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.