Winter Camping Review-Honey Creek State Park Resort

One of the things that was on our checklist when we were searching for a new RV was that the trailer was a “four seasons” camper.  We wanted to be sure we stayed comfortable even camping in sub freezing temps.  We didn’t make it out during our first winter with the Fancy Nancy but I wasn’t letting another winter go by without heading out to the campground a few times.  In early February 2018,  we decided to travel a few hours south to Rathbun Lake and stay at Honey Creek State Park Resort. 

There were a few reasons this campground appealed to me.  The first, is that it is relatively close and we are familiar with the area.  We travel to this area at least once a summer and stay at a friends cabin.  The second is that there is a lodge with an indoor waterpark right at the park so it didn’t matter what it was like outside, I knew we would have plenty to do indoors. And finally, the campground is actually open year round.

I didn’t make reservations ahead of time but was pretty confident we wouldn’t have a problem getting a site.  In fact, I would have been surprised if anyone else was even there.  I ended up being right-we were the only ones staying in the campground.

Honey Creek State Park Resort is a relatively new state park area.  It opened to the public in 2008 and took a few years to actually turn a profit.  It is now managed by a private company but is still part of the Iowa DNR state park system.  The resort consists of a main lodge with lodge rooms, activity area, indoor waterpark and restaraunt as well as numerous cottages and cabins and the campground.


The campsites at the campground are large, spacious, and wide open. There is little to no landscape between sites. There is a lot of space between sites though. I believe all the sites are pull-through full hook up sites. When we were there the water was still on and sewer was still available for us to use. Something to note is that there is no shower house at the campground so if you don’t have a bathroom in your camping unit, you are out of luck. Since we were the only ones, we got to pick our site so we took the end site so we could look out over the lake. Cost of campsite is $49 plus tax.

This gives a good view of how large the sites are-the big thing missing is vegetation…

If camping isn’t your thing, you can rent one of 28 cottages available to rent, or a room in the lodge, which has 105 rooms available.


Despite it being winter, there were still quite a few activities to do at the resort, well, in addition to the waterpark. The lake freezes over and ice skates are available to rent, there is a sledding hill by the lake (they have a snow machine to make a small hill if there isn’t enough snow), hockey equipment is available to use on the frozen lake, and when we visited there were still programs going on in the activity center and nature craft programs led by staff and programs held in the lobby by the naturalists. This information is available when you check in. The website states that Naturalist Programs are available daily Memorial Day-Labor Day and Wednesday-Saturday the rest of the year.

The lobby of the lodge is a warm and inviting space with a fireplace with cozy chairs, ping pong (or maybe it was pool-I can’t remember).

We did get out and explore some of the trails in the park. They were well maintained and nice and wide. Winding through the prairies, woods, and along the lake the trails were great to get out and explore.

Buccaneer Bay Indoor Water Park

One of the highlights of our trip to Honey Creek Resort was the indoor water park. Although not huge, it was the perfect size for our two girls who were 2 and 6 when we visited. Not pictured is a great little toddler area that my two year old spent most of her time in. Connected to the water park is a locker room with shower, which was great to use since we didn’t have the use of running water back at our campsite.

Summer Activities

Although we visited in the winter, there is a lot of things to do in the summer. The resort is on one of Iowa’s largest lakes so you can rent watercraft, go fishing, or hang out on the beach. Kayaks and SUP’s are included in your overnigh stay. New in 2018, there is now Rathbun Lake Aquapark, 16 different inflatables out on the lake (there is an additional charge for this). If golfing is your thing, The Preseve on Rathbun Lake provides 18 holes to play. When we were there in early February, the golf course was still open since there was no snow (and it was also in the upper 30’s and 40’s. Also, let’s not forget the playground and the basketball hoop which are situated near the campground. If you like to bike, don’t forget to bring them along, there are paved bike trails through the resort and also connects to many more miles on the Rathbun Lake North Shore Trail. And if you forget you bike, no worries, the resort has one for you to use. They even have fat tire bikes to try in the winter time.

Playground near the campground

After writing this up, I am now dreaming of a return trip to Honey Creek State Park Resort. There is so much to do in the winter, and even more to do in the summer. I did look ahead to the summer months and most of the weekends (and weekdays) are sold out in regards to RV sites so if you want to visit here, you need to plan ahead. It’s worth it though.

DATES OF TRAVEL: February 3rd-4th, 2018

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