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Travel Iowa This Summer

May 23, 2013 - Jane Whitmore
Weekend trips around Iowa sound like a good way to spend the summer. What a great way to see and learn a lot, with minimal travel. Iowa Tourism Office has released the latest edition of the Iowa Travel Guide. This four-color guide is Iowa’s comprehensive trip-planning publication, with listings from more than 700 attractions, 550 hotels, 160 bed and breakfasts and 400 campgrounds, in addition to information on state parks, trails and scenic byways. Here’s what Iowa’s Governor Terry Branstad has to say:?“Tourism is a vital part of the state’s economy. Iowa has some of the most beautiful scenery and best attractions in the country. From the scenic Mississippi in the east to the rare Loess Hills in the west, and everywhere in between, we encourage people to see everything Iowa has to offer.” Festival & Event Highlights: Month by month, Iowa offers an “event-full” year of festivals and celebrations. The year of highlights includes the University of Okoboji Winter Games in January, The St. Patrick’s Celebration in Emmetsburg in March and concludes with the POW?Nativity Scene in Algona in December. Did you know: Famous Iowans include national figures, sports figures and people in film, TV and the arts, including: President Herbert Hoover, 31st president of the United States. The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library/Museum is in West Branch. First Lady Mamie Doud Eisenhower, wife of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, was born in boone. Iowans in spirts include:?Natasha Kaiser Brown, coach and Olympic track medalist; Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller; Dan Gable, Olympic gold medal wrestler; U.S. and world champion and Olympic gold and silver medalist in gymnastics, Shawn Johnson; PGA?tour golfer Zach Johnson; NCAA and Olympics Trials champion, hurdler Lolo Jones; famed Iowa Hawkeye quarterback Nile Kinnick; and NFL stand-out Kurt Warner. When it comes to film, TV and the arts, Iowa is also well represented:?life-long Iowans Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, American Pickers; late-night Tonight Show host Johnny Carson; world renowned opera singer Simon Estes; television and film actor Ashton Kutcher; actress Cloris Leachman; Big Band leader Glenn Miller; actress Donna Reed; author Jane Smiley; actor John Wayne; singer Andy Williams; composer Meredith Willson; movie star Elijah Wood; and, painter Grant Wood. Load up your bike or pack your hiking boots and enjoy any of the miles of trails in Iowa. Or, strap on the canoe or kayak and travel Iowa’s lakes and rivers. Enjoy the scenic byways and historic routes that crisscross the state. Iowa state parks dot the map as well. The Iowa Travel Guide is divided into regions of the state. Each region is then divided into towns. In Northwest Iowa, Palo Alto County is represented by Emmetsburg (Iowa Welcome Center, Victorian Museum on Main, and Wild Rose Casino &?Resort), Ruthven (Lost Island Prairie Wetland Nature Center) and West Bend (Grotto of the Redemption, and Historic Sod House, School House, Post Office and Museum). Each entry in these Iowa regions show icons for trails, hotels/motels/resorts, best-and-breakfast, campgrounds, and designates Main Street Iowa Communities and Iowa Great Places. In the back of the guide, there are easy to navigate charts designating accommodations: hotels/motels/resorts; bed-and-breakfast inns; and, campgrounds and RV parks. The Iowa Travel Guide offers a wealth of ideas for weekend trips -- or longer ventures -- in our home state. Over the years we have had the opportunity to visit communities throughout the state. The trip to our destination was usually as interesting as our stay. Here’s an idea:?open a map of Iowa, close your eyes and point to a location. Get out the Iowa Travel Guide and you are pretty much guaranteed to be at or close to an Iowa attraction. Northwest, West Central, Southwest, North Central, Central, South Central, Northeast, East Central, East and Southeast Iowa all have something special to share. You can pick up one of these nice guides at any Iowa Welcome Center (adjacent to the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce office, downtown Emmetsburg), and they can also be ordered by phone at 800-345-IOWA or online, the Iowa Tourism Office’s website.


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