Iowa Travel Guide

Browse 99 travel reviews, 35 travel blogs and 1,609 travel photos from real travelers to Iowa.

People Traveling To Iowa

Iowa Locals

Iowa Overview

Often referred to as the American Heartland, Iowa is a Midwestern state whose name is derived from the Ioway tribe of Native Americans who occupied the region during the earliest European exploration days. While it was originally part of New France, the land was transformed into the Corn Belt region after the Louisiana Purchase, which led to this state becoming known as the “Food Capital of the World” due to its various grains and agriculture. In the 21st century, however, Iowa’s agriculture has become diversified to the point that the state is now known for being a leader in biotechnology and green energy production, and the state is considered one of the safest to live in the entire U.S.

Bordered by the Mississippi River, the Missouri River, and the Big Sioux River, Iowa is known for its vast open spaces which are perfect for growing grains, and for dense vegetation and forests, as well as lush river valleys and wetlands, with over 60% of the state being used to grow crops. The natural beauty of Iowa is unparalleled, and anyone who takes the time to branch out from the capital city of Des Moines will get an up close and personal view. However, tornadoes are quite common in the spring and summer months, so be wary when traveling.

Iowa's history dates back hundreds of years and even more, but with most of the country being designated as farmland, Des Moines is really the only economic center within the state. Iowa City is ranked second, due to being the home of the University of Iowa and the world-famous Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Western Iowa is generally considered the most scenic, with the Iowa Great Lakes having several resort areas, as well as Council Bluffs, which sits at the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway and is one of the most beautiful areas in the entire U.S.

Des Moines #1 most popular location
Hometown of the mighty Bill Bryson!!! 'I come from Des Moines. Someone had to.' The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson
131travelers 14reviews 7blogs
Cedar Rapids #2 most popular location
53travelers 1reviews 1blogs
Davenport #3 most popular location
35travelers 6reviews 1blogs
Ames #4 most popular location
Ames is a fast growing city of about 61,000 (up 20% since 2000) located along Interstate 35 where it intersects with US Highway 30 (The Lincoln Highway) and US Highway 69. Ames is in Central…
39travelers 15reviews
Dubuque #5 most popular location
13travelers 2reviews 1blogs
Council Bluffs #6 most popular location
Overview: Council Bluffs is a city located in southwestern Iowa resting on the Missouri River border with Nebraska. With a popultion of over 55,000, Council Bluffs forms part of a metropoli…
12travelers 2reviews 1blogs
Sioux City #7 most popular location
Overview: Sioux City, Iowa is located in northwestern Iowa and shares its borders with North Sioux City, South Dakota and South Sioux City, Nebraska. With a population of over 80,000, Sioux…
19travelers 2reviews 2blogs
Waterloo #8 most popular location
Waterloo is one of Iowa's largest cities. Straddling the Cedar River, it has a long history of agriculture, trade and transportation. When the Cedar River was finally harnessed for power an…
14travelers 2reviews 1blogs
Iowa City #9 most popular location
The best summary of Iowa City is a typical Midwestern college town. There are some great cheap places to eat, bar specials every night, and always a college atmosphere. Any night of the week,…
65travelers 2reviews
Mason City #10 most popular location
3travelers 2reviews 1blogs
Urbandale #11 most popular location
3travelers 3reviews 1blogs
Cedar Falls #12 most popular location
6travelers 1reviews
Marshalltown #13 most popular location
Marshalltown is a nice sized town of about 28,000 (up 6% since 2000) located along Iowa Highway 14 just north of US Highway 30 (The Lincoln Highway) in Central Iowa. In 1851 Henry Anson decid…
5travelers 3reviews
Clear Lake #14 most popular location
1travelers 3reviews 2blogs
Altoona #15 most popular location
2travelers 1blogs
Bettendorf #16 most popular location
6travelers 2reviews
Burlington #17 most popular location
8travelers 1reviews
Dyersville #18 most popular location
Dyersville is a small agricultural town in Iowa. There are two nice reasons to visit this comunity. The St Francis Basilica is located here. And beautifully restored and maintained church.…
4reviews 2blogs
Okoboji #19 most popular location
Pella #20 most popular location
Pella is a small Iowan town founded by Dutch immigrants in 1847. It is the site of the annual Tulip Time Festival home of America's tallest functional Windmill. Pella is also the hometown for…
5travelers 1reviews 1blogs
Keokuk #21 most popular location
2travelers 1reviews
Osceola #22 most popular location
1travelers 2reviews
Missouri Valley #23 most popular location
Missouri Valley is a town of about 2700 (down 8% since 2000) located at the intersection of US Highway 30 (The Lincoln Highway) and Interstate 29, located in Harrison County in Western Iowa b…
2travelers 2reviews
Winterset #24 most popular location
2travelers 3reviews 1blogs
Algona #25 most popular location
3travelers 3reviews
Le Claire #26 most popular location
4travelers 1reviews
Webster City #27 most popular location
McGregor #28 most popular location
Grundy Center #29 most popular location
Sergeant Bluff #30 most popular location
2reviews 1blogs
Atlantic #31 most popular location
4travelers 1reviews
Brooklyn #32 most popular location
1travelers 1reviews
Moravia #33 most popular location
West Branch #34 most popular location
Independence #35 most popular location
4travelers 1blogs
Avoca #36 most popular location
Rockford #37 most popular location
1travelers 1reviews
Riverside #38 most popular location
Riverside is a small town in Southeast Iowa with a population of around 1000. The town was established in 1872 and incorporated a decade later. The most interesting fact about Riverside is…
Grimes #39 most popular location
3travelers 1reviews
Percival #40 most popular location
Gladbrook #41 most popular location
1reviews 1blogs
Arnolds Park #42 most popular location
1travelers 1blogs
Adel #43 most popular location
Adel is a small town of just under 4000 (up 14% since 2000) located just North of Interstate 80 along US Highway 6. It's close proximity to Des Moines, the state capitol, is probably the reas…
2travelers 1reviews
Eldon #44 most popular location
Madrid #45 most popular location
What Cheer #46 most popular location
Rose Hill #47 most popular location
Manly #48 most popular location
Guthrie Center #49 most popular location
2travelers 1blogs
Portsmouth #50 most popular location