The 10 Best Retirement Activities in Iowa!

Retirement is here. If you’re asking yourself, “Now what?” we’re here to help out. Whether your post-work interests are practicing your swing at the local golf club or if you’re looking to join an animal rescue league, there’s something in the state for you. To fill out your retirement itinerary, start with these 10 awesome activities.  

1. Harvester Golf Club, Rhodes, IA

There are plenty of great golf courses to spend your retirement time at in Iowa, but if you want to consistently practice your short game at the state’s best-ranked golf course, Harvester Golf Club is right for you. Harvester is a nationally-recognized golf course situated squarely in the small town of Rhodes, and this championship level 72-par course delivers when it comes to lush landscapes, well-manicured playing spaces and the epitome of a great golf game. 

A couple of Bearcats with the papa bear celebrating Father's Day. #bearcats #golf #fathersday #family

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2. Backbone State Park, Dundee, IA

To get back in touch with the natural side of things, it’s recommended to stay active and check out one of the many state parks found throughout Iowa. For a guaranteed aesthetically pleasing time no matter the year, Backbone State Park on the eastern side of the state never fails to provide the views. Serving as Iowa’s oldest state park, Backbone has plenty of great places to pitch a tent and soak in the surroundings for a few days or more. 

3. Hobby Haven, Urbandale, IA

If you find yourself with an excess of welcomed spare time, Hobby Haven in Urbandale can help you fill in the gaps. Featuring metal detectors, model kits and everything you need to build an epic model train landscape and locomotive, hours can be spent just deciding what hobby to pick up. Once a decision has been made, the good people at the locally-owned Hobby Haven can help pick out the perfect tools and supplies to make your hobby last a lifetime. 

4. Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, IA

While most of the working force only gets to enjoy the Iowa State Fair for a single day or long weekend, as a flourishing retirement specialist, why not make the week out of it. There are plenty of activities, shows and places to eat at the Iowa State Fair to fill up the entire 11 days it encompasses, and throw in all the people watching into the mix and nothing else compares to the Iowa State Fair. Book at stay at the Fair’s campgrounds or in the surrounding city of Des Moines, and you can get a real taste of what the Iowa State Fair is all about. 

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5. Antique Car Show, Walnut, IA

If you enjoy antiques, the city of Walnut is right for you. Throughout the year, Walnut is well-known for their many antique shops, celebrations and burgeoning community of antique enthusiasts. Come the first Sunday in August each year, Walnut takes their antique reputation to the streets with an antique car show. Check out the all the excitement and waxed up rides for a full day of fun.  

6. Des Moines Marathon, Des Moines, IA

Standing as one of Iowa’s premiere running events, the Des Moines Marathon is no easy task retired or not. It takes months, if not years, for anyone to step up to the starting line and feel ready to run for 26.2 miles, and as it turns out, it’s that training for the event that is half the fun and most challenging part about running the Des Moines Marathon. Even if 26.2 is never a number you’d want to get, running and staying active is one retirement activity that pays back out with high dividends. 

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7. National Balloon Classic, Indianola, IA

Once you retire you might as well stark marking the calendar up with unique places to travel to across the state. One big red circle that should be found somewhere between the last and first weeks of July and August is the National Balloon Classic in Indianola. Featuring hundreds of hot-air balloons, plenty of people, and typically beautiful Iowa weather, the National Balloon Classic can really give you something to look forward to. 

8. Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Des Moines, IA

The Animal Rescue League is the state’s largest nonprofit animal shelter, and the number of pets they put into new homes reaches well into the thousands each year. The Animal Rescue League relies heavily on volunteers who give their time to help their furry customers. Wherever your passions lie, whether it’s adopted animals or not, volunteering with any organization important to you can really serve a purpose for your own retirement and for the community that you belong. 

GREAT NEWS: Remember Blue, the dog who came to us back in July with raw, inflamed skin and painful sores all over his body? After weeks of treatment at the ARL and several more weeks of recovery in a foster home, he is looking and feeling great! And the best news of all, his foster family, who had quickly fallen in love with him, decided to ADOPT him yesterday! Thank you to all who contributed to our Miracle Medical Fund to help care for Blue and other dogs like him who need medical help. You truly are changing lives! (See our original post about Blue at Please join us in congratulating Blue and his new family! #newbeginnings #changinglives #teamblue #arliowa #dogs #dogsofinstagram

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9. Orchestra Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA

Why not kick your feet back in retirement and enjoy some great music? Orchestra Iowa plays all across Iowa at the state’s top venues, but perhaps one of the greatest places to hear the music is at their honorary home theater in Cedar Rapids, the Paramount Theater. With an aesthetic appeal of a historic theater, accompanied by the gorgeous music of Iowa’s top performers, and you’ll be living the good life with Orchestra Iowa. 


Serving as a moving community on bike wheels, the Registers Annual Great Race Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) is perhaps the state’s biggest adventure. If you have not made your way to at least a day of RAGBRAI before retirement, the time to check it out is now. Taking place each July, whether you hop on RAGBRAI for just a handful of miles, maybe only an evening of entertainment or the entire ride, this is one activity everyone from Iowa needs to experience once in their life retired or not.  

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