Iowa December 24, 2018
12 Places In Iowa That Transform Into Stunning Winter Wonderlands Each Year
We are so lucky to live in the Hawkeye State! When the temperatures dip below freezing and you’re tempted to stay inside, gather up your family and hit the road to see some of the most stunning places in the state. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen how beautiful winter in Iowa can truly be!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Des Moines
Des Moines may be our capital, but that doesn't mean it's all business, all the time! In the winter, everything in the city seems to slow down. Cozy meals in boutique cafes become more common than quick workday lunches, and a fresh coat of snow on the capital looks straight out of a storybook.
2. DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri Valley
One of Iowa's most underrated protected spaces is located right on the Nebraska border. This small refuge is home to wildlife and rare birds, and in the winter it takes on a life of its own.
3. University of Iowa
The UI Campus is pretty year round, but there's nothing like walking around after a fresh snow. Hoarfrost on the trees is a rare winter phenomenon that you might be able to spot here.
Marquette is a tiny Iowa town that's located between impressive hills. Enjoy the charm of a small town while also spotting the scenery that makes us fall in love with our state again and again.
5. Iowa State University
ISU is another gorgeous college campus, and with a fresh blanket of snow, it becomes truly magical. When class is cancelled, students and faculty alike take to the open spaces on campus to enjoy the sight before them.
6. Palisades-Kepler State Park
The winter landscapes that appear at Palisades-Kepler will take your breath away. Break out the snow shoes and get out there to see it yourself.
6. Mount Vernon
The charming town of Mount Vernon is quiet in the winter, and the surrounding farmland is absolutely stunning. See the "real" Iowa by going for a winter drive.
8. Luther College, Decorah
I'm convinced that Luther College is the prettiest college campus in the world. When it snows, throw on your hat and gloves and walk through this historic Decorah school's campus to see it at its best.
9. Villages of Van Buren
The villages of Van Buren county are the perfect places to visit on a winter road trip. Stop by the Amish shops for some home baked goods, or just go for a sightseeing drive around these quaint communities.
There's no better view in Iowa than from the top of the 4th Street Elevator after a snowfall. Look out across town and see the river in the distance, and take in the beauty that is Iowa.
11. Effigy Mounds National Monument
Effigy Mounds National Monument is the only National Park in Iowa, and it is absolutely amazing in the winter. This historic Native American burial ground is taken over by an eerie calm whenever the snow falls, and most visitors stay away. Stop by for one of the most peaceful walks you'll ever take.
Norwalk is another charming Iowa that will really make you appreciate living in the Hawkeye State. Drive out past the suburban homes into the farmland, which seems frozen in time.
If you can’t get enough of winter in Iowa, check out these
11 Reasons Why You Definitely Should Not Be Dreading Winter in Iowa.