If you grew up in Iowa, you probably spent a lot of time outdoors. Whether you were playing sports, hopscotch, or wheeling around a BB gun, you most likely attained some affinity for nature. If you’re still interested in being out in the wilderness, here’s a list of 10 things you can do to satisfy your appetite for the outdoors.
1. Zombie Apocalypse Survival Camp
In case you haven't heard, there's a team of survival experts here in Iowa that will come to a venue of your choosing to train you in extreme outdoor survival, should you wish to employ them. The curriculum includes courses in shelter-making, food-collection, survival weapons and much more.
2. Go For A River Float
In Iowa, there are plenty of lazy river floats that anyone can partake in. A river float is a great way to spend time outside in the sun with your friends and family. So grab some kayaks and inner tubes and catch some rays! The Upper Iowa River is pictured here, and it's only one of many rivers you can float.
3. Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
This wildlife refuge in Jasper County, Iowa, seeks to restore the ecosystem of Iowa's early prairies, before industrialization and farming changed the landscape. There are over 8,000 acres of land dedicated to this wildlife preserve, and they even have herds of bison and elk on location.
4. Ledges State Park
Ledges is Iowa's most popular state park. It is a sandstone gorge carved out by thousands of years of water erosion from Pea's Creek, which flows into the Des Moines River. Travelers can hike the trails of this gorgeous landscape, where the gorge can reach 100 feet in depth.
5. Crystal Lake Cave
Crystal Lake Cave is near Dubuque, Iowa. Here, visitors can be taken on an informative tour through the dense caverns of the cave, and observe many naturally occurring mineral formations along the way.
6. Visit The Loess Hills
The Loess Hills stretch for 220 miles of western Iowa. Travelers often marvel as they commute across country at the beautiful bluffs and rolling prairie of this very unique landform. Visitors can walk the many trails the site has to offer, or simply go for a scenic drive through the countryside.
The Registers Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) is exactly what it sounds like. Every year, the Des Moines Register organizes a 468-mile bicycle trek from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River, but the route is different every ride. This year will be the 43rd RAGBRAI, and you can register for the ride at ragbrai.com. They're limited to 10,000 riders, selected through a lottery process, for safety reasons, so be sure to apply early if you're serious about embarking on this ride across Iowa.
8. Backbone State Park
Visitors to Backbone State Park are exposed to Iowa's prime limestone cliffs for climbing and rappelling. Located in Delaware County, it's the oldest state park in Iowa, and also offers hiking and camping.
9. Explore The Bridges Of Madison County
There are six in all, and the covered bridges of Madison County remind us of simpler times. Made even more famous by Clint Eastwood in the film The Bridges of Madison County, there has been a festival in their honor every year since 1970. Can you find them all?
10. Climb The Cordova Observation Tower
Measuring in at 106 feet high, Cordova Observation Tower is the tallest of its kind in any public park in the midwest. It is located near Lake Red Rock, and it is also home to the largest continuous fiberglass staircase in the world with 170 steps in total. Come here and enjoy the breathtaking views!
Are you feeling bold yet? Something on this list must have sparked your interest, so share this with your friends and comment below what you want to do the most.