Camping at Central Park


ATTN: Until Further Notice:

  • Wooded trails at Central Park are closed. Please use caution and avoid storm damage while visiting Central Park.

  • The Jones County Grant Wood Trail sections at Martelle and Olin are currently closed as storm cleanup continues.

  • The campground is open. Some campsites may remain closed due to storm damage.

Please avoid storm debris and workers actively working to clean it up.


Intermittent road closures within the park are possible Monday thru Friday as park staff are working to clean up storm debris.  Thank you for your patience.

Central Park is a 297 acre park that includes a 25 acre lake (newly renovated) and a 7 acre pond with good populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish for those who enjoy fishing.   

Around five miles of hiking trails transverse the woodlands, prairie plantings, and wetland habitat.  A new playground area, swimming beach, sand volleyball court, and horseshoe pits are all close to the enclosed pavilion which is a popular reunion location.  Central Park has modern, semi-modern, electric and primitive camping along with two cabins for rent. 

         Have you camped at Central Park lately?  Tell us what you liked and what ideas you here!

Camping Fees:

Fully Modern Camping Sites:  $25 per night

(Sewer, water, 30 Amp electrical hook-up and Wi-Fi.)


Semi-Modern Camping Sites:  $20 per night

(Water,  50 Amp electrical hook-up and Wi-Fi.)


Electrical Camping Sites:  $18 per night

(30 Amp electrical hook-up.)


Primitive Camping Sites:  $12 per night


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you take reservations for camp sites?  We do not take reservations for our campsites. Campers simply register upon arrival. 

When is Central Park Campground open?  Water and electricity are turned on from April 15 thru October 15 - weather dependent. Primitive camping is available year round.


What are the park hours?  Park hours are 4:30 AM – 10:30 PM. (Visitors should leave the park by 10:30 PM)  Quiet time begins at 9 PM and goes through 8 AM.


How do I register for a campsite?  Once at our park you select any open campsite and set up your tent or wheeled camping unit depending on the type of site selected. Sites that include 2 or 3 utility services per site (Sites #1-25) are required to have a wheeled camping unit set up on site.  A tent or wheeled camping unit is permitted on all other sites. See the Central Park Map for site locations. You must register at the information kiosks located in the camping areas within 1 hour of set up. Complete the provided registration slip, enclose your payment, and deposit in the registration payment box. Place the other half of your registration slip in the post at your campsite.


When is the check-out time?  6:30 PM


How long can you stay at one site?  The maximum length of consecutive days at one site allowed is 14 days. Campers are then required to vacate that campsite for a minimum of 48 hours.

Does Central Park have a shower house?  Yes, our main shower house has modern facilities for all campers and visitors to use. (Open April 15 - Oct. 15 - When water is available.) The park also has three primitive restroom facilities.


How many tents are allowed on each primitive campsite?  One additional small tent is allowed with a wheeled camping unit site or primitive site at no extra cost. One additional tent may be placed on a registered primitive campsite for a fee of $4.

Do you have a youth group campsite area?  Yes. The youth group area is located on a hill overlooking the west end of Central park Lake. It is for organized youth groups only and is researveable. Reservations can be made by calling the JCCB Administrative Office at (563) 487-3541. This primitive site has room for twenty or more tents and a flat are for one or two support campers. It also includes a fire pit and grill and picnic tables. Parking and pit toilets are located nearby.

How do I reserve the shelter or cabins?  Contact the Jones County Conservation Department Administrative Office at (563)487-3541 ext.1 at least 7 days in advance of the requested date.

When is the Nature Center Open?

*COVID ALERT - In an attempt to maintain continuity of operations and limit potential exposure to the coronavirus/COVID-19, the Jones County Courthouse and all County facilities will be closed to unrestricted public access beginning Monday, November 9, 2020 until further notice.  County staff will remain available to assist the public and conduct county business via telephone and email.  Limited in-person appointments may continue to be available through all county departments, with each office maintaining a log of contact information for each person visiting their office (to assist with COVID-19 contact tracing efforts).

  Administrative offices within the Nature Center are operating and business appointments can be made by calling (563)487-3541 Please continue to enjoy outdoor activities and adventures at Central Park.

How do I find out about severe weather in the area?  Alert Iowa  is live in Jones County! In the event of an emergency or severe weather, an alert can be sent to the phone number(s) you provide by voice and/or text and you can also register your email. If you know of someone that does not have access to the internet, please aid them in signing up. This is a free service provided by the State of Iowa.  Click here to sign up.  If  you have any questions, contact Brenda Leonard, Jones County Emergency Management, at 319-480-0617.  Current weather conditions at Central Park click here!

Does Central Park have WIFI?  Central Park now has WIFI available in the modern camping area.  Free WIFI is also available in and near the Nature Center building.

Are pets allowed in the park?  Pets are allowed on a leash or chain not to exceed 6 feet, except where otherwise noted. Visitors are responsible for cleaning up after their animals and keeping noise to a minimum.

Is firewood available for sale?  Yes. Firewood may be purchased at Central Park from the campground hosts Thursday - Sunday, April 15 - October 15.


Can I bring my own firewood to burn at Central Park?    Yes but firewood brought to Central Park must be from within Jones County or labeled as certified emerald ash borer free. 


How do I rent a paddelboat or  kayak?  COVID-19 ALERT:  Paddleboats are currently not available for rent.  Paddelboats and kayaks can be rented by contacting the modern area campground hosts Thursday thru Sunday. Memorial Day - Labor Day Weekend. 10 AM - 8 PM.   Cost is $5 per half hour.  

Recreational Vehicles / ATV:  Registered off-highway vehicles may be operated at Central Park on designated roadways and parking lots only pursuant to the restrictions in Jones County's Chapter 16, Off-Highway Vehicle Ordinance, Title V-Public Order, Safety and Health, adopted December 2018.  Violations may constitute citations, vehicles being towed and or eviction from Central Park.  Registered campers are responsible for ensuring their visitors comply with all rules and regulations.


Are boat motors allowed on Central Park Lake?  You can have a motor on your boat but you are not allowed to use gas motors on the lake. Simply tilt your motor up out of the water. Trolling motors are allowed.


What kinds of fish are found in Central Park Lake?  We have largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, red-eared sunfish and channel catfish. (The renovation of the Central Park Lake was completed 2018.  It was stocked but will take a few years for the fish to mature.)  15" minimum length limit on largemouth bass.  All Iowa fish and wildlife laws apply.


Is alcohol allowed in the park?  Yes, alcohol is allowed in the park. Kegs are not allowed. Please note that alcohol is prohibited from the beach area and nature center.

What are the beach hours?  The swimming beach at Central Park is open from Memorial Day thru Labor Day weekend. Daily hours are from 12 PM - 7 PM, Monday - Thursday and 11 AM - 7 PM, Friday - Sunday.  Please Note: The beach may close during these time periods due to inclement weather.  No lifeguard on duty.


What are the beach rules?

*No Alcohol   *No Smoking    *No Profanity   *No Glass   *No Pets   *No Hanging or Sitting On Beach Ropes

*No Littering  *No Horseplay  

*Swimmers Must Stay Within the Beach Ropes


Is alcohol allowed on the beach?  No. Alcohol is not permitted in the swimming area.


Are pets allowed on the beach?  No. Pets are not permitted in the swimming area.


Do you have lifeguards at the beach area?  No, we do not have lifeguards. Our beach area is “swim at your own risk”. Our beach is monitored weekly for bacteria during the summer season and bacteria counts are posted at the beach. Alcohol, glass bottles, foul language, and pets are not allowed on the beach. A complete set of beach rules is posted at the beach.


Is the lake water tested for Bacteria?

We send in weekly water samples with results reported on the Iowa DNR's beach monitoring website page. 

**Fireworks are prohibited at Central Park and all other Jones County Conservation public areas.


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