West Des Moines: Raccoon River Park


Raccoon River Park has a playground right next to the beach, which is perfect for summer fun.  The playground area has a toddler-friendly play structure and baby swings, as well as equipment like a rope climber that appeals to older kids.

There's a sand play area at the playground, if you want to skip the beach.

Blue Heron Lake is 232 acres.  The beach is open Memorial Day through Labor Day from 10:30 am until sunset.  In addition to swimming, you can rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboards at the Raccoon River Park Boathouse.  

In the swimming area, the water is quite shallow over halfway out, which is perfect for little kids.  My kid is not quite 4-feet tall and you can see how far out he was.  Water quality tests are conducted approximately every 3 weeks between Memorial Day and Labory Day with results posted on the City of West Des Moines website.

There are picnic tables scattered around, some of which are shaded.  There are also shelters with picnic tables available.  Restrooms are very close to the parking lot and playground area.