Nicknamed the Hawkeye State, Iowa in the Midwest is home to many geographical, cultural and historical landmarks just waiting to be explored and visited.
The state’s capital Des Moines, named after the river, and is the ‘fastest growing metro in the Midwest’. And it is easy to see why.
Filled with activities including the Des Moines Botanical Gardens, Blank Park Zoo or the thriving Art Route, Des Moines has something for everyone. However if you are after a day of thrills then make your way to Adventureland Park where you will have your choice of over 100 rides, attractions and shows. And if you like your parks with water then get your tickets for Adventure Bay, Iowa’s premier water park. Whether you want to spend your time swimming, taking in the water rides, floating in the lazy river or just swimming up to the bar, the choice is yours. Admission is available as a singular activity or you can gain admission with your Adventureland Park ticket.
If theme parks are not your thing then why not try statue spotting? Iowa is home to some of the world’s largest structures including a bullhead fish statue, which is positioned on a crystal lake full of real bullhead fish.
There is also the world’s largest strawberry (made of fiberglass so do not try to eat it!), the world’s largest wooden nickel and of course, the world’s largest concrete bull.
Originally connected to the mainland, the island city of Sabula is now connected by a causeway and can be reached by either car or boat however if you like fishing Driscoll’s Island is halfway along the causeway and known as a great fishing spot.
Once on the island there are many places to visit including public parks and pubs and restaurants and is the perfect getaway for those wanting to go camping, boating or fishing. Measuring at only one mile long and a quarter of a mile wide, this small island is full of history including homes built by the original settlers.
For those who like their music along with their history a trip to Clear Lake is a must. The 1959 plane crash that sadly took the lives of, amongst others, the singers and songwriters Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson is famously recorded in history as the day the music died. Close to Gull Road, a memorial has been erected in the memory of all those who tragically died and although it is changed often, the display of steel cut records and guitars have been a fixture for some time.
While you are at Clear Lake there are plenty more activities you can partake in and places to visit including the Clear Lake State Park, the Clear Lake Farmers Market or the Lake Time Brewery.
A trip to Iowa is not complete without a visit to Iowa City where you can experience a plethora of restaurants and bars in their downtown area. The area also has a pedestrian mall as well as concerts and festivals during the summer months.
The city has some fantastic architecture including the Johnson County Courthouse, which was built in a Romanesque style. Meanwhile, if you head towards Iowa River you will be able to see the Old Capitol Building that served as the original capitol building until Des Moines became the state capitol in 1849.
You could also take a visit to the home of Robert Lucas who served as Iowa Governor between 1832 and 1836.
Head out towards the Coralville Lake Spillway and you will find the Devonian Fossil Gorge, an area that saw many different fossils found after a 1993 flood swept through the area.
Finally, take the time to visit the Great Lakes including the famous Spirit Lake, which is the largest glacier lake within Iowa. Situated in Dickinson County, there is a vast array of outdoor activities for you to choose from including camping at Elinor Bedell State Park. Based along the shore there are several RV Campsites for you to choose from where you can set up camp before heading out onto one of the paved hiking trails that are in the area.
If cycling is more your activity of choice then you need to visit Mini-Wakan State Park. Located on the north side of Big Spirit Lake, the park boasts some spectacular areas for swimming, hiking and cycling as well as a wide choice of stunning scenery to enjoy your picnic.
As well as the exciting outdoor activities available in Spirit Lake you can also spend a day shopping whether it is at the Great Lake Malls – which is full of fashion, jewellery, home décor and gift stores as well as places to go grab a pamper session – or for alcohol, the Okoboji Brewing Company, or sweets at Goodies Handmade Candies.
Whatever you chose to do with your time in Iowa it is important to remember that there are restrictions still in place in some areas due to the current climate so it may be worth contacting the company before you visit.