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Your Guide to Lake Manawa State Park

Lake Manawa State Park is a premier destination in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County, offering residents and visitors 1,529 acres of outdoor recreation and a beautiful 700-acre natural lake. Here you'll find everything you need to know for an unforgettable time!



A vehicle entry permit is required for out-of-state vehicles at Lake Manawa State Park. A $5 daily permit is available at self-registration kiosks throughout the park and at the park office when open. The permit must be displayed on the vehicle's dash on the driver's side. Annual permits are available for $40, which provides unlimited visitors for the calendar year. These can be purchased in the park office or online.

Self-Registration Kiosk Locations:

  • West shore entrance (parking lot) – 4526 W Shore Drive
  • North shore entrance (parking lot) – 4526 N Shore Drive
  • East entrance (first parking lot) – S Shore Drive
  • Lake Manawa sailing concession entrance– 812 Comanche Street
  • Parking lot off of Park Office Drive (close to park office)

Additional Admission Information

Water Activities: 


Lake Manawa is the metro's go-to spot for boating and water activities! It's perfect for paddle boards, canoes, motorized boats, and kayaks. You can rent paddle boats and canoes from the beach area. Boat motors of any size are allowed, and the boat ramps are located on the lake's north, south, and west sides. The park also features a Missouri River boat ramp, providing boaters access to the river.

Learn More about Paddleboarding


Anglers of all ages love the fishing opportunities at Lake Manawa! Crappies, bluegills, and catfish can be caught throughout the year. The lake also has a good size population of bass and walleye. Amenities in the park include a fishing jetty, shoreline fishing, an accessible pier, boat ramps, and a fish cleaning station. View the Iowa DNR's map for more information.

Please review the Iowa DNR's fishing regulations and license information before heading out!

Are you in need of fishing gear, bait, or local expertise? Check out Anchor Inn Bait & Tackle, located minutes from the lake! With their knowledgeable staff and variety of equipment, it's your one-stop shop for all things fishing in the Council Bluffs area.

Unleash the Beach! 


You don't need to be on the coast to enjoy a beach day! Located on the south side of the lake, you can enjoy the beach area for $5 a day or $40 for the year. The modern facility provides opportunities for swimming, rentable paddle boats and canoes, sand volleyball courts, and refreshments and is open every day from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

More Information on the Beach

Camping Options:

Lake Manawa State Park Campground features 40 RV sites and modern amenities, including a gated entrance, full hook-up campsites, a shower house, and a paved walking trail connecting to the Lake Manawa State Park Beach and Dream Playground. 

Visitors must make a reservation ahead of time online or by calling (877) 427-2757. For more details, click here.

Recreational Trails Galore!

Lake Manawa has three paved recreational trails and is ideal for hiking and biking. All three trails are flat, easy to use, and accessible for those in wheelchairs. The trails also connect to popular Council Bluffs trails like the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, Indian Creek Trail, and Iowa Riverfront Trail. For maps, click here!

Mountain bikers love the additional eight miles of unpaved trails on either side of the Missouri River access on the park's south side.

Dream Playground: 


Dream Playground is the largest ADA-accessible playground in Iowa and was inspired by local students. Rubberized floors, specialized swings, slides, and merry-go-round are all accessible for children in wheelchairs. Several play elements nod to our local history, like the Historic General Dodge House, Squirrel Cage Jail, the Union Pacific Railroad, and Lewis and Clark's visit. The playground also features a separate enclosed play area for kids ages 2 to 5.

Picnic Shelters:

The park includes six shelters ideal for picnics, small gatherings, and time in the shade. One of the shelters has a kitchenette, and two offer electricity. Call (712) 366-4802 to rent a shelter or reserve one online by clicking here.

Nearby Dining Options + Attractions: 

Lake Manawa is conveniently located minutes from I-80 and I-29, and you can find numerous restaurants and attractions nearby!

You can enjoy a delicious meal at The Dock Bar & Grill or grab a takeout pizza from Pizza Counter! Rustic Cuts, a local butcher shop, sells stuff for your picnic, like hamburgers, deli meat, cheeses, bread, jerky, and several sides like pasta salad.

Big box shopping is minutes away at Metro Crossing Shopping Center, Lake Manawa Power Centre, and The Marketplace.  

Local attractions like the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center, The Hub Trampoline Park, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, and our three casinos: Ameristar, Harrah's, and Horseshoe, are just minutes away!

For a full list of Council Bluffs restaurants, click here.

For a full list of Council Bluffs attractions, click here.

To book your overnight in Council Bluffs, click here.

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