Home » 2013 Cross Country Road Trip

Lake Anita State Park, IA

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 10:30am by Lolo
553 miles and 11 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Biking to Beach at Lake Anita - AJGBiking to Beach at Lake Anita - AJGLake Anita State Park has come to be one of our stepping stones as we trek back and forth across the country—kind of a reliable and comfortable old friend. Situated just a short distance off I80 in western Iowa, Lake Anita is within 2 days striking distance from our home in New Jersey – that is if you aren’t stopping in every other state for a car repair. Okay, so this year things were a little rougher, so Lake Anita was night 3 rather than night 2 on our cross country trek.

As in every year passed, we arrived with only about two hours of sunlight left in the day – just enough to get some much needed exercise after a full day of just sitting.

The first order of business was finding a campsite, and I felt pretty sure that our motorhome plus 3 cars put us in the 2 campsite category. However, after our second pass through the campground looking for two nice sites next to each other down by the lake, the campground host stopped us and said we were welcome to all squeeze on one campsite if we could fit. The result was a modern day version of Conestoga wagons circling for the evening after a long, hard day on the trail – not too far off from the way we felt.

Andrew and Celeste at Lake Anita SunsetAndrew and Celeste at Lake Anita SunsetOne of the things I like best about Lake Anita is that unlike most state parks that we have been to, you can actually camp right on the lake and even swim in it if you choose. The beach is on the other side of the lake from the campground, but easily accessible via the lovely 5-mile trail that circles the lake.

We quickly donned our bathing suits and hopped on our bikes for an evening ride. It really was much fun. It felt so exhilarating to be out of the RV and soaring through space under our own volition. Just like Herb used to do in years past, Andrew kept peddling ahead and jumping off his bike to take our pictures as we approached.

Andrew and Celeste Preparing Gourmet DinnerAndrew and Celeste Preparing Gourmet DinnerOnce on the other side of the lake, we stopped at the beach for a quick swim, before continuing back to throw together dinner. Actually, with Celeste along, dinner is never just thrown together, but rather an event to be enjoyed both aesthetically and socially. I have never seen anyone enjoy slicing and dicing vegetables with such devotion and skill. It was like having our own private chef along. It was also nice, and somewhat surprising, to see how Andrew had become so capable and enthusiastic about his role in the dinner preparation.

Fortunately, the weather and the mosquitoes cooperated, and we were able to have dinner outside rather than being cramped in the ever-shrinking RV.

Sunset over the lake was spectacular as always. In our 5 times here, I don’t think there has ever been a bad one yet.


Modern Day Conestoga WagonsModern Day Conestoga WagonsLake Anita State Park is located in southwest Iowa about 5 miles south of Interstate 80. The park, which contains a beautiful 171-acre artificial lake, is very popular for swimming, fishing and boating.

There is a campground with 144 sites, all within easy access of the lake.

Melissa on January 8, 2014

Hello Gaidus'!
So great to see your 2013 travels up! :-) I made my 1st cross country trip in my Class B RV this past summer and I stayed at Lake Anita because you'd mentioned it so many times. I LOVED it and will def go back next time I go west. I was there 4 days after you!

Herb on January 17, 2014

Hi Melissa,

Glad we were able to give a nice destination on your first cross country. Too bad we missed you. Keep up your blog.. It's a lot of work but you'll really appreciate it a few years later when you're wondering exactly what happened, where, and when.

Safe Travels,

Herb & Lolo

Lake Anita State Park location map in "high definition"

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