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Winterset City Campground
Winterset City Park
Winterset, Iowa
Norman W. Hildrum

An interesting place to camp in Iowa sounds like an oxymoron. "I'd rather have a root canal than spend one night in Iowa." one of our camping Winterset, Iowa City Campground - Photo by Norman Hildrumfriends commented a few months ago. Well, we can refute those concepts and recommend a great Iowa destination and a very well operated and maintained campground.

Winterset, Iowa is about 25 miles southwest of Des Moines and is the birthplace of John Wayne and the setting for the Clint Eastwood/Meryl Streep movie Bridges of Madison County.

We arrived at the City Park in mid afternoon and found a number of available sites. We chose site number 19 which offered electricity and water and was just a short walk from the shower John Wayne's Birthplace - Photo by Norman Hildrumbuilding. Our site was $11.00 per night. The Park is open from April 1 to November 1 and has 36 gravel sites (34 with 30/50 amp electricity, 28 with water and 23 with sewer. There is a playground and public telephone. No reservations are accepted.

John Wayne's birthplace is a four-room house built in the 1880's, and maintained the way it appeared in 1907 when John Wayne was born. The house contains numerous historical items and artifacts of his life and career. The guides are well informed and interesting. The gift shop offers a variety of items ranging from T-shirts to cook books. Plan on spending an hour or more.

The following day, Roseman Covered Bridge - Photo by Norman Hildrumwe purchased an audio cassette with guide book and took a driving tour of the "Bridges of Madison County". The audio tour had numerous stops that were linked to the movie including the six historic covered bridges, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and scattered across Madison County. In all, we spent more than seven hours following the tour route and enjoyed every minute.

This is just one interesting destination in Iowa. Root canals aside, we would recommend that SavvyCampers take the opportunity to explore Iowa and find hundreds more.

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