Welcome to Iowa
The Hawkeye State is the place where the nation begins its long race to the presidential elections every four years, where animals are crafted from butter for the annual state fair and where farmland stretches as far as the eye can see. But beyond these iconic heartland images, there’s so much more to this Midwestern gem. Take a moment to scratch the surface and see all that Iowa offers.
Home to one of our nation’s most celebrated state fairs, Des Moines is a city rich with history, natural beauty and cultural impact. Visit the grand Capitol, with its golden dome, then interact with the quirky artworks of Pappajohn Sculpture Park. For wholesome food, gather homegrown produce at the weekly farmers market, or seek out trendy restaurants downtown. Located on the Mississippi River, the small town of Dubuque is a big getaway in eastern Iowa. Learn more about this national waterway’s history, flora and fauna with a visit to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.
Western Iowa’s Loess Hills are a sight to behold. Here, the flatlands and farmlands give way to rippling hills. Take a drive along the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway, hike through Loess Hills State Forest, or enjoy a variety of outdoor activities at Stone State Park. Head underground at Maquoketa Caves State Park to experience one of Iowa’s greatest wonders in this extensive system of caverns.
Fun on Water
For beautiful views, paddlers will want to head to the Upper Iowa River, known for its massive limestone bluffs, or the Maquoketa River Water Trail. Those chasing thrills can find them at the many whitewater parks sprinkled across the state. Northeast Iowa is the place to go for rippling trout streams. Boaters and anglers should check out the Iowa Great Lakes, a chain of natural glacial lakes renowned for their exceptionally clear, blue, fish-rich waters.
Davenport’s the heart of the region’s “The Quad Cities,” where you’ll find a wide variety of outdoor adventure venues. Shoot a round of golf at local courses. Cheer the River Bandits ball team. Rip down a zip line, scream at a drag race, watch a waterskiing show or catch a flick at a classic drive-in. Make the Quad Cities your base and take RV day trips for fun and adventure in nearby urban hubs, including Chicago, Des Moines, St. Louis, Kansas City and Minneapolis. Head back to Davenport in time to watch sunsets over the Mississippi from the pedestrian-friendly Davenport Skybridge. Cross the Credit Island bridge for hiking adventures on a lush isle in the middle of the Mighty Miss.
Go to Burlington, where, in 1805, settler Zebulon Pike (the Pike in “Pike’s Peak”) raised the U.S. flag on the handsome bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Soon, this river port town bustled with steamboat and railroad trade. Today, many of the town’s buildings enjoy spots on National Register of Historic Places. How about a visit to Snake Alley, the world’s “crookedest” alleyway? Follow the winding path of limestone and blueclay bricks for a scenic walking experience.