Things to Do in Iowa

There are excellent tourist attractions in Iowa located all over the state. They are open and accessible whether you've decided that when to go and enjoy your Iowa vacations is during the summer, winter, or any other season. You'll even find great outdoor winter Iowa activities in summer playgrounds like Okoboji Lake, and indoor water parks from one end of the state to the other.


There are a number caves providing tours and things to do in Iowa and some consist of very extensive cave systems. One of the most extensive networks is found at Maquoketa Caves State Park, which has the greatest number of caves in the entire state. Most of the caves are located in the northeast of the state in the Mississippi River Valley. These make excellent Iowa day trips if you're staying at or near one of the riverboat casinos or visiting Effigy Mounds National Monument.


Things to do in Iowa include this very popular sport. There are more than 400 golf courses and resorts in the state, many of them championship courses. The top golfing destinations are generally located in the regions around the cities, with the most found in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Sioux City, and Waterloo. But don't worry if you're not near a city, you will find one somewhere close to wherever you are, and they make great Iowa day trips if you are in a city and just want to get away for a few rounds.

Lakes and Lake Lodging

Lakes are some of the most popular attractions in Iowa for people seeking outdoor fun. Spirit Lake and Lake Okoboji in the north central Great Lakes Region are two prime destinations, and offer all the Iowa activities you can think of that happen in and on the water, including boating, sailing, and fishing. Here you will find great vacation cabins for rent as well as Spirit Lake hotels ranging from cheap motels to full-service resorts.


Both hunting and fishing are Iowa activities drawing a large number of sportsmen. Both the lakes and the many streams and rivers provide other things to do in Iowa if you're not an angler but, if you are, you will find fabulous fishing spots everywhere. They are in the carefully managed wildlife refuges and state parks; in pools on the mighty Mississippi River; and on private land and in the northeast trout streams. There are 148 fish species in the state, with the best sport fish being trout, catfish, pike, and sunfish (bass, among others).


Some of the best Iowa day trips occur on the hundreds of miles of hiking trails that meander their way throughout the state. Iowa ecosystems range from spectacular bluffs along the Mississippi and tall grass prairies to paved trails around the lakes. Some of best and most extensive network of trails can be found within a few miles of Des Moines, which is the capital and largest city. Many of the trails are also accessible to cyclists, and numerous trail heads with vehicle parking lots allow you to overnight in both luxury and cheap hotels as you park your car rentals and walk or cycle your way across the state.


The state's natural resources and wild places are popular attractions in Iowa that draw many campers. You will find them anywhere there are state parks, wildlife refuges, and fishing spots. But there are campgrounds that cater to more than wilderness and primitive tent campers. Most campgrounds also have hook ups for more sophisticated recreational vehicles and motor homes. Even cities have campsites. Adventureland Park in Altoona has its own, and you can set up housekeeping in a historic campground if you're attending events like the celebrated Iowa State Fair.

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