Iowa Travel Guide

Iowa, with its attractive silhouette, is a rural state that produces an abundance of crops and livestock. Hog farms abound, meaning that tasty pork chops can be found on almost every street corner. Full of historical landmarks, this state was the set where the much-loved film Gone with the Wind was shot. Boasting some quaint small cities, this pleasant urban state serves as a reminder of how life used to be in days gone by. Though a comparatively small state, Iowa has much to offer those who take the time to explore it.

State capital Des Moines is Iowa’s largest city, and boasts a thriving nightlife as well as some interesting sights. Situated at the junction where the Des Moines River meets the Raccoon river, this rural centre of agriculture is home to the Iowa Museum of Agriculture and the Des Moines Art Center. The fascinating 1884 Masonic Library can be found in Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s lovely second city. Here you will find the National Czech and Slovak Museum and a large collection of artist Grant Wood’s artwork on display in the city’s art museum.

For history buffs, Davenport is well worth a visit. Site of the end of the Black Hawk War, the city is full of historical sites of interest, as well as some lovely rugged scenery along the majestic Mississippi river. Credit Island Park is a great place to soak up some history. In contrast, budding hippies will enjoy bohemian Iowa City, a trendy college town with a slightly psychedelic reputation.

Those wishing to head into rural Iowa should try out the Effigy Mounds National Monument to behold a collection of enormous ancient mounds in the shapes of bears and other creatures such as eagles, falcons, deer and turtles. Hiking and camping are popular activities in the area. For more outdoor pursuits, head to McIntosh Woods State Park and stay in a traditional Mongolian style Yurt in the forest. Visitors can fish, swim and sunbathe at the lake and escape civilization for a while.

There are many other attractions to be found within rural Iowa. For instance, visit Sergeant Bluff in Sioux City for a taste of history, or check out Waterloo with its fascinating Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area. Here visitors can have a go at working on a dairy farm. View working turbines steaming over the Iowa River at Lidtke Mill Historical Site in Lime Springs, or for something sweet try the Wilder Memorial Museum in Strawberry Point.