25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa

Iowa has more to offer than many visitors might think, from unique beach towns filled with waterside amusement parks to towns with a deep history and inspired by a rich Dutch heritage. No matter what the season, visitors to Iowa will be entertained in a variety of ways, from wintertime snowmobile excursions to summertime festivals and flea markets, drive-in theaters, springtime golf sessions to delightful walks along the river in the autumn. Visitors to Iowa will find pleasure and enjoyment in many regions but are encouraged to explore many of its destinations to get a solid grasp of all that Iowa has to offer. Photo: Dave Newman/Fotolia

»Des Moines

Des Moines

Originally named after the river on which it sits, Des Moines was first established as Fort Des Moines in 1843 and eventually grew into the city that it is today. Des Moines has come a long way from its U.S. Army base roots, so much so that in modern Des Moines guests and locals can see a Broadway show many nights throughout the year, purchase locally grown produce and locally raised meat from the Downtown Farmers Market, and even visit extensive art galleries showcasing local and national artists. Des Moines also features many family-friendly attractions, ranging from outdoor hikes along the river to child-centric museums and restaurants. Things to Do in Des Moines Photo: gnagel/Fotolia



City of bluffs, craft beer, Mississippi River adventures, intricate history, and Loras College, Dubuque finds itself as a bridge between rural and urban Iowa, classic architecture and new innovations, and maintaining the old way of doing things while pushing forward into the future. Officially the first established town in Iowa, settled in 1833, Dubuque was founded by Julien Dubuque before Iowa was officially a state. Depending on the season, guests are often enthralled with eagle watching on Lock & Dam #11, enjoying free family and individual programs through the Multicultural Family Center, or enjoying a tri-city view from the Fenelon City Elevator. Things to Do in Dubuque Photo: geraldmarella/Fotolia

»Sioux City

Sioux City

Sioux City, located in northwest Iowa, is locally renowned for its art and history museums, the most significant being the Sioux City Art Center and the Sioux City Public Museum. Families may enjoy a visit to the Children's Museum, which has many interactive attractions, or a trip to the Sergeant Floyd River Museum, which tells of the town's industrial history surrounding the Missouri River. Visitors to Sioux City may also enjoy the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, a family-oriented museum covering the early 1800s expedition that helped expand the early United States. Photo: dustin77a/Fotolia



Geographically located along the Mississippi river and symbolically recognized as being part of the crossroads of America, Davenport has a population of nearly 100,000 and is part of the Quad Cities. Once a city that existed primarily for manufacturing and other Mississippi-based industries, Davenport has recently undergone a heavy rejuvenation, helping to reshape the school systems, neighborhoods, public services, and more to levels that haven't been seen in this region in over 80 years. Being a regional cultural hub and third largest city in Iowa, this city offers unique and diverse art, recreation, and music for all to enjoy while spending time in the Quad Cities. Things to Do in Davenport Photo: Stephen Burroughs/Fotolia

»Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids

Regionally renowned for being one of the best cities for children, Cedar Rapids has an extensive list of attractions, restaurants, and entertainment geared towards families. From indoor entertainment for children at the Play Station to interactive exhibits and puppet shows at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, children will be endlessly entertained while parents are given a chance to relax. For a more engaging family experience, the indoor Newbo City Market may pique everyone's interests, while Speedeezz Indoor Karting will playfully bring out the competitive side in everyone. For the young learning mind, the Iowa Children's Museum is heavily recommended as it features a 28,000-square-foot playground for children to investigate and learn in while having a lot of fun. Things to Do in Cedar Rapids Photo: Cedar Rapids

»Iowa City

Iowa City

Iowa City, a self-proclaimed collection of communities, rests in the central-southeastern part of the state and is home to the University of Iowa. Filled with plenty of craft breweries, wineries, and local restaurants, visitors to Iowa City will not go hungry or thirsty while looking for something special to please their palate. However, the real charm of Iowa City isn't just its museums, local concert halls, delicious restaurants, or universities. When it comes to pleasing visitors the most, Iowa City strives with its seemingly endless list of events and festivals that take place throughout the year, providing travelers with ample opportunities to plan their trip around a special event they will enjoy. Things to Do in Iowa City Photo: Jesse Kunerth/Fotolia



Ever proud of their heritage, the Amana Colonies were founded as a group of settlements in 1855 by German Pietists. There were seven original villages, all of which now comprise the Amana Colonies. For nearly 80 years after their founding in Iowa, the colonies were completely self-sufficient, an isolated local economy that allowed their heritage and traditions to maintain intact. The modern day Amana Colonies are an enormous tourist attraction known primarily for its restaurants and custom traditional shops. Reflecting their German heritage to this day, the Amana Colonies have been on the list of National Historic Landmarks since 1965.

More Iowa ideas: Iowa City, flea markets, wedding venues, lakes, caves Photo: Natalia Bratslavsky/Fotolia



Home to Iowa State University and much more, Ames is a desirable tourist destination in Iowa that deserves a spot on any itinerary. Whether passing through Ames or deciding to stay for an extended period of time, Ames has a variety of accommodations to satisfy the needs of guests, from quaint bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels and everything between. The city itself is dotted with delicious restaurants, craft breweries, wineries, and cozy coffee shops where travelers can rest while taking in scenic views of downtown. When the weather is pleasant, there are numerous outdoor activities to partake in, such as golfing at the Ames Golf and Country Club or renting a bike to explore the town on two wheels. Things to Do in Ames Photo: eqroy/Fotolia



Quietly residing along the Des Moines River is Bentonsport, a once vibrant town of nearly 1,000 individuals that has since shrunk to a population of merely 40 residents. Even with the shrinking population, Bentonsport has not lost its spirit, and has maintained its atmosphere of an historical village along the water, with many of its shops located and residents still living in numerous buildings from the 1840s. The once crucial bridge to the town, the old truss bridge, still stands as a landmark to be explored and has been converted to a pedestrian bridge across the Des Moines River. Visitors who are history buffs will find great joy in Bentonsport, and also in the fact that the town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo: Villages of Van Buren County, Iowa



The entire state of Iowa owes credit of its nickname, the Hawkeye State, to Burlington after a newspaper founded in the city was renamed from the Iowa Patriot to The Hawk-eye. Given that Burlington is situated on the powerful Mississippi River, many of its former industries were based around the river itself, and modern day Burlington still incorporates the Mississippi into many of its daily leisure activities. The greater Burlington area is also steeped in history and enables guests to experience exciting events, such as minor league baseball games or the chance to explore what was once called "The Crookedest Street in the World," Snake Alley. Photo: Burlington

»Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls

Featuring a wide assortment of year-round events, Cedar Falls is an ideal destination for travelers who like to experience new and interesting things. A town that puts an emphasis on physical activity, it is common to find various races being hosted in Cedar Falls, both on foot and by bike. For families visiting that don't want to have to plan too far in advance, the many amusement parks and water parks in Cedar Falls are the perfect solution to a simple yet exhilarating family experience. Family fun isn't all that Cedar Falls has to offer, however, as it is also home to the Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel. Photo: Cedar Falls

»Clear Lake

Clear Lake

For those who love the water, Clear Lake in Iowa is a community built on a 3,684-acre natural lake that has an average depth of 10 feet, providing entertainment for visitors and locals alike throughout all seasons of the year. Fishing, swimming, sailing, boating/water sports, and relaxing on the beach are all viable options when the weather is pleasant, and in the colder parts of the year guests can enjoy shopping in the retail district, attending a local concert, or catching a movie at the historical theater. Clear Lake also holds various special events throughout the year, so potential travelers are always encouraged to peruse the calendar of events before planning their trip. Photo: Clear Lake

»Council Bluffs

Council Bluffs

Situated directly on the Iowa/Nebraska border and a very short commute from Omaha, Council Bluffs maintains that authentic small midwestern town charm while also providing access to many amenities, attractions, and large town features. From the Council Bluffs Farmers Market to the various golf courses, Harrah's Casino and Hotel to the Great Plains Wing Museum, Council Bluffs has something for every type of visitor, whether they are solo travelling history buffs or a family travelling on a relaxing vacation. All guests, however, are encouraged to visit the Union Pacific Railroad Museum as it paints a clear picture of the development of many midwestern cities. Photo: johnsroad7/Fotolia

You are reading "25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA Today" Back to Top or Weekend Getaways Vacations with Kids, Getaways near me & Tourism, Cheap things to do, Scenic places near me, What to do in, Weather, Trip finder



For each of the four seasons, Decorah has a special set of entertainment, events, restaurant menus, and festivals for guests to enjoy. During the coldest months guests can enjoy ice fishing, cozy cabin camping, snowmobile adventures, cross-country skiing, and warming up by the fire in one of many restaurants featuring seasonal menus. When warmth finds its way to Decorah, the golf courses open and there are many scheduled festivals, while families and individuals can cool off by swimming in local rivers and mountain bike rental opens up many miles of trails to be explored and enjoyed. Photo: Eric/Fotolia

"25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA" Back to Top or More Famous Landmarks, Fish Restaurants, Bars, Cafes, Food near me, Cheap Activities, Fall Honeymoon, Cities, Downtown Wedding Venues for couples

»Effigy Mounds National Monument

Effigy Mounds National Monument

The Effigy Mounds National Monument was founded primarily thanks to Ellison Orr, a local man born in 1857 whose work was the primary spearhead that lead to the eventual preservation of the mounds. The near 200 mounds showcased at the Effigy Mounds National Monument are set along the stunning Upper Mississippi River Valley, a region known for lush greens and immersive forests. Animals represented range from buffalo to eagles, foxes to horses, and all of them can be viewed by taking one of the many hiking trails throughout the park. Opening hours are year round, excluding major holidays, and the park is sometimes closed during extreme weather events. Photo: Zack Frank/Fotolia

"25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA this Weekend with Friends" Back to Top or Romantic Places to live, Tourism, December Last Minute Travel, Beach Vacations, Historic Towns, Photos and Map of Conference & Wedding Destinations near my location

Vacation Ideas: Best California beaches, Romantic weekend getaways in Texas, Romantic Weekend Getaways from DC, Things to Do in CT this weekend, North Carolina Beaches near me, Best Things to do in Tampa, Things to Do in Maine

»Elk Horn

Elk Horn

In conjunction with Kimballton, Elk Horn represents one half of the Danish Villages, the two largest Danish settlements outside of urban areas in the U.S. Elk Horn is home to the only authentic Danish windmill in the entirety of the United States, which was shipped from Norre Snede, Denmark, and assembled by over 300 volunteers in 1976. Visitors to the area are invited to try authentic Danish cuisine at one of the many local restaurants, learn the history of the area and its founders from interpretive centers, or partake in one of the many festivals that occur year round, celebrating Danish culture and way of life. Photo: Henryk Sadura/Fotolia

"25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA Things to Do near Me Today" Back to Top or Best Restaurants near me, Family Weekend Trips, Images of Hotels, Discounts, Boutique Hotels, Excursions, Inn & Bed and Breakfasts, Must See Tourist Attractions

Vacations: Things to Do in Arkansas, Things to Do in Idaho, Places to visit in California, Things to Do in Indiana, Romantic weekend getaways in Oregon, Romantic weekend getaways in Maryland, Water parks in GA near me, Weekend Getaways from Dallas, Weekend getaways for couples, Things to Do in Pennsylvania, Weekend Getaways from Houston, Things to Do in Seattle

»Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

Birthplace of 31st President of the United States Herbert Hoover, the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site preserved and educates on the upbringing of President Hoover and his career after leaving this small town. Home to the actual building where Herbert Hoover grew up - a small two-room cottage - this National Historic Site is a treat for history buffs and curious visitors alike, providing many hands-on exhibits supplemented with interesting facts and highlights of Hoover's career. There is also a Presidential Library and Museum on site as well as the burial place of Herbert Hoover, all of which are open to the public during operating hours. Photo: rruntsch/Fotolia

"25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA" Back to Top or Romantic Getaways, Wedding Ideas close to me this Weekend, Honeymoon, Anniversary Ideas, Getting Married & Romantic Places around me

Fun places near me & How far is: Things to Do in Tucson, Things to Do in Islamorada, Romantic weekend getaways in Colorado, Best Things to Do in Georgia, Fun Things to Do in Virginia Beach, Things to Do in Flagstaff, Romantic weekend getaways Minneapolis, Things to Do in Columbus, Things to Do in Kansas City, Romantic weekend getaways Rhode Island, Things to Do in Sanibel Island Florida, Texas caves

»Le Claire

Le Claire

Situated slightly up the Mississippi River from the Quad Cities, Le Claire has often been voted the best city to take an out of town guest by the Quad City Times Readers' Choice Awards. A town originally founded thanks in part to industry located along the river, Le Claire has grown and changed over the years but still manages to hold onto its Old World charm. Guests are invited to experience an era long since past by visiting one of the many interactive museums in town, such as the Buffalo Bill Museum, or peruse one of the many historical buildings built in the late 1800s. Photo: Photography by Jack/Fotolia

"25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA" Back to Top or Places to Eat, Beautiful Excursions, Bucket list, Fun & Cheap Weekend Getaways for couples this month, Dog Friendly, What's near me, Nearby Restaurants, Activities



Nearly equidistant between Dubuque and Davenport, Maquoketa is often the stopping point for locals driving between these two larger cities. Given its desirable location, it is easy to understand why locals would chose to stop here when passing through, and given a few special attractions, it is easy to understand why tourists would want to make this a stop on their itinerary. Maquoketa Caves State Park, Iowa's largest collection of caves, will fill almost any visitor with a sense of adventure, and the Hurstville Lime Kilns are a must-see for any local history enthusiasts. For the family-focused trip, 61 Drive-in Theater is one of the last few remaining outdoor theaters in the United States. Photo: Wirepec/Fotolia

You are reading "25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA with Kids" Back to Top or Places near me, Threeday weekend, Solo travel, elevation, National parks, Day trip, Travel inspiration

More: Places to Visit in Iowa, Things to Do in Iowa City, Flea markets in Iowa, Dubuque Zip Line, Iowa Breweries, Wedding venues in Iowa, Iowa lakes, Iowa vacation, Things to Do in Ames, , Romantic Getaways in Iowa, Things to Do in Iowa, Grotto Iowa

»Mason City

Mason City

When it comes to Mason City, there are a few specific attractions that are sure to keep guests coming back time and time again. Home to a museum filled with over 500 marionettes and puppets, this exhibit showcases a large majority of Bil Baird's work as a puppet master. After a visit to the museum or Music Man Square, a tribute to musician Meredith Willson, guests can head to Northwestern Steakhouse for an award-winning dinner and then to Birdsall's Ice Cream for a scrumptious dessert of hand-made ice cream, a local favorite in Mason City since the 1930s. Photo: Mason City

Fun places to visit, events, facts, tours, all inclusive & photos of fun things to do near me last minute: Great Family vacations, Attractions near my location & Free Activities

Trips: Things to Do in Montgomery AL, Things to Do in Franklin, Things to Do in Irving, Things to Do in Santa Fe, Things to Do in Santa Barbara, Girls weekend getaways, Things to Do in Las Vegas, Things to Do in West Palm Beach, Best tropical island vacations, Things to Do in Galveston, Things to Do in Savannah, Things to Do in Oregon, Things to Do in Pigeon Forge, Things to Do in Tacoma, Things to Do in Sioux Falls, Things to Do in Okahoma



Founded by European fur traders and maintained by soldiers, Muscatine eventually bloomed and boomed thanks to the lumber harvesting and transporting industry. Many years passed with lumber as Muscatine's primary industry, that is until 1887, when German immigrant John F. Boepple came to the area in search of a suitable material for high quality buttons. After discovering that mussel shells from deep in the Mississippi made the perfect blank button forms, Muscatine quickly became the highest producer of buttons in the entire world, providing at its peak nearly 40% of the total buttons worldwide. Modern day Muscatine is no longer focused on lumber or buttons but has moved onto to tourism to draw in guests travelling for business and pleasure alike. Photo: Wirepec/Fotolia

You are reading "25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA this Weekend" Back to Top or More Unique Family Vacations, Pet friendly, Interesting Excursions, Food near me, Road trips & Cool places to visit

Vacations: Things to Do in Charleston WV, Things to Do on Dauphin Island, Things to Do in Provincetown, Things to Do in Pensacola, Things to Do in Birmingham, Best beaches in USA, Things to Do in Detroit, Places to Visit in Indiana, Things to Do in Washington, Northern California beaches



Beachside lake adventures can be found in Iowa when the weather is right, and one of the best places to enjoy the sunshine and waves is in Okoboji, located on the Iowa Great Lakes. When it comes to waterside entertainment, Arnolds Park is the go-to destination, often renowned as the Okoboji version of Coney Island. There are plenty of quirky and fun restaurants located on the water to serve guests any fashion of food or alcohol they could crave, and there are even dinner boating tours than can be enjoyed on the open water. When the weather turns cold, Okoboji hosts its own version of the Winter Olympics and spectators are always welcome. Photo: Jesse Kunerth/Fotolia

"25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA" Back to Top or Traveler trip finder, Air travel, Guide App channel, Live music, Art institutes, Fun places to go, Vacation spots near me

Vacation ideas: Things to Do in Nantucket, Things to Do in Coeur d'Alene, Things to Do in Jacksonville, Things to Do in Fayetteville, Things to Do in Steamboat Springs, Things to Do in Pittsburgh, Things to Do in Baltimore

»Orange City

Orange City

Ever since holding its first Tulip Festival in the 1930s, Orange City has been inspiring and entertaining guests with its Dutch heritage and other unique amenities. With over 100,000 visitors every year to celebrate the Tulip Festival, Orange City is no stranger to entertaining tourists. When it isn't tulip season, Orange City still celebrates its heritage, with its Dutch-style businesses, restaurants, and museums filled with exhibits on local history and culture. Guests interested in learning about specific events and entertainment options are encouraged to visit the Orange City website for more details. Photo: James Reininger/Fotolia

"25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA" Back to Top or Contemporary art, Spa Treatment, Watch live, Trip ideas, Beach vacations, Essential Weekend getaways, Travel inspiration

Fun things to do near me now with friends, weather, beaches, cheap weekend Getaways: Places to Visit in West Virginia, Things to Do in Santa Cruz, Things to Do in Providence, Things to Do in Lake George, Things to Do in Fredericksburg TX, Things to Do in Buffalo NY



Home to the Tulip Time Festival, held in late spring, Pella often draws crowds of over 150,000 visitors during the three-day celebration. With many gardens spread throughout a town that is filled with blooming tulips, visitors to the Tulip Time Festival are entertained by two parades each day, traditional Dutch food, elaborate floats, and many of the local residents dressed in Dutch clothing and wooden shoes. Pella is also home to the biggest functioning grain windmill in the U.S., a fully restored windmill from the 1900s. Visitors can find Dutch-style restaurants and entertainment year round, even when the Iowa weather turns cold. Photo: Laurens/Fotolia

"25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA" Back to Top or Travel tips, Hiking trails, Beach vacations, Golf courses, Arts center, Travel guide, Amusement parks, malls near me, nightlife, water park

Free vacation ideas, family getaways: Best places to travel in February, Best Maine islands, Things to Do in Sausalito, Things to Do in Hartford, Things to Do in New Paltz, Flower gardens near me, Louisiana resorts, Disney resorts, Tallest roller coasters



For visitors who seek unique cultural experiences in Iowa, Waterloo should be on the top of their list, especially when considering that this city has many museums in downtown, all within a 1-mile radius of each other. The Ice House museum was built in 1921, originally erected to store ice that had been cut from the Cedar River, and since repurposed and filled with interactive displays telling the story of how ice harvesting helped shape Waterloo. In a wider history stance, the Grout Museum of History and Science tends to showcase exhibits from around the world, giving visitors a taste of travel without ever having to leave Waterloo. Photo: Travel Waterloo

"25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA for Couples" Back to Top or Travel destinations, Family Travel, Summer Getaways, Travel Tips, More Unique Elopement Ideas & Sights, shopping center, nightclubs, breakfast

Family Vacation Ideas, cheap things to do near me & Warm Places to Visit: Things to Do in Boston, Things to Do in Eureka, Things to Do in Vancouver BC, Tempe, Things to Do in Roanoke, Things to Do in Bend, Augusta GA, Things to Do in Princeton, Spas, Caribbean honeymoon, Things to Do on Bainbridge Island

25 Best Places to Visit in Iowa, USA