830 Easter Lake Dr, Des Moines, IA 50320

The Easter Lake Park beach is located in the southeast corner of Des Moines. There's swimming, of course, options to rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and the Mark C. Ackelson trail, a 4.1-mile paved trail around the lake.

Honey Creek Resort Beach

  • Address: 12633 Resort Dr, Moravia, IA 52571

This beach has everything you’ll need this summer. Honey Creek Resort is nestled among woods and wetlands on Iowa’s second-largest lake, Lake Rathbun. Sport boats, pontoon boats, personal watercraft, fishing boats, kayaks and canoes are some of the items available at this location. Plus you are steps away from bars, restaurants, trails and restrooms.

Kayakers hit the lake outside Honey Creek Resort in Moravia, Ia.

Lake Macbride State Park

  • Address: 3525 Highway 382 N.E., Solon, IA 52333

Lake Macbride State Park is located north of Iowa City and boasts over 2,000 acres — perfect for the outdoor enthusiast. At Lake MacBride State Park, you’ll find fishing, picnicking, swimming, hiking, camping, boating. This beach literally has it all. From water-sport rentals to concessions, you’ll never get bored.

The beach at Lake Macbride.

Pikes Point 

  • Address: 15973 213th Ave., Spirit Lake, IA  51360

Pikes Point State Park is located southwest of Spirit Lake on a point of land on West Okoboji Lake. It’s the perfect space for grilling, boating and fishing. Here you’ll find a very popular swim platform located within the swimming area for visitors to sunbathe or hang out on.

Raccoon River Park beach

  • Address: 2500 Grand Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50265

The beach at Raccoon River Park stretches 500 feet, according to the city of West Des Moines website, and has designated swimming areas in Blue Heron Lake. To swim beyond the designated area, visitors must obtain an open water swimming permit, available on the city's website.

Terrace Park Beach

  • Address: Okoboji Blvd, Milford, IA 51351

Enjoy over 1,200 square feet of soft sand at Terrace Park Beach in West Lake Okoboji. This beach is situated on Browns Bay making it the perfect spot for a relaxing picnic or an afternoon of windsailing for the daring. It’s often a favorite spot of the local Kona Ice truck!

West Lake Beach

  • Address: 14910-110th Ave., Davenport, Iowa 52804

West Lake Park is a 620-acre area that includes four lakes for fishing and swimming. Here you’ll find boat docks, easy access parking lots, a handicap fishing dock, a sandy beach, and paddleboat rentals. For land lovers, enjoy picnic facilities, disc golf, playground areas, restrooms and two campground areas.

Swimming safety

Whether you're swimming in a pond, lake or public pool, the DNR urges Iowans to keep this information and advice in mind:

  • Iowa’s public beaches do not have lifeguards on duty
  • Drowning is silent. Keep an eye on family members and young children.
  • Keep young children at arm's reach at all times. Never leave small children alone or in the care of another young child while swimming.
  • Use sunscreen and drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid alcohol use while swimming (note that alcohol is prohibited at some public beaches).
  • Glass bottles are prohibited on beaches.
  • In lakes, swim only within the roped-off designated swimming area.
  • Swim with a buddy.
  • Obey posted signs and flags.
  • Take swimming lessons and learn to swim ahead of time. If you can't swim, wear a life jacket or other type of personal flotation device.
  • Learn how to perform CPR.
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Saylorville Lake

Us Army Corps of Engineers, Iowa.

The Saylorville Lake Project is 26,000 acres, which stretches for over 50 miles up the Des Moines River Valley. A wide variety of recreational activities are available including fishing, picnic areas with group shelters, boat launches, an accessible fishing pier, river fishing, hunting, and a 24-mile paved, multipurpose trail used for biking, hiking, jogging, walking, and in-line skating.

Camping and Day Use

Nearby Activities

  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Environmental Education
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Other Recreation Concession Site
  • Picnicking
  • Playground Park Specialized Sport Site
  • Water Sports
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Winter Sports


2.4 miles and becomes Hwy 415. Continue on Hwy 415 N to the lake area.
From I-35/80: Take Exit 127 to Highway 141 N. Take Highway 141 N approximately 6 miles to exit 148 which is NW Saylorville Drive or Hwy 415. NW Saylorville Drive will lead into the lake area.

Additional Information

Photo Gallery

  • paddling on the lake
Hike to Saylorville Dam - Hickory Run Cemetery

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommends against swimming in Saylorville Lake this weekend

Saylorville Lake beachgoers might want to think twice before packing their swimsuits this holiday weekend. 

In a Friday Facebook post, officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said they recommend visitors avoid swimming in the lake this weekend due to high levels of algae in the water.

According to the Corps, algae samples collected Monday as part of a weekly water quality test came back Friday under the state's actionable threshold that would prevent swimming. However, algae levels have risen visibly this week, the Corps reported.

Located less than a half-hour from Des Moines, the beach is a popular spot for central Iowans to spend their summer days.

More:These 11 Iowa beaches are worth a visit this summer

This news doesn't have to mean your July 4 weekend is sunk, though — other local beaches, including Lake Ahquabi and Big Creek Beach, are listed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources as "OK for swimming."

Information on water quality at the dozens of beaches and parks in Iowa can be found at

Sarah LeBlanc covers the western suburbs for the Register. Reach her at 515-284-8161 or [email protected] Follower her on Twitter at @sarahkayleblanc


Beach saylorville

Oak Grove Picnic Area

Saylorville Lake

Oak Grove Picnic Area is a day-use facility located on the 26,000-acre Saylorville Lake Project, which stretches over 50 miles up the Des Moines River Valley. The lake provides a wide variety of recreational activities, including boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and hunting.

This day-use area offers two group picnic shelters with electric and water hookups. Amenities include flush toilets, a playground, volleyball court and hiking trails.

Need to Know

  • Special Event Permits are required for inflatable bounce houses and water features. Special Event Permits may be required for events that may impact nearby shelters, are open to the public, wedding events, company picnics etc. Please contact the Saylorville Lake Administration Office at 515-276-4656 to inquire.

  • Shelters may be reserved up to 4 days in advance. If shelters are not reserved, they are available free of charge on a first come, first served basis.

  • Playgrounds and restrooms near shelters are open to the public. Reservations apply only to picnic shelters not other amenities.
  • Click here for more information.
  • Click here for a virtual tour of the Saylorville Lake area.

  • Don't Move Firewood: Protect your forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. Visit for further information.

Natural Features

Oak Grove lies among a heavily wooded forest of stately oak trees on the east side of the lake. A large beach is within walking distance.

Wildlife is abundant throughout the project. White-tailed deer, turkeys, pheasants, waterfowl, and other small game animals roam the lands around the lake.


Visitors come to Saylorville Lake for its great boating, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing and swimming opportunities. Anglers fish for walleye, wiper, largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and northern pike.

The paved Neal Smith Trail winds 24 miles from Des Moines to Big Creek State Park and connects the campgrounds on the east side of the lake. It is designated as a National Recreation Trail and is used for biking, hiking, jogging, walking and in-line skating.

Contact Information



Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 515-276-4656

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

Physical Address: 4801 NW 98th Ave, Polk City, IA 50226

From Ankeny, travel 3.4 miles west on 1st Street. Turn right onto HWY 415 for 0.9 miles, then left onto NW 44th street, which turns slightly right and becomes NW 98th Ave. Picnic area is on the right.

Available Campsites

Photo Gallery

  • Oak Grove Recreation AreaEntrance sign
  • OAK GROVE PICNIC AREA 1Children at beach
Saylorville Shoreline on Fat Bikes 12-14-14

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For him, this situation was clearly a holiday. The time is already well past midnight. Time to sleep. I went out into the corridor, went into the bathroom.

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