Best Iowa Attraction (2017)


Germany colonies, covered bridges, college towns and some of the nation's most productive farms – this is Iowa. Attractions here are diverse, everything from movie sites and trucking museums to burial mounds and scenic drives along the Mighty Mississippi. 

  • Maquoketa Caves State Park

    Maquoketa Caves State Park

    There are more caves within this Iowa state park than in any other state park in the country. An interpretive center gives a geological and historical overview of the caves, while 6 miles of trails link the caves and other significant sites.
    Photo courtesy of Phil Roeder / Flickr

  • Surf Ballroom & Museum

    Surf Ballroom & Museum
    Clear Lake

    An American music icon, the Surf Ballroom and Museum was the last venue where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson performed before the fateful day the music died.
    Photo courtesy of Christopher Gannon for USA TODAY

  • Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

    Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

    Iowa 80 Truckstop founder Bill Moon was also a collector of antique trucks and trucking memorabilia. Today, his quirky and expansive collection is on display at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum in Walcott.
    Photo courtesy of John McManaman / Flickr

  • National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

    National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

    A celebration of the Mighty Mississippi, this museum and aquarium in Dubuque includes a historical collection diving into the heritage of the river as well as a living collection of animals found in the Mississippi and other aquatic habitats.
    Photo courtesy of EarlRShumaker / Flickr

  • Grotto of the Redemption

    Grotto of the Redemption
    West Bend

    This landmark in West Bend is the largest manmade grotto in the world, portraying biblical scenes using a colorful collection of gems and stones from around the world.
    Photo courtesy of Laura Bernhardt / Flickr

  • Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum

    Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum

    Spectacular scenery is on display for passengers aboard the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad, a former coal transport train dating back to 1893.
    Photo courtesy of Carl Wycoff / Flickr

  • Pikes Peak State Park

    Pikes Peak State Park

    Not to be confused with the Colorado peak of the same name, Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa is known for its scenic views overlooking the Mississippi River. More than 11 miles of trails make this one a favorite among hikers.
    Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

  • National Czech and Slovak Museum

    National Czech and Slovak Museum
    Cedar Rapids

    This Cedar Rapids museum celebrates Czech and Slovak culture through its interactive exhibits and heritage programs.
    Photo courtesy of Mark Goebel / Flickr

  • Field of Dreams Movie Site

    Field of Dreams Movie Site

    In 1987 and 1988, a film crew scoured the countryside of rural Iowa for a spot to build a baseball diamond. The location they chose over a quarter century ago has never been the same since. Ever since Field of Dreams was released in 1989, this modest baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field near Dyersville has attracted visitors from around the world who come to experience a little bit of the magic for themselves. 
    Photo courtesy of Field of Dreams Movie Site

  • Amana Colonies

    Amana Colonies

    The seven villages collectively known as the Amana Colonies were founded by German immigrants in 1855. Today, the villages invite visitors to step back in time to enjoy local food, antiques and fine craftsmanship. 
    Photo courtesy of Kepper66 / Wikimedia Commons


Our readers have been voting for their favorites for the past four weeks, and the results are in! The top 10 winners in the category Best Iowa Attraction are as follows:

  1. Maquoketa Caves State Park - Maquoketa
  2. Surf Ballroom & Museum - Clear Lake
  3. Iowa 80 Trucking Museum - Walcott
  4. National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium - Dubuque
  5. Grotto of the Redemption - West Bend
  6. Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum - Boone
  7. Pikes Peak State Park - McGregor
  8. National Czech and Slovak Museum - Cedar Rapids
  9. Field of Dreams Movie Site - Dyersville
  10. Amana Colonies

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Garrett Cornelison (@reallykindofamazing) and Lori Erickson were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in Iowa.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions!

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AlertThe Experts

Garrett Cornelison

Garrett Cornelison

Garrett Cornelison

Lori Erickson

Lori Erickson

Lori Erickson