Miller Riverview Park Campground, Dubuque Iowa Camping

The best primitive camping in Dubuque Iowa and truck camping packing list

I found a gem! I’m camping out of my truck on the shore of the Mississippi River! This $15 campsite is at Miller Riverview Park, 1851 Admiral Sheehy Dr, Dubuque, IA 52001, USA, located next to W Casino. This municipal park includes many RV campsites and a small loop of primitive campsites. Make a reservation here.

My site is #55 and is located on the water. I’m up early and every few minutes I hear a fish jump. The train tracks across the river are active, but not noisy, with a train passing by every hour or two. It’s amazing that one train engine can pull so many train cars which seem to go on and on! Downriver, about a half mile is the Hwy-151 bridge which is also not load but busy with semi trucks and vehicles.

I’m here in mid-May (2021) so the daytime temperatures are 50-60’s F and there are no bugs and some sprinkles and cool breeze. I’ve made special provisions of lots of campfire wood, food, camp tools, and just the basics, as I’m camping alone. This overnight trip was intended to discover if this campground and campsite are worthy of returning with my family.

Besides the campsite needing to be picked up from the last litterbug guests, the cell signal here is super slow which is okay because I’m camping, not working. I have my truck set up for sleeping in and I built a tarp house off the back of it, it’s pretty big about 20‘ x 20‘ with the fire pit just outside the tarp. My shelter has sloped sides to stop the wind which I’ve anchored using two picnic tables. I’ve placed my firewood under the tables. The fire ring is not small and includes a nice fold-over bbq grill grate which needs cleaning. It’s 4am now and the river has dense fog except by the highway bridge.

For this one-night camping trip, I decided to sleep out of the back of my truck using a queen-size sleeping bag and air mattress. That worked well!

Here’s my truck camping packing list for this weekend!

Van or Truck camping must-haves summer travel packing list

  • ice and bubbler in garage fridge
  • Small folding table
  • air mattress with pump
  • Queen size sleeping bag & pillows
  • Clothes
  • Shoes and boots
  • Rain coat and jacket
  • Towel
  • toiletries
  • Cooler with ice
  • Cigarette lighter with USB plugs or portable power bank
  • Car top carrier or trailer
  • Firewood, kindling, Tinder, fire starters and a lighter
  • Wet wipes
  • Camp stove, LP and pots and pans
  • Coffee supplies, coffee, French press and powdered creamer
  • Food and utensils and plates
  • Cups and drinks
  • jug, Water, beer
  • Music
  • Lantern and headlamps
  • Camp chairs
  • Knife and tool box with hatchet
  • Tarps, tent poles and stakes and string
  • Bug spray, sun tan lotion and first aid kit
  • Power inverter 12v to 120v
  • iPhone and charger


My view is beautiful, on the Mississippi with lots of room and plenty of shade. The riverbanks is rocks in the grass and sand and water. There is no swimming here but you could launch a canoe and I see lots of campers fishing! There are lots of rocks and shells and plenty of space to hike off my campsite. There is lots of boats, bald eagles, swans, geese with babies, swallows, cranes, pelicans and many songbirds. The campsites are open but very spaced out and Site 55 is huge so it’s still private. 5 tents would easily fit in this campsite with vistas, however. This campground faces East and is open to the sunlight so I would imagine it may get very hot here in high summer.

Campsite Pro Tip!

Don’t situate your campsite too close to the fire ring. This way, when the wind shifts, the campfire smoke doesn’t ruin your camp!

I love that this campground is 45 minutes from Mineral Point, Wisconsin and in town in Dubuque yet I’m still in the woods— it’s amazing and I love the Spot!