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Old 08-02-2013, 01:29 PM
 
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Looking to explore Iowa a bit. What are some good Day trip or weekend trip type places to go anywhere in Iowa? Pretty much anything, historic sights, tourist areas, nice state parks to visit and explore, etc. They can be mainstream, like the Amanna Colonies or off the beaten path type things.
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Calera, AL
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Arnolds Park/Okoboji for sure. It's a bit off the beaten path, tucked way up in NW Iowa (not directly accessible by any interstate) but it's got something for everyone. Boating, fishing, golf, and oh yeah, there's that amusement park. There's even some history there (a Native American massacre in the mid 19th century). About 1 hour away from that is the Grotto of the Redemption in West Branch.

If you want parks, check out the Ledges in central Iowa. It's quite different than the surrounding area - it has a sizable gorge in the middle of it (carved out by a Des Moines river tributary) and the hiking is quite possibly the finest in the state (though you can argue that the trails in the northeastern portion of the state are better).
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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If you want something really specialty and off the beaten path, you can visit the tiny town of Spillville in northeast Iowa (make it part of a trip to Decorah) and see where Dvorak lived for a summer and composed his American Quartet.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:43 AM
 
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There is a Prairie School Architectural tour in Mason City, IA featuring a few Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Burley Griffin structures. There is an entire neighborhood of these prairie style homes in Mason City and both guided and self-guided tours are available. It really is a great tour and a very picturesque neighborhood to see. The Frank Lloyd Wright designed Park Inn is a functioning hotel in Downtown Mason City and is well worth a stay while you are there - honestly one of the best boutique hotels I have ever been in.

Prairie School Architectural Tour

Checking out the downtown area of Dubuque is fun too. A lot of small mom and pop type stores/restaurants, nice Mississippi riverfront and river walk, Mississippi River aquarium and museum, interesting old river town building architecture, and Casino.

The previously mentioned Ledges State park and Arnolds Park are solid recommendations too.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:17 AM
 
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Living History Farms in Clive
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:00 AM
 
Location: California
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All of these are in Eastern IA.
Favorite place is Decorah. You could spend the weekend easily with the lovely downtown-lots of shops, galleries, and places to eat, Vesterheim and Potter museums, tube or canoe down the upper IA River, and there are lots of sites close by to explore like Seed Savers.

Next would be the Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque. Great place that you can spend most of a day at.

Lastly, I love the Osborne Nature Ctr. They have outdoor exhibits with wolves, deer, bear, owls, eagle, etc and then a small indoor display area downstairs. They have some great events in the summer with their historic village area too.
http://www.claytoncountyconservation.org/osborne.htm
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Minnysoda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steel03 View Post
If you want something really specialty and off the beaten path, you can visit the tiny town of Spillville in northeast Iowa (make it part of a trip to Decorah) and see where Dvorak lived for a summer and composed his American Quartet.
And while there don't miss the Billy clocks!
Home Page

Then shoot over to West Bend and see the Grotto
Home Page
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Old 06-01-2014, 04:24 AM
 
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With summer here, finally, any more suggestions?
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Old 06-01-2014, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
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This is a reminder for me, too!

The National Balloon Classic will be in Indianola July 25 - August 2.

https://www.facebook.com/Nationalballoonclassic

The balloon museum:

National Balloon Museum > Home

I missed it last year because I was house hunting, but I plan on going this year.
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:43 PM
 
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Lake MacBride State Park offers canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boats (rentals). Nearby is Sutliff Cider Company, cider tasting/brewery, food and music. Very pretty location in the country with nearby historic Sutliff Bridge. Or head further south to downtown Solon ... The Salt Fork Kitchen serves food with locally grown organic products (if you're looking for a good restaurant along with your day drive
https://www.facebook.com/SutliffCiderCompany

Kent County Park in Oxford ... Three miles west of Tiffin on Highway 6. Hiking trails with historic bridges around the 27-acre lake. Prairie lands and wetlands. Very pretty drive throughout the park (1052 acres).

Nearby is Fireside Winery. ...Footloose Friday Nights include food, music and dancing (I haven't been there). PHAT Daddy's in Marengo caters there. I would definitely recommend their restaurant in Marengo .... Excellent food. Doesn't look like much from the outside, but very nice inside and food is great, though a bit pricey but worth it.

Fireside Winery | Food & Beverages | Amana Colonies in Iowa | The Handcrafted Escape

Maquoketa Caves State Park ... near Maquoketa! Very unique ... Check out the last two pics on the Iowa Photo Thread.

On your wavy back, you might want to stop at Daly Creek Winery in Anamosa .... my favorite restaurant!
http://www.dalycreekwinery.com/our-story.html

Last edited by ennaf; 06-01-2014 at 02:58 PM..
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