36 days in Iowa Itinerary

36 days in Iowa Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Iowa trip itinerary maker

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Make it your trip
Fly
1
Council Bluffs
— 4 nights
Drive
2
Des Moines
— 6 nights
Drive
3
Mason City
— 4 nights
Drive
4
Waterloo
— 4 nights
Drive
5
Coralville
— 5 nights
Drive
6
Davenport
— 5 nights
Drive
7
Dubuque
— 7 nights
Fly

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Council Bluffs

— 4 nights
Council Bluffs is a city in and the county seat of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, United States. Change things up with these side-trips from Council Bluffs: Museum of Danish America (in Elk Horn), Desoto National Wildlife Refuge (in Missouri Valley) and Loess Hills Scenic Byway (in Percival). Next up on the itinerary: try to win big at Horseshoe Council Bluffs, explore the landscape on two wheels at Wabash Trace Nature Trail, get engrossed in the history at Union Pacific Railroad Museum, and appreciate the history behind Spirit of Siouxland Statue.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, read Council Bluffs travel itinerary planner.

Indianapolis to Council Bluffs is an approximately 5.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of bus, train, and taxi. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time is minus 1 hour. Expect a daytime high around 52°F in November, and nighttime lows around 30°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Thu) early enough to drive to Des Moines.

Things to do in Council Bluffs

Museums · Outdoors · Casinos · Parks

Side Trips

Find places to stay Nov 21 — 25:

Des Moines

— 6 nights
Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Iowa. Venture out of the city with trips to Ames (Iowa State University & Reiman Gardens) and Seven Oaks Recreation (in Boone). The adventure continues: get a sense of history and politics at Capitol Building, walk around Gray's Lake Park, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Blank Park Zoo, and admire the masterpieces at Des Moines Art Center.

To find photos, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Des Moines trip planner.

Getting from Council Bluffs to Des Moines by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 51°F in November, and nighttime lows around 32°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) to allow time to travel to Mason City.

Things to do in Des Moines

Parks · Outdoors · Museums · Trails

Side Trips

Find places to stay Nov 25 — Dec 1:

Mason City

— 4 nights
Mason City is a city in and the county seat of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, United States. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Mason City: Grotto of the Redemption (in West Bend) and Community Orchard (in Fort Dodge). Next up on the itinerary: admire the striking features of Historic Park Inn Hotel, admire the masterpieces at Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, stroll through Lime Creek Nature Center, and make a trip to Plane Crash Site of Buddy Holly.

To see more things to do, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Mason City trip builder app.

You can drive from Des Moines to Mason City in 2 hours. In December, Mason City is little chillier than Des Moines - with highs of 30°F and lows of 15°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) so you can drive to Waterloo.

Things to do in Mason City

Parks · Historic Sites · Nature · Museums

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 1 — 5:

Waterloo

— 4 nights
Waterloo is a city in and the county seat of Black Hawk County, Iowa, United States. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Waterloo: Decorah (Agora, Vesterheim, &more). The adventure continues: see the interesting displays at John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum, experience rural life at Hansen's Farm Fresh Dairy, admire the natural beauty at Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, and explore the landscape on two wheels at Cedar Valley Nature Trail.

To find other places to visit, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Waterloo road trip planning site.

Traveling by car from Mason City to Waterloo takes 1.5 hours. In December, daily temperatures in Waterloo can reach 32°F, while at night they dip to 17°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) early enough to drive to Coralville.

Things to do in Waterloo

Museums · Parks · Trails · Outdoors

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 5 — 9:

Coralville

— 5 nights
Coralville is a city in Johnson County, Iowa, United States. Explore Coralville's surroundings by going to Fun Valley Ski Area (in Montezuma), National Motorcycle Museum (in Anamosa) and Cedar Rapids (Brucemore, NewBo City Market, &more). There's much more to do: have fun and explore at The Iowa Children's Museum, take in the dramatic natural features at Devonian Fossil Gorge, do a tasting at Fireside Winery, and take an in-depth tour of Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.

To find ratings, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Coralville road trip planning tool.

Traveling by car from Waterloo to Coralville takes 1.5 hours. In December, daily temperatures in Coralville can reach 36°F, while at night they dip to 20°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) so you can drive to Davenport.

Things to do in Coralville

Museums · Historic Sites · Parks · Childrens Museums

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 9 — 14:

Davenport

— 5 nights
Davenport is the county seat of Scott County in Iowa and is the largest of the Quad Cities, a metropolitan area with a population estimate of 382,630 and a CSA population of 474,226, making it the 90th largest CSA in the nation. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Davenport: Snake Alley (in Burlington) and Clinton (Eagle Point Park & Wide River Winery). Next up on the itinerary: take an in-depth tour of Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, try your luck at Rhythm City Casino Resort, pick up a one of a kind souvenir at Antique Archeology, and sample the fine beverages at Mississippi River Distilling Company & Cody Road Cocktail House.

For photos, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Davenport online tour itinerary builder.

You can drive from Coralville to Davenport in 1.5 hours. Expect a daytime high around 37°F in December, and nighttime lows around 22°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) so you can go by car to Dubuque.

Things to do in Davenport

Museums · Parks · Wineries · Shopping

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 14 — 19:

Dubuque

— 7 nights
Dubuque is the county seat of Dubuque County, Iowa, United States, located along the Mississippi River. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Dubuque: Park Farm Winery (in Durango), Effigy Mounds National Monument (in Harpers Ferry) and St. Francis Basilica (in Dyersville). There's still lots to do: try to win big at Diamond Jo Casino, explore the landscape on two wheels at Heritage Trail, do a tasting at Barrel Head Winery, and appreciate the history behind Julien Dubuque Monument.

For maps, more things to do, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Dubuque road trip site.

Traveling by car from Davenport to Dubuque takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. When traveling from Davenport in December, plan for a bit cooler days in Dubuque, with highs around 31°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 18°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) so you can catch the flight back home.

Things to do in Dubuque

Parks · Wineries · Historic Sites · Outdoors

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 19 — 26:

Iowa travel guide

4
The Hawkeye State
Part of the American heartland, Iowa is marked by a strong agricultural heritage, with farmland encompassing around 90 percent of the state's land. However, a holiday in Iowa offers more than corn and cows: you'll also discover charming towns, beautiful lakes, and a handful of vibrant cities. Iowa City, a university town, provides a healthy dose of culture and nightlife, with a youthful and artistic vibe fueled by a sizable student population. A trip to some of Iowa's small towns provides a true American experience. Fortunately, the welcoming residents bear very little resemblance to the dour Iowans portrayed in Grant Wood's famous painting "American Gothic."