1. Hitchcock Nature Area, Honey Creek
The Hitchcock Nature Center is in the heart of the unique and beautiful Loess Hills. It consists of 1,268 acres of some of the largest remaining prairie remnants in Iowa. On your visit, you’ll see all kinds of plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the state.
2. Maquoketa Caves, Maquoketa
This popular spot in Maquoketa is a must-see for out-of-towners and in-staters alike. The Maquoketa Caves consist of six miles of beautiful trails, forest, caves (of course) and even a waterfall.
3. Lake Red Rock, Marion County
Lake Red Rock is Iowa's largest lake. It’s a beautiful destination for fishing, lounging on the beach, hiking and camping.
4. Ledges State Park, Boone
Ledges State Park is one of the most beautiful spots in the state. It offers great camping, hiking and rock climbing, among other things.
5. Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor
Pikes Peak State Park offers gorgeous hiking trails among the trees, as well as an overlook spot with spectacular views of the Mississippi River.
6. Pine Lake State Park, Eldora
Eldora’s Pine Lake State Park has an extensive trail system and plenty of scenic natural beauty. There is also a sandy beach where you can lounge, swim and soak in the sun.
7. Wabash Trace Nature Trail (Western Iowa)
The Wabash Trace Nature Trail is 63 miles of trail running through Council Bluffs, Mineola, Silver City, Malvern, Imogene, Shenandoah, Coin and Blanchard. If you love hiking and getting out into nature, this trail provides some beautiful scenery and plenty of wild space.
8. Crystal Lake Cave, Dubuque
Crystal Lake Cave offer one of the most beautiful and interesting natural destinations in Iowa. The cave was formed over millions of years as slow-moving groundwater carved the cave out of layers of limestone. Visitors can walk through the cave and explore all of the natural wonders inside.
9. Dunnings Spring Park
Northeast Iowa doesn’t disappoint when it comes to natural beauty. Dunnings Spring Park is home to Dunning's Spring Falls, a beautiful waterfall that you can enjoy, along with amazing views, as you explore the park.
10. Ice Cave, Decorah
While you’re in the area, the ice-cave is definitely worth a visit. Decorah’s Ice Cave is an above ground cave near the beautiful Dunning's Spring. Even though it’s a small cave, it is cold all year long and ice covered all year long due to the glacier it sits on.
11. Iowa Great Lakes
If you’re a water lover, the Iowa Great Lakes region, located in northwestern Iowa, offers some of the best lake recreational activities in the state. Visit the beaches at Okoboji and Spirit Lake to swim, water ski, kayak and much more.