There’s still time to squeeze in a bit more Iowa adventure-hunting with these picture-perfect fall day trips. Winter is coming…just not quite yet. The leaves are falling, pumpkin farms are bustling, and the skies are (mostly) clear. Here are the trips you’ll want to take before the first snowflakes fall.
1. Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center
This is the 40-acre farm that is the birthplace of Vice President Henry A. Wallace. They have an incredible display of outdoor art sculptures, a restaurant that’s open Fridays for lunch and dinner by reservation, and working fruit and vegetable gardens. They are open between 9 am and 4 pm Monday through Friday. The address is 2773 290th St, Orient.
2. Jester Park Equestrian Center
Enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride through the amazing fall colors in this beautiful Iowa park located right outside of Des Moines. Wagon rides are hourly between 10 am and 4 pm Saturdays and Sundays. The address is 11171 NW 103rd Ct., Granger.
Pella has all the charm you’d expect from a Dutch-themed town. While spring is a wonderful time to see the tulips, fall offers the kind of weather you’ll love for wandering through the beautiful town square. There’s a working windmill, authentic canal, and a Dutch bakery you won’t want to miss.
4. Jethro's BBQ
If a road trip to Iowa’s capital combined with a fun, Iowa-themed meal sounds like the ideal day trip, check out Jethro’s BBQ in Des Moines. You must have the Adam Emmenecker sandwich. The hungry former basketball star loved all of the ingredients, and so will you! The sandwich is a pork tenderloin, cheddar sauce, fried cheese cubes, Texas brisket, cheeseburger, chicken tenders, bacon, and a spicy pickle. It comes with a pound of waffle fries. Jethro’s BBQ is located at 3100 Forest Ave., Des Moines.
5. Loess Hills Winery
If you’d like to combine a drive through Iowa’s Loess Hills and enjoy a winery experience, head over to 1120 Old Lincoln Highway in Crescent. Loess Hills Vineyard and Winery is a family-owned business where you’ll enjoy some of the best wine in the state and amazing views of the beautiful surrounding area. Stop by Thursday through Saturday between noon and 7 pm or Sunday between noon and 6 pm.
6. Hawk Valley Garden
There’s still time to visit a pumpkin patch, and Hawk Valley Garden near Spencer is wrapping up their 15th season as northwest Iowa’s favorite pumpkin patch. You’ll love this small family farm where they raise vegetables, pumpkins, ducks, turkeys, and chickens. If you are looking for heirloom squash and pumpkin varieties, you have to see this place! Their address is 2670 Highway 18, Spencer. Stop by between 10 am and 6 pm Saturday, October 28 or Sunday October 29.
7. Amana Colonies
Stop by the Amana Meat Shop & Smokehouse to get some treats for your Thanksgiving get together. After an afternoon of shopping the beautiful little stores in this area, you’ll want to stop by Millstream Brewing Company for an expertly crafted beer.
8. Lake Darling State Park
Located in Brighton, Iowa in Washington County, Lake Darling State Park is a wonderful southeast Iowa destination that offers a walking path around the lake, kayaking, fishing, and camping.
9. Storm Lake
Don’t write this area off just because summer is over. Storm lake is surrounded by biking and walking trails. For an up-close look at Iowa’s amazing autumn season, plan to spend a day relaxing by the water.
10. Van Buren County
The Villages of Van Buren are one of those regions in Iowa that you return to again and again. The scenery, the hospitality, the quaint shops, and the way time seems to slow down are all wonderful reasons to put this southeastern region of Iowa on your list.