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North Iowa is home to several experiences that are exceptional yet are under the radar. This area in Iowa offers rolling hills, prairie, and an opportunity to see some of the best sunsets of your lifetime. I know this very well, as North Iowa is where I live. Every time a friend of mine visits, they remind me of how fortunate I am to call North Iowa home. The people and attractions are exceptional in this less-populous area of the state. June and July are spectacular months to explore this area as the fields are lush and green, as are the wildflowers. You will quickly learn that each community has numerous attractions to keep you busy all day long.

Charles City

Charles City is home to numerous outdoor experiences, including the Charles City Whitewater at Riverfront Park. This is a one-quarter mile rodeo course and it is rated at Class II and III levels and has three distinct features for paddlers of all levels. Kayakers, inner tubers, and stand-up paddleboarders all take to the waters here. The Cedar River provides endless hours of recreational activities and is flanked by the Charley Western Recreational Trail. A highlight of this five-mile trail is a scenic view from a bridge that overlooks the Cedar River and the beautiful Friends Garden.


History buffs will want to visit the Carrie Lane Chapman Catt Girlhood Home. Carrie was a driving force behind the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which ultimately gave women the right to vote in America. There is no fee to visit, and daily tours are given from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Another free collection of art is the Mooney Collection, which is housed in the Charles City Public Library on the Cedar River. Works from Rembrandt, Picasso, Matisse, Salvador Dali, and Grant Wood are all found here.


A favorite meal of mine is pizza from Cedar River Pizza Co. Order your pizza and enjoy it along the riverbank. After your fun day exploring Charles City, head on over to Red Cedar Lodge for a quiet night’s stay along the river.


Adapted from: 7 Fun Places to Explore in Northern Iowa


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