Corn fields and covered bridges aside, Iowa can be a challenging state when it comes to planning a trip. Its cities are subdued and its landscape almost entirely covered in a patchwork of farms. But the friendly folks who call this obscure state home more than make up for it, and they warrant lingering for a few days rather than merely whizzing through.

On first glance, even Iowa’s biggest cities ofDes Moines and Cedar Rapids don’t seem to hold a huge range of diversions. However, you may be surprised to learn this is the home state of American Gothic artist Grant Wood. There are historic covered bridges in Madison County made famous by the novels of Robert James Waller, and the original movie set of Field of Dreams, which is now a major tourist attraction and baseball facility. There are definitely fun and interesting things to do in Iowa, you just need to dig a little deeper to discover them.

The real bonus of spending a few days in Iowa is the value for money. From hotel rates to the cost of meals, Iowa is a superb deal. The cuisine is pervasively Midwest comfort food outside of Des Moines, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a luxury day spa for some shiatsu. When it comes to outdoor recreation, in particular golfing, Iowa certainly excels. Best of all, no matter where you go in this flat rolling state, you’ll find humble friendly people curious about the passerby.

If you like the putting green or have a thing for farms, Iowa will prove a real treat. It boasts the most golfers per capita of any US state and has the courses to back up the habit. The Germanic Amana Colonies are absolutely fabulous, like Amish country with a twist.

One thing about traveling to Iowa is that you will need to have a car. This is rural America at its finest, and there just isn’t any other feasible way to get between towns and to outlying attractions. Even within the cities like Des Moines, a car is far more convenient that the public bus system. Rent by the week for the best daily rates, and you will find that your vehicle is an investment that more than pays for itself.


  • Shop for exquisite handmade crafts, furnishings, artwork, and food products in the historic Amana Colonies
  • Play a few innings of baseball at the Field of Dreams site made famous by Kevin Costner’s movie
  • Drive one of Iowa’s National Scenic Byways and explore the state’s underrated wine country
  • Admire the majestic architecture of the Des Moines Art Center and the collections inside
  • See the five historic covered bridges of Madison County
  • Play golf at some of America’s finest and most affordable public golf courses
  • Spend a day biking at one of the state’s dedicated historic bike routes