Iowa has a name that's Native American in origin and comes from the name of one of the 17 tribes who lived in the Hawkeye state in the period when settlers first came to this part of the USA. The frontier feel of the state is still present in some of the more out of the way parts of the region, and thanks to its importance as part of the struggle for the Wild West, there are plenty of historic towns in the state with evocative names and impressive stories to share with visitors.
These days of course, Iowa is a modern place albeit one that has incredible areas of natural beauty and landscapes that remain untouched by agriculture thanks to their ruggedness and inaccessibility. Anyone who is interested in Iowa travel and getting out into nature will love the chance to explore some of the more remote wilderness areas of the state, and many people spend their Iowa travel exploring in the rolling plains and prairies that make up most of the landscape.
If you choose to escape out into the countryside away from the modern cities like Des Moines Iowa, then one of the first things that you will notice is just how flat the state is. It is made for walking or cycling, and there are plenty of easy trails through the main Iowa state parks such as the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trails that are fun to follow.
Away from the city, you can camp, rent cabins, or even choose to stay with the locals in one of the many rural Iowa bed and breakfast guesthouses and country hotels. These small properties offer intimate accommodation that is basic, but friendly, and great value for money.
Some of the more popular places to stay can be found on the main Indian reservations. Thanks to reductions in the local gambling laws, many Native American tribes now operate large casinos on their lands, and these include entertainment and excellent facilities. Iowa Casinos are renowned as some of the best outside Las Vegas, and attract many of the states visitors from overseas and locally.
Perhaps the best way of seeing the state for yourself is to rent a car and take to the open road. Iowa travel should include exploring places like Iowa City and Cedar Falls Iowa, as well as more off the beaten track areas such as the Effigy Mounds National Monument near Harpers Ferry, which is located on the banks of the Mississippi river, and has plenty of deeply important Native American areas to explore.
There is a rich cultural tradition in Iowa and the local people are proud of their heritage, and take every opportunity to promote their unique history. The Iowa State Fair, which has been held for more than 150 years takes place in early August in Des Moines, and is the premier social event of the year with a carnival atmosphere that includes plenty of parties, fairground rides, and the chance for the local agricultural community to show off their wares. If you visit Iowa in summer, a few days at the fair is something that will certainly not disappoint you.
Top image: Nicholas_T (flickr)