State Of Iowa
Family fun abounds in this midwestern state known for its rolling plains and cornfields. The Iowa State Fair will keep kids entertained, while the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library will interest U.S. history buffs.
This midwestern state is known for rolling plains and miles of farmland, especially cornfields. But the Hawkeye State also houses historical sites and monuments like the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, the Grotto of the Redemption––an early 1900’s shrine built of rare rocks and gemstones––and the Amana Colonies, which are a collection of seven historic villages from 1855.
There is plenty of family fun from the famous Iowa State Fair to amusement parks like Adventureland Park in Altoona and Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo. Children and adults alike can devour a scoop of Blue Bunny ice cream from Le Mars, the Ice Cream Capital of the World. And families or solo travelers will love the many outdoor recreational opportunities throughout the state, like watersports, winter sports, and camping.
Movie buffs can take a trip to The Field of Dreams baseball field in Dubuque County or the Bridges of Madison County, a collection of covered bridges built in the late 19th century which were also featured in the 1955 film of the same name.
Whether it’s snowboarding through one of Iowa’s popular ski resorts or chowing down on one of the Super Special Corn Creations at the Iowa State Fair, families and travelers will enjoy exploring what Iowa has to offer.
Best Places to Visit in Iowa
The capital city is most famous for hosting the Iowa Caucus, but it’s also known for its Downtown Farmers’ Market, Botanical Garden and Art Center.
State Capitol Building: Take a tour of the century-old Iowa Statehouse, famous for its 275-foot gold-leafed dome.
Des Moines Art Center: Browse the contemporary works inside the museum and the 4.4 acre Pappajohn Sculpture Garden Park.
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden: Located on the east bank of the Des Moines River, the Botanical Garden features 7-acres of gardens, a cafe and shop.
Blank Park Zoo: The 49-acre zoo is home to over 100 different animal species and almost 1,500 animal specimens.
Cities in Iowa
Cedar Rapids: Browse the collection of native Iowan painter Grant Wood at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.
Waterloo: Bike the Cedar Valley Trails or splash around at Lost Island Water Park.
Iowa City: Visit the state’s first capitol building, which now houses a museum of local history.
Sioux City: Check out the Sioux City Art Center and the Sergeant Floyd Monument, a National Historic Landmark, in the 4th largest city in the state.
Ames: Located approximately 30 miles north of the capital, Ames is best known for being the home of Iowa State University (ISU).
Iowa State and National Parks
Maquoketa Caves State Park: Hiking trails lead to caves and other geological landmarks.
Backbone State Park: This nature reserve features climbing, hiking, biking, fishing, camping and snowmobiling.
Pikes Peak State Park: This thousand-acre park features a 500-foot bluff that overlooks the Mississippi River.
Effigy Mounds National Monument: Over 200 American Indian burial and ceremonial mounds are preserved in Harpers Ferry.
Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area: This collection of more than 90 community and privately owned sites related to the history of American agriculture covers the northeast third of the state.
Popular Tourist Attractions
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium: Located in Dubuque, this aquarium and science center is focused on providing educational experiences that bring history and rivers to life, with daily exhibits, events and shows.
RAGBRAI: The “Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa”, established in 1973, is a week-long bicycle ride which draws recreational riders from across the United States and internationally.
The Bridges of Madison County: Celebrate the covered bridges made famous by Clint Eastwood’s 1955 romantic film at the Covered Bridge Festival held in Winterset each October.
Field of Dreams Movie Site: Tour the farm, baseball field and home built for the 1989 popular hollywood flick of the same name featuring Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones.
Iowa 80 Trucking Museum: Explore antique trucks, vintage memorabilia and trucking artifacts located in this museum and gift shop, devoted to promoting the importance of trucking in everyday life.
Roller Coaster Road: Get an adrenaline rush while driving through this hilly stretch of road in Allamakee County.
Iowa Great Lakes
Visit one of the natural lakes covering 15,000 acres in northwestern Iowa.
West Okoboji Lake: A glacial lake created 14,000 years ago, West Okoboji is one of only three blue water lakes in the world.
East Okoboji Lake: The longest lake in Iowa is a popular fishing destination in addition to being popular for picnicking and camping along the western shoreline.
Big Spirit Lake: The largest lake in Iowa at 5,684 acres, Big Spirit is popular for fishing, kiteboarding, and bird watching.