Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Saturday In The Parks

Okay, we all know how Saturday ended for us (check it out here), but up until that point, it was a wonderful day! We hiked, swam, and drove through three SE Iowa State Parks, check out a couple of local Ottumwa restaurants, and let Zeus run at a dog park. It was a beautiful day!

We started the day at Lake Wapello. The water looked questionable (although what Iowa lake doesn't??), so we mainly played on the sandy beach. We explored the beautiful lodge and drove through the park. Our favorite part of the park were the cabins - they looked amazing! We may be renting one of those sometime. 

The cutest courtyard in Albia, Iowa. Lake Wapello State Park is around 2 hours from Des Moines. It's an easy drive through small towns in rural Iowa...and some questionable places. 

After a quick-ish visit to Lake Wapello, we traveled to Ottumwa, Iowa to grab lunch. We tried bbq sandwiches from Bubba Q's, took them to Railroad Park, ate, walked around, and let Zeus play at the dog park. There isn't a playground, at least that we saw, but it is a pretty area along the river with a paved trail, a shelter with picnic tables, and dog parks. We noticed a family eating at the picnic tables in the small dog area of the dog park and thought that was very brave of them (our dog would have had their lunch gone in one big bite!). We quickly stopped by Main Street Donuts to grab donuts to eat later in the afternoon. Both of these were fun little stops!

We love our dog, but he isn't made for agility training. He did laps around the tubes as the kids tried to show him what to do!

With our bellies full, we went to Lake Darling State Park. This park is VERY well kept. The trails are clear and manecured, the beach was fun, plenty of area for the dog to swim in. We spent majority of our time here in the water, which was probably the clearest water we've seen from an Iowa lake.

Somebody had to try out his new life vest, so he would be used to it for our next vacation. Luckily, he loved it because he figured out he only had to do minimal work to move in the water. 

Our last stop of the day was Lake Keomah. We were swimmed out, but this park does have a nicely kept, small beach area for those interested. We hiked a quarter of the lake trail before we turned around and drove home.

Our last stop of the day was Goldie's in Prairie City. We surprised the kids and dog with ice cream. 

Out of the three parks, we're most likely to go back to Lake Darling because it has all of our favorite things. We're down to less than 20 state parks to visit! We're hoping to fit them in before the end of the year. We've had a very fun time exploring parks and parts of Iowa we've never been to during this Tour of State Parks. They'll definitely be highlighted memories of our pandemic time.