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Des Moines Capitol Building in Iowa
Des Moines Capitol Building in Iowa by Austin Goode on Unsplash.

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Iowa Travel Notes

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Iowa Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Leave Des Moines and experience the charm of Iowa's small towns; where friendly faces, historic architecture, and local shops welcome you with open arms.

About Iowa

Iowa is a popular tourist destination with a range of attractions and activities to offer visitors.

The state has a rich cultural heritage, as well as numerous natural wonders such as parks, lakes, and rivers that are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Iowa is also known as the Hawkeye State, as a tribute to Indian leader Chief Black Hawk.

States neighbouring Iowa: Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.

Travel Map Mapping Iowa

Map of Iowa

Map of Iowa

Iowa is bordered by Minnesota to the north, Wisconsinn and Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, and Nebraska and South Dakota to the west.

The state capital of Iowa is Des Moines.

Iowa Overview

Iowa is a state located in the Mid-western region of the United States.

The state has a population of around 3.2 million people, with its capital and largest city being Des Moines.

Iowa offers a unique blend of rural landscapes, cultural events, and historical attractions, making it an interesting place to visit or live.

Culture and Attractions

Iowa offers a blend of cultural, historical, and recreational attractions.

The state is known for its friendly residents and small-town charm.

Notable attractions include the Iowa State Fair, held annually in Des Moines, which is one of the largest and most renowned state fairs in the country.

Other attractions include the Bridges of Madison County, Effigy Mounds National Monument, the Amana Colonies (an historic German community), and the Field of Dreams movie site.


Iowa's economy is primarily agrarian, with agriculture playing a significant role.

The state is a major producer of corn, soybeans, pork, and eggs.

Additionally, Iowa has a growing manufacturing sector, particularly in the production of machinery, food processing, and renewable energy equipment.


Iowa is home to several notable universities, including the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa State University in Ames, and the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

These institutions are renowned for their academic programs, research, and athletic achievements.


Iowa is predominantly a rural state known for its fertile farmland and rolling plains.

It also has several rivers, including the Mississippi River on its eastern border and the Missouri River on its western border.

The landscape is characterised by prairies, cornfields, and picturesque countryside.


Iowa was initially inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Iowa, Meskwaki, and Sioux.

It became part of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Iowa gained statehood on December 28, 1846, becoming the 29th state.


Iowa plays a crucial role in the U.S. presidential election process due to its early caucuses.

The Iowa caucuses are the first major electoral event in the presidential primary season, making the state a focal point for political campaigns and candidate visits.


Iowans have a strong passion for sports, with a particular emphasis on college athletics.

The state's major universities compete in the Big Ten Conference and have a rich history of success in football, basketball, wrestling, and other sports.

Additionally, Iowa has minor league baseball teams and is home to the Field of Dreams, an iconic baseball field featured in the famous movie of the same name.

Visiting Iowa

Visitors planning a trip to Iowa will find a variety of attractions and activities to enjoy.

To make the most of your time in Iowa, be sure to check for any specific events, festivals, or seasonal activities taking place during your visit to the state.

Amana Colonies

Experience a unique part of Iowa's history by visiting the Amana Colonies, a collection of seven historic German villages.

Explore the shops, galleries, and restaurants in Amana, and learn about the communal lifestyle of the Amana Society.

Bridges of Madison County

If you're a fan of the novel or movie 'The Bridges of Madison County', take a scenic drive through Madison County to see the picturesque covered bridges that inspired the story.

Des Moines

Start your trip in the capital city of Des Moines.

Explore the vibrant downtown area, visit the State Capitol Building, and stroll along the Des Moines Riverwalk.

Don't miss the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, the Science Center of Iowa, and the Des Moines Art Center.


Explore the city of Dubuque, situated on the Mississippi River.

Take a ride on the Fenelon Place Elevator, visit the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, and enjoy the historic architecture of the Old Main District.

You can also take a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River.

Field of Dreams Movie Site

Baseball fans shouldn't miss a visit to the Field of Dreams movie site near Dyersville.

Walk onto the iconic baseball field, tour the farmhouse, and immerse yourself in the nostalgia of the famous film.

Iowa City

Head east to Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa.

Explore the charming downtown area known as the Pedestrian Mall, visit the Old Capitol Museum, and catch a Hawkeyes sporting event.

The Devonian Fossil Gorge at Coralville Lake is also worth a visit.

Outdoor Recreation

Iowa offers plenty of outdoor activities.

Visit Pikes Peak State Park for beautiful views of the Mississippi River, go hiking or biking along the extensive trail systems, or enjoy water sports on the state's lakes and rivers.

Iowa State Fair

If your visit coincides with August, don't miss the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

It's one of the largest state fairs in the country, offering a mix of agricultural exhibits, carnival rides, live music, and delicious food.

Des Moines

Fort Des Moines was built at the junction of the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers by the federal government in 1843.

Map of Des Moines

Map of Des Moines

Two years later the area around the fort was opened to settlers. The towns of East Des Moines and Fort Des Moines were merged as Des Moines in 1857, when the state capital was moved here from Iowa City.

Des Moines is more than thick pork cuts, it is also a major insurance centre; trailing only London and Hartford.

The Amana Trail, off U.S. 151 north-west of Iowa City, takes you through the Amana colonies. The communal lifestyle has sold out to capitalism, but some of the smaller colonies are still interesting.

Travel in Iowa

Iowa is named after the Iowa River, in turn a reference to the Iowa Indians.

Travel Iowa

Iowa sightseeing ranges from historic frontier forts to culturally rich cities, and authentic American farms to Old World charm in places such as Pella and the Amana Colonies.

Iowa State Fair

Iowa’s largest tourism attraction, the Iowa State Fair inspired the original novel, three motion pictures, plus Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway musical all named State Fair.

Held every August, when some of the country's biggest pork chops come under the knife.

Iowa City

The state capital, until 1857, Iowa City is Iowa's university city and a place of liberalism in a conservative state.

Iowa City is sometimes referred to as the 'all-American town'.

Summer of the Arts

When you head to the Iowa City area in the summer, get ready for fun, a few surprises and the best collection of free arts entertainment in the area.

Persons attending Summer of the Arts events may be recorded or photographed as a festival attendee. These images may be used for Summer of the Arts programming or promotion, including broadcast on television, the Summer of the Arts website, the Internet, and other media.

Where to Stay in Iowa City

Graduate Iowa City

Graduate Iowa City

Graduate Iowa City: 210 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City, Iowa.

Take in an afternoon at one of the sidewalk cafes nearby and sample the city’s attractions, boutique shops, gourmet dining, and lively performing arts.

The Graduate Iowa City is located in the heart of Iowa City, proudly perched on the Ped Mall and a twenty-minute walk from Kinnick Stadium, just ‘cross the river from campus.

Hotels in Iowa City.

Around Iowa

Popular Attractions in Iowa

Effigy Mounds National Monument

Effigy Mounds National Monument and the picturesque region of Lake Okoboji and Spirit Lake in the north-west are among the most popular attractions in Iowa.

Located in north-east Iowa, Effigy Mounds is a protected area preserving Native American burial mounds shaped like animals.

Hike the trails, learn about the indigenous cultures, and enjoy the scenic views of the Mississippi River.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, at West Branch, includes the birthplace and childhood home of America's 31st president.

Living History Farms

Located at 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale, Living History Farms is an interactive outdoor museum which educates, entertains and connects people of all ages to Midwestern rural life experiences.

Regional Tourism in Iowa

Many regions within Iowa have their own tourism guides, such as the Central Iowa Tourism Region Travel Guide and the Cedar Rapids Official Travel Guide

Iowa Travel Guides

Iowa off the Beaten Path: Discover Your Fun (Off the Beaten Path Series) Rand McNally Easy to Read! Iowa State Map

Iowa Travel Guides - Iowa Maps.

About Iowa - Iowa Weather:
Find out more about Iowa before you travel there.

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