From the charming, quaint and historic river towns of the Mississippi, to the bustling and busy river cities along the Missouri, these 10 river towns in Iowa are the perfect place to spend a bright and sunny day this spring!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Dubuque truly lives up to its name, "Masterpiece on the Mississippi." Dubuque is an absolutely stunning river town full of beauty, both natural and manmade. While you're here, be sure to check out the state of the art Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, take a ride on the Fenelon Place Elevator Car, do some shopping in the beautiful and historic downtown district, or admire the view from atop the Julien Dubuque Monument.
The little German town of Guttenberg, population 1,919, is a charming river town nestled on the limestone bluffs that line the Mississippi. While you're in town, check out the local shops, and go fishing or boating along the scenic riverfront.
With a population of just under a thousand people, Lansing is a tiny town that offers some of the best views in the state. Located along the Mississippi, Lansing is a perfect place to do a little fishing or boating, and if you prefer to hike, just grab your backpack and head over to the nearby Yellow River State Forest.
The tiny town of Marquette, also located along the Mississippi, has a population of just 375 people, but what it lacks in population it more than makes up for in its charming townscape. On your next visit, do a little gambling at the Lady Luck Casino, have a glass of local wine at the award-winning Eagles Landing Winery, and check out one of the unique Old West Reenactments on the last Saturday of each month from June to October.
Elkader, located along the Turkey River, has a population of 1,273 people. Despite its size, the small town still has plenty of fun to offer visitors. While you're in town, do some shopping at the Turkey River Mall, see a play at the opera house, and try some cultural cuisine at Schera's Algerian American Restaurant.
6. Sioux City
Located along the Missouri River, Sioux City is a scenic beauty in western Iowa, and a great place to live. While you're here, catch up on your American history at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, admire the art at the Sioux City Art Center, or see a show at the Orpheum Theatre.
7. Iowa Falls
Iowa Falls has definitely earned its name, "The Scenic City." Situated along the bluffs of the Iowa River, Iowa Falls is a gem in central Iowa that offers some of the most beautiful scenery around, as well as a charming downtown shopping district.
McGregor is a gorgeous little river town along the Mississippi River in northeast Iowa. While you're there, be sure to check out the beautiful Pikes Peak State Park, and Bridal Veil Falls, or take a boat tour of Spook Cave!
9. Le Claire
Le Claire is a city that sits along the Mississippi River in Scott County, with a population of 3,765 people. This tiny town has gained huge popularity since TV show hosts Mike and Frank, from American Pickers, set up their Antique Archaeology shop in town. Aside from shopping for antiques, be sure to visit the Cody Road Historic District.
Bellevue, population 2,191, not only offers one of the most amazing views in the state, but also many fun things to do. On your next visit, go hiking at Bellevue State Park, enjoy an entertaining murder mystery dinner at Mont Rest Bed and Breakfast, and do some shopping at the riverfront shops.
What are some more river towns in Iowa to add to your spring road trip list? Share your thoughts with us!