Annual traditions, friendly people, history, and gorgeous scenery- - what's not to love in Iowa's prettiest small towns?

To be honest, my experiences with Iowa's lovely small towns have mostly been in the Decorah area. So I turned to travel experts elsewhere to help put this short list together.

Planetware is a travel website with reviews of places and spaces around the globe and one of their writers, Brad Lane, who was born and raised in Iowa is the gentleman doing the pretty places picks.

8 Pretty Iowa Small Towns

1. Pella

Pella, Iowa collage
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The Tulip Time Festival is really the time to see this lovely city "in full bloom". It is also recommended that you get a taste of Dutch treats like cream horns and puff pillows while you're in the area too.

2. Decorah

Decorah Iowa collage
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This area defies the image of Iowa as consisting of only flat farmland and rolling hills. Home to Luther College, a plethora of museums, restaurants, and outdoor activities galore, this beautiful area offers lots to enjoy and explore.

3. Winterset

Winterset, Iowa covered bridge
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"Bridges of Madison County" ring a bell, anyone? Winterset is a lovely town in Madison County, Iowa, the "Covered Bridge Capital of Iowa" and the inspiration behind the best-selling book and Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep hit movie. It is also the birthplace of movie icon John Wayne, so of course you will find the John Wayne Museum here.

4. Spirit Lake

East and West Lake Okoboji Iowa
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"Spirit Lake is the largest city at the center of the Iowa Great Lakes in northwest Iowa near the Minnesota border." Obviously, this area is a summertime haven for boating, fishing, swimming, waterskiing, and more. A lot of Iowans and South Dakotans make this area a family tradition vacation spot.

5. Le Claire

Bald eagle fishing
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If you're a fan of bald eagle spotting, river cruising or Buffalo Bill history, this small Iowa town is a must. You can't miss seeing America's symbol fishing on the Mississippi (especially in the winter months) and the Buffalo Bill Museum is full of history about its namesake and the surrounding area.

6. The  Amana Colonies

Amana Colonies, Iowa
Google Street View and Canva

This scenic cluster of villages is well-known for producing handmade furniture, artisan wares of all kinds, as well as an amazing array of old-world delicious edibles.

Located about half an hour from Iowa City, these seven villages comprise one of the oldest communal societies. The Colonies are also famous for the festivals that they put on year around, including their Wurst Festival which celebrates sausages and wiener dogs or dachshunds.

7. Waverly

Waverly, Iowa
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With friendly residents and numerous shops and eateries, downtown Waverly is the place to head for first. This beautiful small town located on the Cedar River, is home to Wartburg College and also has a wide variety of outdoor activities from golfing to hiking, biking, and more.

8. Bentonsport

Bentonsport, Iowa
Google Street View and Canva

This village of only 50 residents is amazingly beautiful and charming that it has been named a National Historic District.

There is a wide number of local stores and restaurants in the original 1840s buildings downtown. But this is only one of the reasons that draws in thousands of people every year.

There is a historic bridge that spans the Des Moines River and it has been turned into a pedestrian bridge. At the other end of the bridge, you'll find yourself at a beautiful rose garden on the grounds of a former mill.

Iowa is chock full of beautiful small cities and if you're seeking out some quiet beauty, great food, and interesting histories - -these are just a few of them.

For more information and travel suggestions, see Planetware.

Source: Planetware

The Ultimate Sioux Falls Visitor's Guide: A to Z

Sioux Falls has lots to explore; fun stuff for the whole family, food of every kind, educational opportunities, and more! If you have out-of-town guests visiting, show them around our city. Eat at places they've never eaten. Take them to places they'd never go. Take some great photos to post on social media (and don't forget the hashtag #HiFromSiouxFalls). We've even listed some cool hotels where they can stay if you don't have the room.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We call it the 'Sioux Empire.' It's the biggest city in the state with a population of nearly 200,000. We’re known for our namesake, Falls Park, along the Big Sioux River. Sioux Falls has received numerous accolades for its quality of life. We have been named the number one best place to rent in America. We’ve topped the list of Best States to Find a Job. Sioux Falls is the Best City in America for Young Professionals. 

We've appeared on lists such as Most Charming Small CitiesTop 10 Place to Raise Kids, and even ranked 10th in the 2020 Top 100 Best Places to Live. We have an abundance of achievements and you can see them on the Sioux Falls Development Foundation's website.

It's a pretty awesome city and that's why we think you should come and visit. If you're coming on business or pleasure, we've put together a list of places to go and things to see. We know you want to explore the attractions the city is known for like Falls Park, the Arc of Dreams, and the Sculpture Walk, but there's a lot more to see and do than just the touristy (that's really a word) stuff. The best places to go are where the locals go and we have a not your average, ordinary visitor's guide. 

Here's a list of over 100 things to do and places to go in Sioux Falls.

Click HERE for a list of all the places we mention and links to each one. Print it out or save it to your phone and use it as a reference when you're visiting. See you soon!

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