The Perfect Fall Road Trip in Iowa!

With so many fun things to do come fall in Iowa, it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. There’s pumpkin patches to be explored, coffee shops to sip warm drinks at, orchards to pick things from, and haunted houses to make sure you don’t sleep well for a few nights in a row. If you are looking for the perfect fall road trip in Iowa to cover all the fall basics, look no further. Traveling in order from Des Moines to North Liberty, here is the perfect fall road trip to explore the best autumn activities in Iowa! 

Smokey Row Coffee Co., Des Moines, IA

To begin your day, the Des Moines coffee shop known as Smokey Row can give you the energy you need. Featuring a full-line of coffee, espresso, and specialty drinks, the real flavor at Smokey Row comes from their menu which includes community favorites like biscuits and gravy, bagel sandwiches and giant cinnamon rolls. Take your time with your coffee and breakfast, because the aroma and ambiance of Smokey Row is worth checking out for a while. 

Upstream Gardens and Orchard, Altoona, IA

For your next stop, head on over to Altoona to check out the selection provided by Upstream Gardens and Orchards. Throughout the year you can find a variety of fruits and vegetables to pick yourself at Upstream Gardens and Orchards, but come autumn, the best reason to go is the apples. Featuring of a wide array of varieties, whether you want something to bite into or bake with, Upstream Gardens and Orchard has got the right apples for you.

Blueberries for days, that's what. #blueberries #inourbellies #orchard #summer #fruit #ftw #fitfood

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Mount Pleasant Festival of Lights, Mount Pleasant, IA

November 22, 2023 at 5:30pm
The Mount Pleasant Festival of Lights is an annual event that brings out the holiday spirit! Viewers can witness over 140 Holiday Lighted Displays while driving through the Midwest Old Threshers Campground. This event will be sure to create long-lasting memories for all!

Jaarsma Bakery, Pella, IA

For a little refuel in the Iowa fall action, the Jaarsma Bakery within the incredibly scenic community of Pella can treat you right. Featuring authentic Dutch pastries made from scratch, Jaarsma Bakery encourages visitors to enjoy a little taste of Holland with each visit. Couple any one of Jaarsma Bakery bars, breads, cakes or pastries with a cup of coffee, and you’ll find yourself ready to resume the rest of the day with new vigor. 

Jaarsma Bakery...yum #cookiesfordays #icanthelpmyself #pella #woodenshoes #jaarsmabakery

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Lake Red Rock, Marion County, IA

For a full afternoon of exploring the Iowa foliage and natural scenery, Lake Red Rock is the state’s largest lake, and can provide enough recreation to keep you busy the rest of the year. Whether you are looking for a great hiking spot, a better camping location or even just a roadside attraction to appreciate in passing, Lake Red Rock will leave you with a unique taste of the Iowa landscape. 

Festival of Trees, Davenport, IA

November 24, 2023 at 9:00am
Witness the holiday magic come to life at the River Center this November! The Festival of Trees is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit, featuring over 150 designer displays, fun-filled attractions, and the largest helium balloon parade in the Midwest. Don't miss this 10-day holiday extravaganza for the whole family.

Riverside Casino and Resort, Riverside, IA

To take the edge off after visiting a haunted house, the Riverside Casino and Resort in Riverside can provide all the items you need to relax and have a good time. Not only is the gaming floor one of the most extensive in the state of Iowa, but by also hosting some of the best restaurant and bar options in the area, you can have plenty of fun at Riverside Casino even if you don’t gamble. Extend your stay with the available hotel rooms and perhaps a round of golf, and you’ll also extend your chances of having a good time. 

Four years of med school prom with these future lady docs, wouldn't have it any other way! #Fab4 #MinusSmaz #LadyDocs

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Dutch Country Inn, Kalona, IA

For an overnight stay that can lend towards a lot of fall attractions, the Dutch Country Inn is your gateway into the Kalona community. Featuring old-fashioned hospitality and cozy confines, the Dutch Country Inn won’t disappoint for a relaxing and/or romantic getaway. If you have the time, be sure to check out all the artisan shops and distinct cultural elements found in the surrounding Kalona area. 

Bluebird Diner, Iowa City, IA

For a breakfast to always remember, the Bluebird Diner in the Northside Downtown District of Iowa City never disappoints. Featuring plenty of breakfast classics like bacon, eggs and hash browns, Bluebird puts its own unique twist on things with authentic and fresh flavors. It’s not just the excellent food at Bluebird that drives in crowds throughout the week, it’s the ambiance of this glass-walled diner that makes it a fun place to be. 

Lake Macbride State Park, North Liberty, IA

For one last scenic spot on your Iowa fall adventure, Lake Macbride State Park in North Liberty provides plenty of ways to enjoy the changing scenery. Whether you like to mountain bike, play disc golf or hike the trails, Lake Macbride is stacked with recreational activities for everyone to enjoy. To really maximize the fall weather, it’s recommended to bring the picnic blanket and set up shop for an enjoyable afternoon spent outdoors.


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This text was created by the author with the assistance of GPT-3, a large-scale language generation model developed by OpenAI. The author reviewed, edited, and revised the draft language to their satisfaction and is fully responsible for the content of this publication.

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