Since living in the Midwest, I’ve discovered the joy of State Parks. Think of National Parks (such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone etc) only on a much smaller scale and they are usually free to enter! The state DNR (Department of Natural Resources) are in charge of maintaining the state parks and their websites will have handy information about visiting and any current park closures etc. Some may have a bit of a lakefront, a camp ground, walking trails or just simply be a woodland area that offers a means to escape and find some people. I’ve come across some state parks though that have had something a little extra about them, making them a little more unique compared to some of the others! So in this post I share my top Midwest State Parks that are perfect for adventurous travellers!
Since moving to the USA, I’ve had to rely on visiting small towns to get my travel fix. I’m 3 and a half hours away from the nearest two large cities (Chicago and Des Moines), which make just trying to get to the airport a chore. In the UK I was spoilt living 20 minutes from one of London’s airports, I could get from my front door and to a major city IN ANOTHER COUNTRY within 3 and a half hours. I can’t even drive across a state in that time! So if I want to get away for a quick weekend break, I’ve had to train myself to view anywhere and everywhere as a tourist destination, no matter how big or how small.
As a Brit, pumpkin patches are a bit of a new concept for me. We have corn mazes back home but pumpkin patches are certainly not something that I grew up ‘around’ as such. Since living in America, I have been to 2 pumpkin patches in Iowa, both completely different from each other. For the readers that may not have been to one before, imagine a farm shop selling pumpkins and other homemade goods such as jam/jelly with the addition of a farm style type ‘theme park’, and you won’t be far off!
If you’re looking for a fun, adventurous getaway in Iowa, the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area should be on your radar! Waterloo is predominantly known for its connection to John Deere, the iconic green and yellow tractors have been manufactured in Waterloo for 100 years! But did you know there are some great outdoor adventures to be had in the Cedar Falls and Waterloo area?!
Dubuque, Iowa lays on the banks of the mightly Mississippi River and proudly claims to be the place ‘where Iowa started’! Just minutes from the borders of both Illinois and Wisconsin this river side town has something for everyone! Whether you are travelling as a couple or a family with kids or if you are a foodie or enjoy being in the great outdoors! Here’s a giant list of some of my favourite things to do in Dubuque as told by a local (including free things to do)!
Goga. Yep, goat yoga is very much a thing and it’s absolutely BRILLIANT. I first discovered it watching the local Iowa news and within an hour or so I had booked myself onto a session. I’ve become obsessed with yoga since moving to the States and you can’t deny that baby goats are ridiculously cute, so it seemed like the perfect combination!
Mason City is a ridiculously creative town in Iowa. From music, to architecture, to puppetry to ‘street’ art, it has it all! It has some pretty big famous connections too! In this guide I share some of the cool things to do in Mason City!
My childhood was spent going on holidays in a caravan. I’m used to ‘roughing it’ in the great outdoors so to speak and making trips to the nearest toilet block! When I discovered you could go glamping in Iowa AND it was in a town I was planning on visiting, I knew there was no other choice! Yes, I stayed in a yurt while attending a travel blogging conference! Here’s what you should know about staying in a yurt at McIntosh Woods State Park in Clear Lake, Iowa!