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Roadside Attractions in Iowa

Explore Iowa roadside attractions and other tourist traps, restaurants, stops, and detours to add to your Iowa road trip itinerary.

Gemini Giant muffler man at the Launching Pad in Wilmington, Illinois

Happy Chef Umpire in Ryan, Iowa

This roadside attraction is a home run. It’s big. It’s fiberglass. It’s repurposed. And it’s wonderful. Meet the Happy Chef Umpire in Ryan, Iowa. Happy Chef was a restaurant chain founded in 1963. It was then that the Frederick Brothers, — Sal, Bob, Bill and Tom — opened the first location on US HWY 169 in Mankato, Minnesota. The diner chain grew and, at one time...

Gemini Giant muffler man at the Launching Pad in Wilmington, Illinois

Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan in Brandon, Iowa

Iowa might have a soft spot for supper clubs and fish fries but they also have a bigger fish to fry…and just the frying pan to do it in. This is Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan in Brandon, Iowa. This giant frying pan was built in 2004 to promote Brandon’s popular cowboy breakfast. The local fundraiser started as a semi-annual event in 2000 and is now held annually...

Gemini Giant muffler man at the Launching Pad in Wilmington, Illinois

World’s Largest Strawberry in Strawberry Point, Iowa

I love this roadside attraction BERRY much — and I hope you do too. It’s the world’s largest strawberry in Strawberry Point, Iowa. Strawberry Point, Iowa is billed as “The Sweetest Place to Grow” so it’s only fitting that they have a roadside attraction dedicated to their sweet namesake that grows far beyond normal size. The biggest strawberry in the...

Albert the Bull - the World's Largest Bull in Audubon, Iowa | Iowa Roadside Attractions

The 15 Best Iowa Roadside Attractions

Are you planning an Iowa road trip and want to find all the best Iowa roadside attractions along your route? Whether you’re driving across I-80, taking the Great River Road, or exploring the Historic Hills, you won’t want to miss these fifteen must-see places to go in Iowa. They’re fun road trip stops and great additions to your travel itinerary or route. Below are...

Danish Windmill in Elk Horn, Iowa | Iowa Roadside Attractions

Working Danish Windmill in Elk Horn, Iowa

Why is there a Danish Windmill in Elk Horn, Iowa? Elk Horn and nearby Kimballton (home of the Little Mermaid fountain) make up the largest Danish settlement in the United States. In the 1940s the town raised over $30,000 to buy one for themselves and have it shipped over from Denmark. The Danish windmill was built in Norre Snede, Denmark in 1848. In 1976, it was...

World's Largest Truckstop in Iowa - Iowa 80 Truck stop - roadside attractions in Iowa

Iowa 80: The World’s Largest Truckstop in Iowa

If you’re driving on a road trip on Interstate 80 near the Iowa/Illinois border and find yourself needing gas, there’s only one choice for where to stop: Iowa 80, the world’s largest truckstop. In fact, you should probably stop even if you have a full tank. Because this gas station is a roadside attraction in itself. The World’s Largest...

Cheers from Des Moines Mural in Iowa | Iowa Murals in Des Moines | Street Art

Cheers from Des Moines Mural in Iowa

Cheers from Des Moines! I always love a good “greetings from” postcard mural (like these in Chicago and Austin) so I just had to check out this Cheers from Des Moines mural in Iowa while stopping in town on a road trip. The mural, created by artist Ben Schuh, is located on the side of Exile Brewing Company. Along with the phrase “Cheers from Des...

Nomade by artist Jaume Plensa | Figure made from white letters | Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Sculpture parks are always a roadside-attraction lover’s goldmine as they are often packed with weird and wonderful statues from a variety of artists around the world. As such, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa did not disappoint. Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a 4.4 acre...

Agri-Symbol: The agricultural symbol is a 76-Foot-Tall Corn Stalk in Shelby, Iowa | Iowa Roadside Attractions

Agri-Symbol: A 76-Foot-Tall Corn Stalk in Shelby, Iowa

I’ve seen a lot of corny roadside attractions on my road trips around the United States. There was the Large Rotating Ear of Corn in Coon Rapids, Iowa. There was the Field of Giant Corn Cobs in Dublin, Ohio. And now there’s this: the Agri-Symbol, a 76-Foot-Tall Corn Stalk in Shelby, Iowa. Just off of I-80 in Iowa is Agri-Symbol Park, a small walking path...

The Little Mermaid Fountain in Kimballton, Iowa | Little Mermaid Statue roadside attraction in Iowa

The Little Mermaid Fountain in Kimballton, Iowa

One of the most popular and beloved tourist attractions in Denmark is the Little Mermaid statue that has sat on a rock in Copenhagen harbor since 1913. But, if you’re in the American Midwest and can’t make it all the way across the ocean to check it out, have I got a treat for you: there’s an exact replica Little Mermaid Fountain in Kimballton, Iowa...

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