Tasty Road Trips in Iowa

Tasty Road Trips in Iowa

What’s a road trip without delicious eats? Plan a trip to take in Iowa’s best pizza, burger, beer, tenderloin and pie. Along the way, be sure to catch some area attractions.


Zipps Taco Whole
Best Pizza:
Zipp’s Pizzaria, Adair

Named best pizza during an Iowa Tourism Office competition in March 2016.


ChuckwagonBurger LR
Best Burger:
Chuckwagon Restaurant, Adair
Named Iowa’s best burger by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattleman’s Association in May 2016.

Five area attractions:

  • “Ole Smiley”: Adair’s iconic Smiley face water tower was constructed in 1979.
  • Jesse James Historical Marker: The Jesse James gang is believed to have pulled off the first robbery of a moving train just west of Adair on July 21, 1873. The site is marked by a large steam engine wheel.
  • The Freedom Rock: Artist Ray “Bubba” Sorenson annually paints a patriotic theme on this 60-ton boulder north of Greenfield in time for Memorial Day.
  • Friendly Gas Station Man: In 1934, the Kalbach Oil Company commissioned the creation of a service station attendant in a blue uniform outlined in neon lights to greet travelers in Menlo. He’s still on the job.
  • Drew’s Chocolates: Started in 1927, Drew’s in Dexter is the only chocolate shop in the U.S. to fork dip each piece by hand on a daily basis.


WestOCocoStout Viaweb

Best Beer: West O Beer, Okoboji

CocO Chocolate Stout named Iowa’s best beer during The Des Moines Register’s Beer Bracket competition in March 2016.

Five area attractions:

  • Arnolds Park Amusement Park: More than 30 rides and attractions, including the renovated wooden Legend Roller Coaster, at this historic park in Arnolds Park
  • Emerald Hills Golf Club: Northwest Iowa’s most challenging golf course is located in Arnolds Park. The 18-hole, par 72 course includes mature, tree-lined fairways and four sets of tees.
  • Dickinson County Nature Center: Located near West Okoboji Lake in Okoboji, the nature center provides year-round environmental programs, live animals, native gardens, a butterfly house and Nature Explorer playgrounds.
  • Okoboji Summer Theatre/Boji Bantam Theater: Unique summer-stock theatre in Spirit Lake annually produces nine shows in 10 weeks.
  • Iowa Rock ‘N’ Roll Music Association Museum: Located in Arnolds Park, exhibits in the museum preserve the history of rock ‘n’ roll in Iowa through a collection of instruments, costumes, posters, awards, jukeboxes and a Hall of Fame Wall of Honor.

BelmondTenderloinBest Breaded Pork Tenderloin:
Belmond Drive-In, Belmond

Named Iowa’s best breaded pork tenderloin by the Iowa Pork Producers Association in October 2015.

Five area attractions:

  • Jenison Meacham Memorial Art Center and Museum: Touring art exhibits, murals and artifacts on display at a 120-acre farm in Belmond depict the life of area pioneers.
  • Old Bank Winery: Located in a restored Farmers State Bank building in Kanawha with wines produced from the nearby family vineyard.
  • Beed’s Lake State Park: A two-mile trail around the lake in Hampton provides beautiful scenery. At the spillway, visitors can hike to the base of the limestone Civilian Conservation Corps dam that is reported to be the most photographed dam in the Midwest.
  • Avery Theatre: Recently restored historic movie theater in Garner shows first run films.
  • The Hemken Collection: Car collection in Williams includes American convertibles from Chevys to Lincolns to Hudsons to Packards from 1947 to 1948. 

Crouse Cherry Pie(1)

Best Pie: Crouse Cafe, Indianola
Cherry pie named Iowa’s best pie during an Iowa Tourism Office competition in March 2015.

Five area attractions:

  • National Balloon Museum and U.S. Hall of Fame: The museum in Indianola focuses on hot air ballooning artifacts and memorabilia from 1783 to the present.
  • The Garden Barn: Located near Indianola in a historic post and beam barn built in 1886, the shop specializes in nature-inspired décor, garden art, wreaths and floral accents.
  • Summerset Winery: The winery is nestled above the Middle River, north of Indianola. Wines are produced from locally grown, central Iowa grapes.
  • Bridges of Madison County: Six of the famed bridges can be found in and around Winterset.
  • Iowa Quilt Museum: Set to open on the Winterset town square in May 2016, the museum will feature three to four changing exhibits per year. The first exhibit showcases three centuries of red and white quilts.

Tourism in Iowa generates more than $8.06 billion in expenditures, employs 66,500 people statewide and generates $374 million in state taxes. The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. For more information, visit traveliowa.com, call 800.345.IOWA, or stop at any Iowa Welcome Center. Travelers can find additional Iowa travel inspiration on the Iowa Tourism Office blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, Pinterest boards, Google+ page, Instagram, or YouTube channel.