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Camping in Lansing on Fri night?

Can I get confirmation that there will be camping available on Friday night in Lansing? I saw an early post that suggested this was the case, but wanted to be sure! Thanks!

20 Replies

wrj, April 15, 2022 at 6:47 am

On the Lansing website posted by G Akers in the Lansing parking thread you can find Friday camping options.


Heather, April 15, 2022 at 1:53 pm

Why is Lansing charging for camping?


Joseph Schlau, April 15, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Why is Lansing charging for camping?

You’re camping at Lansing before Ragbrai starts.

Camping prices range from $5-$25, shower and bathroom facilities included. The indoor gymnasium option is air conditioned. If you are staying at the Red Barn campground they have a restaurant and bar. They also have boxes to add money for their youth programs.

Considering the money appears to support youth programs and in comparison to state and country campground fees I’ve researched, Lansing is a bargain.


Heather, April 15, 2022 at 3:17 pm

I have never had to pay for camping before on the Friday night before Ragbrai starts. Keep in mind they are charging for camping outside. I’m not talking about camping inside the high school.


Joseph Schlau, April 15, 2022 at 7:33 pm

Yes, it is outside camping. That also includes bathrooms, shower, lighting. And, in case of a big storm, which occasionally happens in Iowa, a safe place to shelter. All for $5 to benefit the youth programs in Lansing.

If it’s too much for the budget, I guess there’s stealth camping with no bathroom, no water, and no one around, we hope.
Good luck.


“Bicycle Bill”, April 15, 2022 at 10:51 pm

There’s also a commercial campground located on highway 9 just outside of Lansing called the Red Barn Resort and Campground.  I’m willing to bet that they’re booked up solid if you’re thinking of vehicle camping, but they might be willing to let you – for a price – throw up a small tent on an open spot of ground.


This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by "Bicycle Bill".


Joseph Schlau, April 16, 2022 at 5:32 am

Red Barn is charging $25.

Other than stealth camping, the only option left for Heather is starting a Go Fun Me donation site to bankroll that camping fee.


LawnchairMan, April 16, 2022 at 10:16 am

I too was a little upset to have to pay $5 for a camping spot. I usually pay that much for the high school shower, so it could be a wash. (no pun intended) On the other hand, I usually get to choose my own spot not limited to 12 feet square. Do guy lines have to stay within the twelve feet? I am afraid we will be in tent-city rows without shade, so I’m already expecting to be disappointed. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.


Larry Klaaren, April 17, 2022 at 7:59 am

I think this is a new thing also and I was a little disappointed. Besides parking and eating in town on Friday night, we will be back on the next Saturday. Friday night has always been something to just get through, no entertainment, minimal vendors, crazy busy restaurants, Not sure how to feel about it.

This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Larry Klaaren.


Andy Jelagin, April 17, 2022 at 10:08 am

I’m thankful for the deluxe ($25) camping at Red Barn, which looks to include showers and other amenities, not to mention some distance from the railroad tracks that run along the river and the $5 campsites.

I can live without those mile-long 3am freight trains on my first night…


“Bicycle Bill”, April 17, 2022 at 9:16 pm

I can’t speak with a definite certainty, but the last I knew about that track is that it was an active but lightly-used branch of the Canadian Pacific, not part of the main line.  I would be willing to bet that while there might be a train passing through occasionally, it certainly won’t be a mile long, most likely be going less than 30 mph, and probably not going through at 3:00 AM either.



LawnchairMan, April 17, 2022 at 11:59 pm

I usually enjoy the atmosphere of the towns on the Fridays before the ride. I want to explore the town. Can I find something interesting; the food, the people, the river? To me, there is a no-rush vibe in myself and the people I see. But there is an intangible undercurrent of something about to awaken. There is no rush, but if I’m not alert I might miss something.
On my first ride, there was also the question of how well will I do? Should I just pack it in now, so no one will see me fail? There was also the feeling of “Lets’ get this show on the road! I want to prove myself.” Lots of ambivalent feelings. Now that I have done the ride, I am confident that I can do it again, but how will it go this time? I still enjoy the excitement that the adventure is just beginning. I am looking forward to July 22nd.


HelenP, April 18, 2022 at 6:27 am

LawnchairMan, it sounds like you’re describing the heartbeat of Iowa itself! :-D


jgyovai, April 20, 2022 at 1:17 pm

I went ahead and purchased the camping spot for Lansing … but now I need a ride to the start the following day! Any quick links for companies that take groups to the beginning of the ride?


Jim Kuhn, April 24, 2022 at 4:45 am

I have used OOS for the 15 RAGBRAIs I have done and they offer travel. Check out there website for information


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