Here's something I bet you didn't know: not only is there a giant lake in Iowa, but there's also a wonderful family-friendly resort along its shores. Honey Creek Resort, in southern Iowa, is a 2-hour drive from Des Moines or a 6-hour drive from Chicago. It's middle-of-nowhereness is one of its many charms.
The Peaceful, Easy Feeling of Honey Creek Resort
Here's my video overview:
What Works for Families:
- You can go boating and tubing on Rathbun Lake.
Here's a video tour of our 2-bedroom cottage:
- It's clean, comfortable and peaceful.
- It has an indoor water park.
* You can go geocaching on nature hikes.
- It has a nice golf course, driving range and putting green.
- It's an excellent Pokemon Go spot.
- Friendly, helpful staff.
- An eco-friendly emphasis.
Since this resort is in a state park, there's a heavy emphasis on nature-friendly activities and practices. Besides the large wind turbine that anchors the resort, there are bird feeders and recycling bins everywhere, and things like VIP parking for hybrid cars. It made us all conscious about our wastefulness. My kids especially liked the 5-minute timers in the showers (sand in an hourglass), which they saw as a fun challenge. I am getting one for our home shower.
- Free WiFi.
- There is not a ton to do.
What Doesn't Work for Families:
* No outdoor pool.
* Limited food options.
* The beach is not really a swimming beach.
Prices start at:
During peak season (May-Oct), lodge rooms are $159-219/night and the cottages are $269-$509/night. Off-peak season (Nov-April) lodges rooms are $109-$179, and the cottages are $189-$359.
The resort's one restaurant/bar serves pretty good food. We particularly liked the homemade chicken pot pie and blueberry pie a la mode. With a soft buttery crust and warm filling, I'd rank it among some of the best blueberry pie I've ever had.But if you're staying at the lodge, eating three meals a day here might get tiresome and expensive. The new management plans to expand the food offerings, and that will be a good thing.
We liked The Garage, in Centerville. Located in the town square, the exterior has a car's bumper sticking out, so you can't miss it. The interior is covered in automotive memorabilia. The service is super-friendly, and the food is solid. We quickly emptied a basket of their famous “Garachos” – nachos smothered in shredded pork, white Blue Moon Beer cheese, and tomatoes. They're also known for their Fat Boy sandwich, which is for serious meat lovers only. The breaded pork patty is a sandwich within itself. But then it's piled with smoked pork, bacon, and cheese. Wear your stretchy pants.