So to be honest when I first heard of Cutty’s I was like, “City Camping? Are you serious? You mean ‘Glamping’ right? That sounds horrible! That will be too noisy and too crowded.” But I stand corrected…
It turns out that Cutty’s Campground and Resort is actually a Hidden Gem in Polk County. It’s located in Grimes, Iowa on 80 acres, and yields rest and relaxation for the whole family. I hope reading this review creates in you the 20 seconds of courage you will need to pick up that phone and call to schedule a tour (which earns you a free weekend of camping with us to try it out). This place is so fun! Be warned! This post is very lengthy, because I wanted to TRY to cover it all…
Our view outside our camper last time we were out was totally amazing. We had the opportunity to see a blue heron hunting for his breakfast as we ate ours. We never have any trouble finding a campsite. Prime sites (located by the lake or up by Main Street) are available to all members on a first-come-first-serve basis and we have had more than our Lion’s Share of Prime sites in the three years of our membership at Cutty’s. There are approximately 200 sites available and the majority are full hookup, many are 30 amp, but several are 50 amp. For sites without sewer, there are two dump stations on site, as well. And garbage service runs daily (and more frequently on holiday weekends).
The lake is a rain runoff pond with a couple aerators to create the perfect fish habitat. It is home to bass, crappie, carp and bluegill. There is no need to worry about a fishing license since it is a private pond and is legal for any age to fish catch and release. There is a gorgeous walking path around the pond, and several rocky areas to fish from. Our favorite is the walking bridge that crosses the southern outlet of the pond.
Basically, there are two sides of the campground. On the East side is the Clubhouse, most of the Seasonal Campers (who stay most of the summer) and a handful of campsites. This is what I like to call the “quiet side.” My family consists of my husband, myself, and our 3 boys all under 6 (We have a grown daughter, too, who loves to hangout with us at Cutty’s, by the way). So, as you can imagine, some weeks we want to be at Cutty’s but not right in the middle of all the action, so we park ourselves on the East side. There is a lovely playground over there, tons of greenspace, and a good fishing spot on the East side, too, so my boys are never bored.
The East side is also the home of the wonderful 9 hole Frisbee Golf Course. My kids and I enjoy walking this course, especially in the fall and spring when the weather is cool. Watch out! Some of the holes are located along the Lake and have a Water Hazard!
This road is part of the route for the Friday Night Hay Rack Ride! This Ride commences just after dinner time on Friday nights. It starts by Main Street and wanders through the West Side, past the Clubhouse, and circles through the East Side, stopping back by Main Street where it started. It is a great time to get to know other campers, and get an overview of what is happening at Cutty’s this weekend. People are so friendly here, so be sure to put on your smile and a wave!
The Clubhouse is on the East Side of the lake. The upstairs of the Clubhouse is available for rent for parties, weddings, anniversaries, and such. The lower level is home to the fitness center, swimming pool, sauna and hot tub, showers and laundry facilities. We have seen several beautiful weddings performed on the Cutty’s Clubhouse Lawn. And one of the best perks about being a Member at Cutty’s is having access to the indoor pool and fitness center during the winter months!
On the North side of the clubhouse are tennis courts and basketball courts. You can use your own equipment and balls, but if you forgot them at home, there are some at the Gatehouse nearby you can check out (for free) while you stay. They also offer Pickleball equipment.
The West Side is where the majority of the campsites are located, as well as Main Street, the Country Store, Mini Golf, Shuffleboard, Horseshoes, three more playgrounds, the Cabin Rentals, and much more. Cutty’s has a special Activities Team that host games and crafts for Members and their families. There is a different theme each week of the summer. (It is very difficult to get bored at Cutty’s in our experience, but we try). And so, weeks when we are interested in being closer to the activities, we choose a site over there.
For example, several nights in the summer, the Activities Team hosts an outdoor movie by the lake. This grassy knoll creates a natural theater, welcoming several dozen families on a Friday or Saturday night, with popcorn, drinks and hotdogs to feast on. This grassy knoll also is the site for one of the greatest private fireworks displays, for 4th of July, that I have ever personally witnessed! (Funded largely by Member pop can donations)
Just down the hill is where the Paddle Boats are stored. Paddle boats rentals are included in your camping fee, and are a great way to get out on the lake.
As Members, we love to invite some of our friends out to stay as Guests. Most of our friends don’t own campers (YET) but they love to stay in one of the nice Park Model Cabins available for rent at Cutty’s. This group of Cabins is just up from the lake, and a stone’s throw away from Main Street and the Store.
And speaking of Main Street, this area is home to live music, Mom Calling Contests, Family Feud, Bingo, Pine Car Derby and much, much more throughout the summer. Like I said, I dare you to get “bored” here!
The Country Store has lots of wonderful homestyle food, a grocery store section (in case you forgot the ketchup) and serves delicious ice cream treats late into the evenings.
They also carry a great selection of RV items (RV toilet paper, elbow for the water hose, plumbing pieces, fuses, and the like) which has totally saved our fannys a time or two…or at least saved us a trip into town.
As a first time owner of a Camper, it has been very comforting to know that Cutty’s Maintenance Staff are trained to handle RV repairs. Their fees are very reasonable, and they are available on the weekends, too. Last summer, during the three weeks of 115 degree heat index, our air conditioner stopped, and Maintenance was able to fix it while still parked on our spot. It makes me feel secure, knowing I have support available should I need it.
Most days, throughout the summer, you will find my children and I by the pool. The kids still enjoy the toddler fountain, even though the older boys are avid swimmers. They both have graduated from “floaties” this summer at ages four and six with no swim lessons. The credit goes to Cutty’s, we are in this pool almost every day, and they are very comfortable in the water.
And, during some of our more “extended stays” (we stayed 77 days in a row last summer) it is wonderful that there is a Laundry facility located up by the pool! Mom starts laundry, we swim…it’s the most relaxing multitasking I could ask for!
And when it is too cool for the pool, you can find us at the Miniature Golf Course. Golf Clubs are free to rent, balls are available for purchase, in the store. They also carry free equipment rentals for Shuffleboard, Horseshoes, and the Gaga Pit. But we love the Mini Golf. Each of the 18 holes is 2 par, and I just love to hear my kids hoorah when they get a Hole in ONE!
And last (but not all, and certainly not least), Cutty’s has an Adult Center that hosts church services on Sunday mornings, adult card games on Friday nights, Saturday morning crafts, and is available for rent for birthday parties, and the like.
Even if your “children” are your fur babies, behind the Adult Center is a Dog Park with you in mind.
One would think that all those amenities would make this place out of reach for the average camper…but not so! The affordability is impressive. So, what are you waiting for? We are saving a spot for you!
Information about the park can be viewed at
Questions or reservations can also be made by calling (515) 986-3929.
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Review by Sashya C.