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Recreation and Parks: Outdoor Recreation in Iowa
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Recreation and Parks: Outdoor Recreation in Iowa

When people think of the ideal spots for great outdoor recreation and wilderness vacations, it’s not always Iowa that first comes to mind. It’s time to change that perception, however, because this state is the setting of a variety of great outdoor activities, no matter your cup of tea. Consider Iowa and the following outdoor rec ideas the next time you plan a wilderness vacation.

  • Go Fishing

It may not be the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but Iowa has some beautiful lakes that make for great days spent fishing. In fact, the Iowa Great Lakes—East and West Okoboji and Spirit Lakes—have over 40 different species of fish while the entire state has 148 different species in its waters. Get your reels—and your dinner plates—out and ready, because Iowa has a lot to offer when it comes to fishing.

  • Play Ball Like the Pros

Like professional actors, that is. Dyersville, Iowa is the site of the baseball field built for the movie “Field of Dreams.” The baseball diamond, built specifically for the film, is still there and can be rented out for private events. So pull out your cleats and grab a bat, because whether you want to play a few games on this iconic baseball diamond or just eat a couple hot dogs and a handful of peanuts, make plans to visit the Field of Dreams.

  • Work the Trails System

The great Midwest is fairly well known for its network of trails, and Iowa is no exception. The Central Iowa Trail System is 676 miles of asphalt and concrete trails that go along rivers, creeks, valleys and other scenic vistas, making any time spent on these trails beautiful. Of special note is the new addition of the 25-mile High Trestle Trail. This trail includes a half-mile, 13-story bridge that crosses the Des Moines River valley. The bridge is one of the largest trail bridges in the world.

When it comes to Iowa hunting, right now is one of the best times to go since recent years. Hunters have been pleased to see numbers of pheasants, Iowa’s most popular game bird, higher than it’s been in recent years. Quail, partridge and rabbits are also reported to have shown increases in population as well, and the deer, turkey goose and duck hunting is still good; needless to say, hunting season is a well-anticipated time of the year in Iowa.

  • Go to the Park

Nearly 100 state parks dot the state of Iowa, those managed by the state and others managed by the county in which they are found. Some of them are just a few acres in size while others, like the Brush Creek State Recreation Area, stretch to some thousands of acres. The Maquoketa Caves State Park has 13 preserved caves, some with lighting and walkways, others left untouched. Other parks offer dozens of campsites, some with electrical hookups and showers. Waubonsie State Park has equestrian trails in addition to foot trails.


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