We know it’s cold and snowy right now, but what better way to cure the winter blues than to start planning your next island getaway? If thoughts of the sand between your toes and a waterfront view have been in your head lately, we’ve got good news for you. This year, you won’t have to travel far or spend a boatload of money on a trip, because Iowa has its very own island vacation spot just waiting for you – and it’s called Sabula!
Sabula, located in Jackson County, is Iowa's only island city, and it sits in the middle of the Mississippi River. This one mile long and quarter mile wide island is home to roughly 600 people, and is connected to Savannah, Illinois by a grated bridge and to mainland Iowa by two different causeways. Because of its close proximity to Chicago (a three hour drive), the island of Sabula has become a popular vacation spot for people from Illinois.
Sabula wasn't always an island, though. In 1930, the lock and dam system was constructed by the Army Corp of Engineers on the upper Mississippi. The construction of Lock and Dam #13 between Clinton, Iowa and Fulton, Illinois in 1939 left the lowlands west of the townsite permanently flooded, creating the "Island City," as the town is now known.
Nowadays, Sabula has taken full advantage of its status as Iowa's only island city. Visitors come from all over not only to take in the beautiful scenery, but to enjoy the ample fishing opportunities offered on the island. Aside from fishing, visitors can check out South Sabula Lake Park for a convenient camping and boating area.
Sabula is also home to some incredible restaurants, like Bombfire Pizza. Bombfire is known far and wide not only for their funky and eclectic decor (think vinyl records, rainbows, and electric guitar music - like a living hippy museum), but also for their delicious and healthy pizza made with fresh ingredients.
Visitors to Sabula will also find that they have the opportunity to stay in a castle during their trip. The Castle Bed and Breakfast is a 105-year-old home turned B&B with an unbeatable view of the Mighty Mississippi.
Another favorite of visitors and locals alike is the Island City Days festival, which is held each year around the end of July or beginning of August. The festival features live music, water-skiing performances, kids' activities, waterball, food vendors galore, and much more island fun.
Who needs an overrated and overpriced trip to the Caribbean when we have our own island right here in Iowa? We may have to wait for the snow to melt and the ice to break, but we’ve already started planning our summer vacation – what about you?