Iowa August 21, 2017
Do Not Do These 10 Touristy Things In Iowa. Here’s What To Do Instead.
Iowa isn’t a notoriously “touristy” place, but there are a few places that are either off the beaten path or just simply better than the most well-advertised options.
1. Find amazing home décor, fashion, food, and gifts in a riverfront town that has a lot more to offer than any mall.
LeClaire's historic downtown district offers fun stores like Aunt Hattie's Fanciful Emporium, LeCLaire Olive Oil Co., Daffodil Row, The Shameless Chocoholic, and Urban Classic Home. You'll also find Iowa's own Isabel Bloom and West End Architectural Salvage.
2. If a crowded waterpark just doesn't appeal to you, try Iowa's first whitewater riverfront park, instead.
There are multiple river flows and skill levels at Charles City WhiteWater. The park is open 24/7 every day of the year. There's no charge to use it and you can rent canoes and tubes from area businesses.
3. You don't need a weekend at a resort to unwind. Try Scharnberg Park in Everly, instead.
This 45-acre park has a 15-acre lake, over 60 campsites, a beautiful beach with concessions, boat rentals, and several cabins.
4. As many communities revitalize their riverfront areas to attract visitors, it becomes more difficult to enjoy the view in peace.
Bonaparte's historic Riverfront District located on the Des Moines river is a well-hidden Iowa gem. A butterfly garden, restored mills, bandshell, quaint shops, and an award-winning restaurant are all right here in southeast Iowa.
5. There's still time to soak up the last rays of summer sun while enjoying America's Favorite Pasttime. Skip the lines, high ticket prices, and nosebleed seats.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels playoffs start September 6. Enjoy great ballpark food, easy parking, and a fan-friendly atmosphere in this first-class facility.
6. It's off the beaten path in the tiny town of Olin, but this canoe and tube rental facility has first-class service, a camp ground, and access to the Wapsipinicon River.
They offer free shuttle service for canoe and tube renters. Enjoy a beautiful day on the river, minus the crowds.
7. Sorry, Barnes & Noble. There's a cozier and much more interesting option.
The Book Vault in Oskaloosa was once a bank. This historic building keeps books inside the old vaults. Author readings, cooking classes, and all the time you need to dig through stacks of books is right here.
8. Skip the year's biggest concerts and the biggest crowds. See world-class musical artists in a beautiful riverfront outdoor venue.
Located across the bridge from downtown Cedar Rapids, the McGrath Amphitheatre offers big-city sounds with a small-town vibe.
9. Goodbye chain restaurants...Farm to Table dining is all the rage in the Midwest and beyond.
If you'd love to relax and enjoy a scratch-made meal on a working farm, check out Three Pines Farm, just north of Cedar Falls. This fifth-generation farm supports artisans and offers visitors the opportunity to take cooking classes. They are bringing back their unique farm to table dining experiences this fall.
10. If you love a great festival, but could do without tens of thousands of people, Southwest Iowa Hot Air Balloon Days is a pure delight and it's September 15-17
This event takes place in Creston. There are more than 40 balloons participating in races all weekend long. You'll enjoy a marching band contest, flea market, balloon glow, food vendors, and a car show, as well.
What’s your favorite non-touristy thing to do in Iowa? Tell us about it in the comments.