Latest travel news across Iowa - September 2022

September 21, 2022

Crisp air. Changing leaves. The roar in a stadium after a touchdown. The hunt for the perfect pumpkin. Getting lost in a corn maze. Bring on fall!

Iowa offers plenty of activities and events for autumn adventures. Catch collegiate football in Ames, Cedar Falls or Iowa City. Spend the day strolling through Iowa's top pumpkin patches or navigating corn mazes. Explore must-visit fall attractions.Check out more destinations and activities in the new Fall and Winter Iowa Travel Guide.

Unique Ways to See Fall Colors

Ziplining tours offer travelers the chance to see the changing of colors from the best seat in the house - from the trees! Sky Tours in Dubuque boasts nine continuous ziplines where the peak reaches 75 feet above Union Park. 

With unmatched valleys and rolling hills dotted with colorful foliage, Iowa is a premier destination for hiking, biking and enjoying all that nature has to offer. Travelers looking for the best view can hike to the Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek for a bird's-eye experience from the 45-foot-tall observation tower or take in sweeping views of the Mississippi River at Pikes Peak State Park in McGregor. For those who enjoy exploring by bike, the Iowa Great Lakes Trail in Okoboji stretches 14 miles along various bodies of water, offering scenic reflections of color.

Cruise along Iowa's scenic byways and leave the interstate in the rearview mirror. Experience the beauty of the backroads and all that Iowa has to offer on the Driftless Area Scenic Byway, a perfect fall drive with bridges, historic churches, delicious food and breathtaking landscapes along the way.

Visitors can also choose their destination by using the Weekly Fall Color Report from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources which indicates where peak color is occurring across the state.

Fall Adventures

The first day of fall (September 22) means it's officially time to find the perfect pumpkin, pick apples and embrace the crisp air and fall leaves. There are endless activities for families to enjoy throughout Iowa this season.

At Bloomsbury Farms in Atkins, travelers can roam through fields of sunflowers, pick out a favorite pumpkin and attend a fall event like the Sunflower Festival or Harvest Festival. Enjoy a corn maze or apple picking at Deal's Orchard in Jefferson or marvel at 1,000+ hand-carved jack-o-lanterns at Reiman Garden's Spirits in the Garden event in Ames.

Those looking for spookier adventures will enjoy Mount Plesant's Thrashers House of Terror or Adventureland in Altoona's first ever Phantom Fall Fest.

Viking Cruises

The Viking Mississippi recently made its maiden voyage. The vessel carries 386 guests along the Lower and Upper Mississippi River between New Orleans, LA, and St. Paul, MN, docking three times in Iowa - Burlington, Davenport and Dubuque. 

The Viking Mississippi is currently booking into 2024. 
Events and Activities

Mark your calendars for these events and activities you won’t want to miss.

September 25: Homemade Apple Cider & Donut Day, Mason City
September 30-October 2: Amana Colonies Oktoberfest, Amana Colonies
October 1: 67th Annual Southwest Iowa Band Jamboree, Clarinda
October 8-9: Madison County Covered Bridge Festival, Winterset
October 12: Shop Iowa Day
October 14-16: Scenic Drive Festival, Villages of Van Buren
October 29: 712 Brew Fest, Sioux City
News Stand
Chicago Tribune: America's other dairyland: A rugged pocket of Iowa is a cheese-lover's paradise
Lonely Planet: I spent 7 days riding my bike 468 miles across Iowa with a pack of 18,000: here's how I did it
Fifty Grande: 50 things to do in 50 states
USA Today: 'There's still pent-up demand': What you should know about fall travel