When you visit Iowa, you can expect to see some pretty beautiful sights. But what you wouldn’t expect is to be transported into a different time and dimension – one with hidden castles, secret forests, and waterfalls straight out of a fairy tale. These 13 fascinating spots in Iowa are just a few of those magical places:
1. Clark Tower, Winterset
Clark Tower in Winterset looks like something straight out of a fairy tale, and you would almost expect some princess to be awaiting rescue at the top.
2. Stone Tower, Clinton
Stone Tower, located at Eagle Point Park in Clinton, is another castle out of a storybook. The only thing that could make this more real would be a moat with a bunch of sharks swimming around in it.
3. Julien Dubuque Monument, Dubuque
This tower overlooking the Mississippi River in Dubuque is truly magical in its beauty, and is a great spot to stop for a picnic while enjoying the view.
4. Pilot Knob State Park Observation Tower, Forest City
This observation tower in Forest City looks like some ancient lookout tower you would find near a castle.
5. Castle on the Hill, Sioux City
Aptly named "Castle on the Hill," Sioux City Central High School really does look like some giant brick fortress.
6. The Campanile, Ames
Located right in the middle of the Iowa State University campus, this beautiful old bell tower has a castle-y look to it, and it's made even more magical when the bells start playing lovely music.
7. Cornell College Campus, Mount Vernon
As soon as you step foot on the Cornell College campus, you feel like you're in some fairy tale - it's absolutely stunning. And Cornell College is actually the only college to have its entire campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
8. Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend
The Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend is basically one big fortress made out of precious gems. If that's not something out of a fairy tale, then I don't know what is.
9. Malanaphy Falls, Decorah
Malanaphy Falls in Winneshiek County, near Decorah, will transport you to another world, where you might expect to see fairies fluttering around this magical and mossy waterfall.
10. Dunning's Spring Falls, Decorah
Dunning's Spring Falls, another spot in Winneshiek County near Decorah, also looks like something you would stumble upon in the middle of a magical forest.
11. Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor
Pikes Peak State Park, especially during the fall, looks like an enchanted forest, and it truly wouldn't be surprising to see fairies and gnomes and talking woodland creatures in there.
12. Reiman Gardens, Ames
Reiman Gardens in Ames is at its most magical during the spring months, when everything is fresh and just beginning to bloom. Walking through this covered archway, you might expect to see a prince and princess gliding by in their gowns, just admiring the garden with you.
13. Castle Unicorn, Pacific Junction
Castle Unicorn in Pacific Junction is a popular place for couples to host their fairy tale wedding in real life. Complete with a castle, garden, fountain, and more, this place is truly a must see on your tour of enchanting places around Iowa.
Who knew Iowa was such a magical place? Know of any more fairy-tale-esque spots in Iowa? Share them with us!