Mostly rural with farms and fields stretching for as far as the eye can see, oft-overlooked Iowa is a very peaceful and picturesque place to visit. Normally ideal for a relaxing holiday or quiet getaway, the make-or-break state becomes a hotbed of political activity every four years when the Caucuses roll through and Presidential candidates create a huge hullabaloo wherever they go.
Set in the Midwest, Iowa is surrounded by six states with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota lying all around it. Bordered to the west and east by the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, its rolling hills and fertile farmland are punctuated here and there by lonely lakes and pockets of woods with quaint villages and towns also dotted about.
While most of Iowa’s main cities lie along either of the two rivers that bound it, its largest city and capital, Des Moines, can be found right in the center of the state. Besides a thriving arts and culture scene, it also has the sparkling Capitol Building and superb Pappajohn Sculpture Park to check out while the annual state fair highlights its excellent agricultural produce.
The vibrant college towns of Cedar Falls and Iowa City are also well worth stopping by due to their interesting historic landmarks and lively nightlife scenes as are tiny towns like the Amana Colonies, Decorah and Pella. Full of lovely old buildings, these three settlements showcase some of the state’s rich Dutch, German and Scandinavian culture and heritage.
Besides visiting its charming towns and seeing the distinctive covered bridges of Madison County, visitors can also explore the pretty Pikes Peak State Park or kayak and boat about the tranquil Iowa Great Lakes. On top of all this, there are also a couple of interesting sites along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail to stop by.