Home » 2001 Cross Country Road Trip

Lake Manawa State Park, IA

Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 9:00am by Lolo
696 miles and 13 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Another long day of driving--almost 12 hours. It's not good to string too many of these in a row or trip fatigue sets in. It was almost dinner time when we pulled into Lake Manawa State Park near the Iowa-Nebraska border. The lake was okay we thought, kind of pretty if you squinted and didn't look towards the more industrial end.

It was a warm evening, so the kids easily convinced us to go for a swim. Rather than go all the way to the swimming beach, we just walked from our campsite through some bushes to the shores of the lake. As we were splashing around in the water having a good time, we watched a beautiful red sunset over the smokestacks at the end of the lake. "I think this is going to be a trip highlight," Andrew said in all seriousness. I just wanted to hug him. One thing we really love about both our kids is their ability to seek out the best in everything and to have a good time at whatever they do. Here we were, only 2 days into a 3 ½ week trip and hadn't even reached Nebraska yet, but we had already given them a highlight. This was going to be a good trip.


Lake Manawa State Park is a 1,529-acre park near the Iowa-Nebraska border in the town of Council Bluffs. Its beautiful 660-acre natural lake was formed during a flood in 1881 when the meandering Missouri River cut off a portion of the river channel. The result was an "oxbow" lake which was named Manawa, a Native American word for "peace and comfort."

Today the lake is very popular for swimming, boating, and fishing for crappies, bluegills, catfish, bass and walleye. Facilities include a swimming beach, boat ramps, picnic areas overlooking the lake, and a 73-site campground with 37 electrical hookups.

Lake Manawa State Park location map in "high definition"

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