Eight Of the Most Beautiful Small Towns in Iowa
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
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.
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.
"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
"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
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
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.
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.
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.