1. Iowa State Fair, Des Moines
From rides to fried foods to live music to livestock competitions, the Iowa State Fair is an Iowa institution, so be sure to check it out. It runs August 11-21.
2. Maquoketa Caves, Maquoketa
The Maquoketa caves are a beautiful and fascinating destination for outdoor lovers. They consist of plenty of hiking trails with an abundance of scenic beauty to enjoy, as well as cave systems to explore.
3. Iowa Quilt Museum, Winterset
The Iowa Quilt Museum is a new attraction, celebrating its grand opening on June 4th, 2016. The museum offers rotating exhibits with new and vintage American quilts. You can also learn a lot about the history of quilting, and enjoy the many other attractions available in and around Winterset.
4. Swinging bridge in Columbus Junction
Also known as Lover's Leap Bridge, the swinging bridge is a beautiful site, although some say it’s haunted. The legend goes that a Native-American maiden was so heartbroken when her lover died in battle that she jumped off the bridge to her death. Legend has it that she is buried at the bottom of the ravine and that her spirit still lingers.
5. Lost Island Waterpark, Waterloo
Lost Island Waterpark is a great way to beat Iowa’s August heat and humidity. Situated on 24 acres, there are plenty of fun water activities to choose from, like slides, lagoons, lazy rivers and more.
6. Arnolds Park Amusement Park, Arnolds Park
Situated on Lake Okoboji, Arnolds Park Amusement Park is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, having been built in 1889. The main attraction is the Legend Roller Coaster, which is the 13th oldest in the world. There are plenty of other activities to do there, as well, and if you get too hot, you can visit one of the many nearby beaches for a swim.
7. Loess Hills Lavender Farm, Missouri Valley
This lovely lavender farm is located in the Loess Hills, a place of fascinating natural beauty. The farm offers tours and events, and you can even take a Loess Hills bus tour. Plus, in August, there’s great butterfly watching.
8. Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum, Burr Oak
Get a taste of history at this interesting museum. The family moved to Burr Oak in 1876, after two years of grasshopper plagues in Walnut Grove, MN. This is the only childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder that is still on its original site.
9. Valle Drive-In Theatre, Newton
Enjoy a lovely summer night as you take in a movie, old-fashioned style. The Valle Drive-In is Iowa’s oldest drive-in theater, and you can take in a double feature while you enjoy delicious movie snacks from the concession stand.
10. DNR Aquarium and Hatchery, Guttenberg
Watch live Mississippi River catfish and take in exhibits featuring a large selection of live Mississippi River fish and trout found in local streams. This is a great place to learn more about the habitat and wildlife of the Mississippi River.
11. The Lady of the Lake, Clear Lake
Take a cruise on the Lady of the Lake at Clear Lake. They offer public and private cruises, where you can just relax and enjoy the beauty of the lake and expansive skyline.