The Valley of Friendliness
Pine Lake State Park is a hidden gem with wooded trails, deep ravines, and scenic lake views in the midst of Iowa’s rolling farmland. Historic structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) can be found throughout the park, including the Pine Lodge, beach house and stone cabins, which have been carefully restored. Pine Lake is filled with beautiful picnic areas to enjoy a quiet setting by the river or an overlook of the park’s lake. The park originally was home to Iowa’s southernmost stand of native pine trees which were wiped out by a severe hailstorm in August 2009; today hundreds of caged tree seedlings are scattered throughout the park as part of a reforestation effort.
If you're looking for a place to get away for the weekend or even during the week, but you don't want to drive for eight hours, you need to check out the log cabins at Tower Rock Park near Steamboat Rock, Iowa. They come furnished with everything except your groceries, bedding, toiletries and towels. One stop at the store and you're set for a relaxing weekend on the Iowa River!