Would you believe me if I told you that you could ride a dragon, see a pirate ship afloat, and explore a castle right here in Iowa? Chances are you would probably look at me like I’m crazy. Well, I’m not crazy, and you can do all of those things – and more. Here are 9 things you never thought about doing in Iowa.
1. Lounging at a beach-side resort
Didn't expect a beach resort in Iowa did you? Just because we don't have oceans, doesn't mean we can't have beach resorts! There are quite a few beach resorts in Iowa. A few popular ones are: Fillenwarth Beach Resort (shown above) and Crescent Beach Resort, both in Okoboji, and Honey Creek Resort State Park in Moravia.
2. Going on a cruise
A cruise in Iowa? You heard me right. No need to drive to Florida or Texas to go on a cruise, just head on over to the Riverboat Twilight, where you can take 1 or 2-day riverboat cruises down the beautiful Mississippi. Depart from the quaint river town of LeClaire and head to the famously beautiful city of Dubuque for a fun few days on the water.
3. Cheering on a camel race
This sounds like something you would have to travel to the Middle East for, but you need only go to Prairie Meadows Racetrack in Altoona. Every year, Prairie Meadows conducts a special race night where you can cheer on camels and ostriches as they hurtle around the racetrack.
4. Soaring through the sky in a hot air balloon
Have you ever wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride, but figured you wouldn't be able to in Iowa? Well I'll let you in on a little secret: you can. Z Balloon Adventures out of Des Moines or Serenity Ballooning out of Indianola offer hot air balloon rides.
5. Going white water rafting
Right now you're thinking: White water rafting in Iowa? Yeah, right. But there are actually good white water rafting/paddling opportunities in Iowa. The Charles City Whitewater Park, or the Elkader Whitewater Park both offer white water courses. It is more kayaking than rafting, but still a good option for those thrill-seekers who don't want to travel all the way to Colorado.
6. Riding in a biplane
If you're a thrill seeker, this is just the thing for you. One of the best places to experience this is at the Mason City Municipal Airport during their Fly Iowa event, which goes on at the end of July. They offer rides on several different air crafts, including a P-51 Mustang and New Standard D-25 biplane.
7. Riding a dragon
Technically, riding THE Dragon, but still. After going to Adventureland and riding this beast of a rollercoaster, I think it's appropriate to brag yourself up a little.
8. Exploring a castle
You don't have to go to Ireland or Scotland to see a castle, there are plenty in Iowa - even a whole town full of them at Ida Grove! The squat little castle tower shown above is located in Clinton, at Eagle Point Park. The only thing it's missing is a moat filled with sharks and a princess in the top room.
9. Witnessing a pirate ship afloat
How the heck did a pirate ship end up in Iowa, you ask? Well this ship, located on Lake LaJune in Ida Grove, was put there by Byron Godberson, the castle-loving businessman who turned Ida Grove into "The Castle Town." This life-sized replica pirate ship just needs a few eye-patch clad sailors and a chest full of treasure to be any more real.
Didn’t see some of these coming, huh? What are some more things you would never expect to do in Iowa? Share with us in the comments section below!