Iowa

Overview

Introduction

One of Iowa's signature attractions exists only in the fall: Human-scale mazes made out of—what else?—corn. Dozens of corn mazes can be found throughout the state each autumn, offering an enticing blend of tourism and agriculture. (A tip: Don't try to cheat by cutting through the corn. It's like stepping into a rain forest—stalks, leaves, heat and the constant fear that you'll never find your way out again.)

For people who have never been to Iowa, the state may seem like nothing but a maze of cornfields. There certainly are a lot of farms and corn, but there's much more. In fact, there's enough to see and do in Iowa that tourism is now the fourth-largest industry in the state.

What brings in the visitors is the mixture of enjoyable attractions: historic sites, including Native American burial grounds, frontier outposts and 19th-century river towns; museums, such as the Des Moines Arts Center and one-of-a-kind collections focusing on everything from Norwegian immigrants to farm toys; and nostalgic journeys, whether by riverboat, train or country road. And the farms and corn can be attractions in their own right: Well-done sites such as Living History Farms in Des Moines offer glimpses into the way agriculture has developed in Iowa over the past 300 years.

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