The American Iowa is often called “The Corn State”, and this name is rightfully deserved, because nowhere else there are such wide fields planted with corn, large green hills and picturesque, rural nature. This archaic corner of the United States is located between two majestic rivers – Missouri and Mississippi, and smaller rivers permeate it from all sides.
Iowa has a humid continental climate. Summer is moderately hot, and in winter the thermometer rarely drops below zero.
How to get to Iowa and travel around it?
The best option to get to your desired destination is an air flight. The airport in the state capital Des Moines accepts local and transcontinental flights. From many cities of the United States, as well as from such European destinations as Berlin, Madrid and Stockholm, you can reach Iowa via direct flight. When departing from other places will have to make several transfers, for example, in New York or Houston. Of course, those American or foreign tourists who prefer to travel by car, can use Enterprise car rental in Ames Iowa for getting around the state. The highways of Iowa are incredibly picturesque, which will make a road trip interesting and fascinating.
What sights to see in Iowa?
Natural beauty is the reason that makes this state so popular and beloved among travelers from all over the world. Some of the most charming and beautiful spots of Iowa are:
De Soto Reserve
De Soto National Reserve is located in the Missouri River Valley in the west of central Iowa. This is a real paradise for migratory waterfowl, primarily geese and ducks. The reserve is spread over 34 square kilometers and became home to more than 30 species of mammals and birds. It should be noted that bald eagles, which is the national symbol of the USA, winter in these places.
In De Soto you can watch the life of deer, beavers, coyotes, possums and our other wild animals. With special permits, you can even hunt deer, turkeys and pheasants and go fishing on the lake, along the shores of which several boat piers were built. A visit to this area will be a real discovery for all lovers of American flora and fauna.
Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge
Neal Smith Reserve and Prairie Training Center are road and walking excursions into the kingdom of buffalo and moose, the magical world of beautiful flowers and grasses of the American prairie. The majestic oak forests surrounding the reserve will make you feel like a hero of an amazing fairy tale and will give you unforgettable impressions of traveling across the prairies of Neal Smith.
At the Prairie Training Center you can get acquainted with the state ecosystem, learn the peculiarities of life of representatives of the local flora and fauna, and even take the role of a forester or gardener and plant something. As you probably understand, such excursions are especially popular among children and those who want to return to childhood.
Employees of this establishment are working with enthusiasm and do their best to make sure that tourists don’t get bored even for a minute! By the way, the entrance to the reserves is free, so all you need is to get up early and go on a trip, waiting for wonderful adventures.
Effigy Mounds National Monument
Effigy Mounds is one of the largest surviving groups of mounds in the United States. Although prehistoric mounds created by the indigenous people of America are widespread in the territory from the Great Plains of the USA right up to the Atlantic coast, only here the figured mounds are made in the form of animals, birds or reptiles.
The visitor center at the entrance to the park houses a museum exhibition with archaeological finds and exhibits representing the local nature, as well as a conference room and a bookstore where you can buy books telling the history of the state. The park has 14 km of hiking trails, and guided tours are performed by local rangers. A variety of educational programs have been developed, which can be reached by appointment.
If you decide to stay for the night, you will have to use campgrounds in the neighboring reserves. There are no campsites in Effigy Mounds, but friendly staff can help you to decide where to stay overnight.
Des Moines Botanical Garden
(photo by Angela Sarcophagus)
After enjoying the natural attractions in the largest reserves of Iowa, you can move to its capital – the city of Des Moines. Its botanical garden is an amazing place where tropical fish and birds live under the geodesic dome. Nowadays, there are such animals as turtles, colorful birds. The botanical garden boasts of plants, among which cacti and orchids are the most common representatives.
In addition, miniature but no less elegant roses, various types of grass, dwarf coniferous plants grow in the park. In fact, vacationers can buy exotic plants.