The Lake Manawa Beach is part of the larger Lake Manawa State Park. The beach is located near the Lakeshore Country Club, and across from the Omaha Bridge Road. The nearest highways to the beach are 29 and 80. On 80, travelers can take exit 3 for the Lake or from 29 drivers will want to watch for exit 47. The lake is about 2.5 miles from each of the exits, with clear signage.
The beach is billed as a good family destination and offers families the chance to camp out near the water. There are shower and bathhouse facilities available. There are 72 campsite all together, and 37 of those campsites have power hook ups. Advance campsite reservation is available through the state park reservation system online. However, half of the campsites are available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Unfortunately, Lake Manawa Beach in Council Bluffs ranks at the bottom of travelers recommended attractions for the area. There are several reasons for this. A major issue is the cleanliness of the facilities at the beach and camp area. Over the last several years many travelers have reported finding the facilities dirty and in disrepair. As a result, many visit once and do not return. The most recent reviews of the park area in 2008 did not remark on any improvements to the area.
Families who are interested in the area may want to try the Lake Manawa Beach for a day trip rather than an overnight as a result. Scouting the area before camping would also be advisable. However, while the bathroom facilities got panned, there were not complaints on the picnic areas. Thus, it would be possible to have a nice picnic and day down at the water without having to get too involved with the shower situation.