Maquoketa Caves

Throughout many of my summers, there is one phrase in particular that I always hear from others. In fact, there are times when I catch myself having this particular thought when deciding what new adventure to go on while staying close to home. That phrase being: “There’s nothing to do here in Iowa.”

I mean, come on, we’ve all had this thought before, even if for just a brief moment. Maybe not that thought exactly, but something along the lines of: “There is nothing to do” during the moments of summer boredom we might experience here and there.

Some people might find it fun staying indoors and binge watching Netflix all summer, whereas others might prefer checking out new places the next town over. If you plan on spending the rest of your summer here in Iowa, here are some places you might want to consider checking out:

First on the list of places to visit is the Maquoketa Caves State Park, which is located in Jackson County. Here are beautiful, caved trails where one might enjoy a calming walk with friends and family. In addition to the trails, there is a campground as well as picnicking areas. According to the Iowa DNR, the Maquoketa Caves State Park contains more caves than any of the other state parks in Iowa.

Another place to visit is the Grotto of the Redemption located in West Bend, Iowa. It is a religious structure that depicts the life of Jesus and includes a rock-encrusted museum. The Grotto of the Redemption is considered to be the biggest grotto in the world and it is also known for containing the largest collection of stones and gems in one place.

Effigy Mounds National Monument is also another spectacular park to consider paying a visit. Unlike the Maquoketa Caves, this park in particular holds over 200 prehistoric mounds in the shape of animals which were built by Native Americans. The earthworks are located in the counties of Allamakee and Clayton, with the nearest city being Marquette, Iowa. The Monument contains trails, one of which is called the Fire Point Trail. On this trail, one can come across four different types of mounds: conical, linear, compound and effigy.

Last, but certainly not least, is Luna Valley located in Decorah, Iowa. For $150 a night, one can stay in a platformed tent that includes your very own private patio situated on a valley side. If you need a peaceful place to clear your head and to spend some time on your own or with your significant other, this is the place to go. Here, you can experience the peaceful sound of the countryside without all of the buzzing of the city.

Here are just four places out of many others that you can add to your summer to-do list, just in case you happen to be asking yourself what to do with your summer days. The list of places to check out in Iowa is pretty long if one actually takes some time to explore beyond just central parts. In other words, it’s vacation close to home!

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Steve Gregg

Here are some other places to visit in Iowa, a couple of them just an hour drive south in Des Moines: State Historical Museum of Iowa 600 E Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50319 https://iowaculture.gov/history/museum They've got a mastodon in there and lots of interesting stuff. Iowa State Fair Iowa State Fairgrounds 3000 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50317 https://www.iowastatefair.org/ Aug. 8-18, 2019 Be sure to try a fried twinkie. Products and Services: places.singleplatform.com Phone: (515) 281-5111 Rock Island Arsenal Museum 3500 North Avenue, Building 60 • Rock Island, Illinois 309-782-5021 arsenalhistoricalsociety.org http://www.visitquadcities.com/partners/rock-island-arsenal-museum OK, so it's not really in Iowa but just over the Mississippi from Davenport. It features over a thousand guns representing the history of the US. Don't miss the outdoor exhibits, including the M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank with battle damage from the Battle of the Bulge/

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