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2024-05-20
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7 Best Places for One Day Trips from Des Moines, IA

Welcome to Your Next Adventure from Des Moines, IA!

Des Moines, the vibrant capital city of Iowa, is perfectly positioned for a plethora of exciting one-day trips. Whether you're a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply looking to explore charming small towns, there are numerous destinations within a short drive that cater to all kinds of interests. From the Dutch-inspired architecture of Pella to the scenic landscapes of Ledges State Park, these destinations offer rich experiences that promise to make your day memorable. Discover the beautiful Reiman Gardens in Ames, immerse yourself in the historic charm of Living History Farms, or relax with some fine wine at Eagle City Winery. Each of these spots offers unique attractions and activities, ensuring that your venture beyond Des Moines is filled with excitement, learning, and relaxation. So pack your bags, prepare your itinerary, and get ready to explore these must-visit locations, each just a stone's throw away from Des Moines!

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  • Pella is known for its Dutch heritage, charming architecture, and beautiful tulip gardens. The annual Tulip Time Festival attracts visitors with its vibrant parades, authentic Dutch food, and traditional crafts.
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  • Ames is home to Iowa State University, where you can explore the campus's rich history and beautiful architecture. Additionally, the university features cultural landmarks like the Brunnier Art Museum and lively events that make it a dynamic visit.
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    Reiman Gardens

    Reiman Gardens is a stunning public garden located in Ames, featuring diverse plant collections, a butterfly house, and seasonal exhibits. It's an ideal spot for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts to enjoy a serene and visually captivating environment.
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    Eagle City Winery

    Eagle City Winery offers a charming and cozy atmosphere where you can enjoy locally produced wines. The winery provides tastings of various wines and often hosts events and tours, making it a pleasant spot for wine enthusiasts.
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    Ledges State Park

    Ledges State Park is known for its stunning sandstone cliffs, scenic hiking trails, and river views. The park offers a range of outdoor activities like hiking, picnicking, and wildlife observation, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers.
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    Lake Red Rock

    Lake Red Rock is the largest lake in Iowa, offering a wide range of recreational activities such as boating, fishing, hiking, and camping. The lake's serene environment and beautiful landscapes make it an ideal destination for a relaxing outdoor getaway.
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    Living History Farms

    Living History Farms offers an immersive experience into Iowa's agricultural past through interactive exhibits and tours. Visitors can explore historical farm sites, engage with costumed interpreters, and learn about farming techniques from different time periods, making it both an educational and enjoyable visit for all ages.
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    Stay Recommendations

    • The Historic Usher's Ferry Lodge

      Located in Cedar Rapids, this historic lodge offers a unique and charming stay with its period architecture and vintage decor, providing a nostalgic step back in time.
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    • The historic Hotel Pattee, Perry, IA

      Situated in Perry, Hotel Pattee is known for its themed rooms, each decorated with a unique style reflecting different cultural and historical themes, offering a uniquely eclectic stay.
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    • Hotel Grinnell

      Located in Grinnell, this boutique hotel is fashioned from a historical school building, offering both modern amenities and a touch of historical charm with its unique educational decor.
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    • The Blackhawk Hotel

      In Cedar Falls, The Blackhawk Hotel is an iconic establishment that combines historic architecture with modern comforts, featuring elegantly restored rooms and old-world charm.
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    • Frank Lloyd Wright's Historic Park Inn Hotel

      Located in Mason City, it's the last remaining hotel designed by the iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright, offering a unique blend of architectural significance and luxury.
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