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Iowa State Parks

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USA Parks
Northeast Region
McIntosh Woods State Park
Eastern Goldfinch ©
Eastern Goldfinch ©
Eastern Goldfinch
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1200 East Lake Street
Ventura, Iowa    50482

Phone: 641-829-3847
Reservations: 641-829-3847
Email: park email button icon
McIntosh Woods State Park is a serene 60-acre park located in north-central Iowa, on the northwest shore of Clear Lake. Established in 1943, it offers visitors picturesque views and recreational opportunities such as camping, fishing, boating, and hiking.

The main feature of McIntosh Woods State Park is its modern family campground equipped with electric hookups and non-electric sites that cater to both RVs and tent campers. The park also features a sandy beach for swimming along Clear Lake's shores - one of Iowa's largest natural lakes known for excellent walleye fishing.

Additionally, the state park provides amenities like picnic areas complete with shelters available for reservation; these make ideal spots for gatherings or quiet outdoor meals. Nature enthusiasts can explore various trails within the area while birdwatchers often spot diverse species throughout different seasons.
History of the Area
Located in Cerro Gordo County, the land now known as McIntosh Woods was originally prairie and wetland. Before European settlement, it served as hunting grounds for Native American tribes such as the Sioux and Winnebago.

With westward expansion in the 19th century, settlers converted much of Iowa's natural landscape into farmland; this area also underwent agricultural development. The park's namesake is believed to be a family that once owned part of this land.

By mid-20th century efforts were made to preserve some natural areas amidst widespread agriculture. In 1940, conservationists established what would become McIntosh Woods focusing on protecting its unique ecosystem while providing recreational opportunities.

The park features historical elements like an ancient Indian mound located nearby-evidence of prehistoric human activity around Clear Lake where it resides today. It has evolved over time with facilities added including campgrounds and boat launches catering to outdoor enthusiasts seeking fishing or boating experiences on Clear Lake.

In recent years there have been initiatives aimed at habitat restoration within the park boundaries ensuring native species thrive alongside public enjoyment spaces.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
 Electric Sitesyes
McIntosh Woods State Park features a campground that was extensively renovated in the early 1980s. The campground has 49 campsites, 45 with electricity. A modern rest room and shower building are present, as well as a playground equipment for little ones. Starting February 13, 2006 advance campsite reservations can be booked through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available for self-registration on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Visitors to McIntosh Woods may stay in one of two yurts available for rent. The "yurt" or "ger" as it is often referred to is based on a nomadic shelter used in Central Asia. It is a 16-foot circular tent structure with a wood frame, lattice walls and a vinyl covering. The yurt also has windows, a clear dome on the roof and a framed door. It comes with a full-size futon, twin bunk beds and a table with chairs and is treated like a camping cabin rental. The yurts can be reserved for a fee through the Internet at or by calling toll-free 1-877-IAPARKS.
1. McIntosh Woods State Park offers a designated swimming area on Clear Lake's shoreline.
2. No lifeguards are present, so swim at your own risk.
3. Swimming is free and open to the public during park hours.
4. The sandy beach makes for an enjoyable sunbathing spot post-swim.
5. Restrooms and changing facilities are available near the swimming area for convenience.

McIntosh Woods State Park is one of the major boating access points for Clear Lake. A modern boat ramp is present with an extensive paved area for vehicle and trailer parking.

Clear Lake is very popular with anglers of all ages. A variety of fish may be taken in Clear Lake; everything from bluegills and crappies to bass and northerns. To enhance angler enjoyment, a modern fish cleaning station is located near the boat ramp area at McIntosh Woods.

McIntosh Woods State Park is located near Mason City
Nearby Parks

McIntosh Woods State Park is a popular spot for picnickers. The grassy and shaded picnic areas are a fine place for a family cookout. An open picnic shelter has been built near the boat ramp and is available on a reservation basis through the park manager for a fee.
A one-mile nature trail takes visitors into the heart of McIntosh Woods and signs describe different features of the parks.
Birdwatchers can enjoy spotting various species such as warblers, thrushes and sparrows. The park's diverse habitats attract a wide range of birds throughout the year. Birding enthusiasts may also spot waterfowl on Clear Lake or in wooded areas during migration seasons.
Area Attractions
Ventura Access is located only a mile west of McIntosh Woods in the town of Ventura. The area features a boat ramp, an open picnic shelter (which may be reserved for a fee through the park manager, playground equipment, rest room facilities and ball field. It is an excellent spot for a variety of outdoor recreation fun. A fishing dock is available at the boat ramp and is designed for handicap access.

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Area Campgrounds
Oakwood RV Park
5419 240th
Clear Lake, IA
Nearby Hotels

- If in Mason City, Iowa: Head south on Federal Ave toward 2nd St SE.
- Turn right onto US Hwy 18 W/4th St SW and continue for about nine miles.
- Take the Ventura exit from US Hwy 18 W towards Balsam Avenue.
- Continue straight after exiting until you reach a T-junction at Cardinal Avenue.
- At this junction, turn left onto Cardinal Avenue heading eastwards.
- Drive along Cardinal avenue till it ends into Birch drive; make a right here to head Southward.
- After approximately half mile down birch drive take another Right unto Ash street which leads directly to McIntosh Woods State Park.
Nearby Parks

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