Travel Guide
Des Moines showing a bridge, a skyscraper and a sunset
Journey into the heartland of America in a state covered in farmland that exudes pastoral charm and cities containing surprising cultural attractions.

Sandwiched in between two rivers on its east and west borders, Iowa is a state characterized by fertile plains and old-world farms. Experience classic Americana in the form of bald eagles soaring through the sky and covered bridges traversing rivers lined with forests. For a slice of authentic America, visit the rural and welcoming “Hawkeye State.”

The state is named after the Ioway Indians who inhabited the region for over a millennium before French explorers landed here in the 1600s. Browse the displays of the State Historical Museum of Iowa to learn about its accession to statehood in 1846 and its history ever since.

Explore Iowa’s cities for a variety of museums and galleries. Dubuque has the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, documenting the biology and industry associated with the grand river. Cedar Rapids offers the African American Museum of Iowa while the state capital, Des Moines, has the State Historical Museum and the Science Center of Iowa, a great destination for families.

Retreat to the tranquility of Iowa’s farming plains, where the landscape is covered in wooden wind turbines and vast, traditionally designed barns. Visit farms across the state where kids can pet animals and see what life is like on the plains. Adults will enjoy touring the vineyards and breweries of the region.

Embrace the beauty of nature in different pockets of Iowa’s countryside. Stroll through the Loess Hills for undemanding walks that lead to stunning views. Trek along rivers and cliffs in scenic Ledges State Park.

In the south-central region, cross the cinematic Bridges of Madison County. These covered rail and road bridges are inherently romantic and can be visited on a self-guided tour.

Fly into Des Moines International Airport for access to the rest of the state. Travel around in a car, enjoying one of the nine scenic byways that weave throughout the state. Iowa comes to life in fall, when harvests are reaped across the state and farms celebrate with family-friendly activities.

Where to stay in Iowa

State Historical Society of Iowa Museum which includes landscape views, a skyscraper and a city

Downtown Des Moines

4.5/5(711 area reviews)

Downtown Des Moines boasts corporate campuses, fine dining, and unique retail destinations. Explore the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and enjoy easy access to DART transit and skywalk connections.

Downtown Des Moines
Downtown Dubuque which includes a river or creek and modern architecture as well as a large group of people

Downtown Dubuque

Downtown Dubuque is known for its abundant dining options, and you can plan a trip to Five Flags Center and Fourth Street Elevator while you're in town.

Downtown Dubuque
Historic East Village

Historic East Village

Directly east of Downtown Des Moines, this nationally recognized historic district boasts the Iowa State Capitol complex, State of Iowa Historical Museum, and Des Moines Botanical Gardens. Explore eateries, boutique shops, and loft-style housing in its charming structures.

Historic East Village
Davenport which includes a city and a river or creek

Downtown Davenport

4/5(76 area reviews)