1. Matchstick Marvels Museum
This remarkable museum features Pat Acton’s work, which includes incredibly intricate models made from wooden matchsticks. It’s so incredible, it even drew the attention of the TV show, “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” The show bought 20 of the artist’s models for museums throughout the world. Located at 319 2nd St., Gladbrook, IA.
2. American Gothic House
You can actually visit the house used in Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting. This iconic house is built in the gothic revival architectural style. They even provide period costumes if you’re in the mood to recreate the portrait yourselves. Located at 300 American Gothic St., Eldon, IA.
3. Teddy’s Barn & Grill
Go to Teddy’s to grab some delicious Midwestern food in a beautifully restored dairy barn. Try a delicious pork tenderloin, a mouthwatering steak with garlic mashed potatoes, herb-crusted tilapia and many more delectable options. Located at 14575 E23 County Home Rd., Anamosa, IA.
4. Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge
This beautiful refuge is a federal national wildlife refuge located in Jasper County. The mission of the refuge is to protect, restore, reconstruct and manage native ecosystems native to the state. A visit to the refuge will provide education and recreation about the habitats and wildlife preserved there, including tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, sedge meadow, bison, grassland birds and much more. Located at 9981 Pacific St., Prairie City, IA.
5. Ice Cave Hill Park
Decorah’s remarkable ice cave is located near Dunning’s Spring. While Iowa enjoys four seasons, you’ll find that the ice cave is frozen all year long, due to its glacial location. It’s a short hike up to the cave, and while the cave is small, it is a sight to see.
6. Hobo Museum & Gift Shop
At this interesting museum, you’ll learn all about how American hobos have lived and worked throughout history. Collections at the museum have come from all over the world, including books written by hobos, music recorded by hobos and more. Located at 51 Main Ave. S, Britt, IA.
7. Bluff Lake Catfish Farm
This restaurant is the very definition of “off the beaten path.” To get there, you’ll drive through Maquoketa Caves State Park and past a working farm. This unique eatery is nestled between a 50-foot waterfall the Maquoketa River and a catfish pond. The restaurant specializes in all-you-can-eat fish specials, but they also have a lot more on the menu. Make sure to go early, as they don’t take reservations and there’s usually a wait. 9343 95th Ave., Maquoketa, IA.
8. Baxa’s Sutliff Store & Tavern
Baxa’s Sutliff Store & Tavern is located next to the Sutliff Bridge on the Cedar River. The drive there will take you through scenic winding rural roads, and once you get there, you’ll enjoy a variety of satisfying American fare, including burgers, tenderloins, chicken, fish and more. 5546 130th St. NE, Lisbon, IA.
9. The Big Treehouse
This magical treehouse in Marshalltown, Iowa will make you feel like a kid again. This amazing treehouse is 12 stories high, has over 5000 square feet of floor space, has electricity, running water, a refrigerator, 13 porch swings, a connected museum and more. If you want to see the treehouse, make sure to call or email ahead, because visits are done on an appointment only basis. Phone: 641-752-2946. Email:
2370 Shady Oaks Rd., Marshalltown, IA.
10. Devonian Fossil Gorge
This once hidden gorge was revealed by the floods of 1993, and it’s a fascinating place to stop if you’re in the Iowa City/Coralville area. The gorge is actually a 375-million-year-old ocean floor with incredible fossils that are older than the dinosaurs. To get there, take I -80 Exit #244, go north for 2.6 miles on Dubuque Street NE, then east 1.3 miles on West Overlook Road to the Coralville Lake and Dam.
11. Wildcat Den State Park
The natural beauty of Wildcat Den State Park in Muscatine will truly take your breath away. The park features an extensive trail system, with 75-foot cliffs and amazing rock formations. The park also has several historic structures to explore. Located at 1886 Wildcat Den Rd., Muscatine, IA.