The website WorldAtlas has compiled a list of unique and offbeat communities in the state of Iowa. With the weather set to warm in a matter of weeks, and spring and summer road trips being planned, any of these towns would make a delightful road trip.

A couple of these I've visited myself and will include some of my own anecdotes too! For starters, however, the first town/community World Atlas notes is one that gets a lot of love in the Hawkeye State thanks to its rolling farmlands and amazingly scenic beauty.

The Amana Colonies:

Located in east-central Iowa, the Amana Colonies are a popular vacation destination for many. As Wikipedia notes, The villages were built and settled by German Radical Pietists, who were persecuted in their homeland by the German state government. This gives them a distinctive German look and feel that is almost impossibly rare in Iowa along with other parts of the Midwest:

The Amana Colonies are part of a series of German-style villages, which include Amana, East Amana, West Amana, South Amana, High Amana, Middle Amana, and Homestead. The amalgamized village is approximately 30 minutes from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. As one of the most unique towns in Iowa, Visitors can learn all about the Amana Colonies' close German heritage and Pietist culture at the Amana Heritage Society - per WorldAtlas

John McGivern did a fantastic episode on the Amana Colonies for his PBS show Main Streets. You can view the episode in its entirety on YouTube.

McGregor, Iowa:

Captain Robert Vavra of the Maiden Voyage Boat Tours in McGregor, IA. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
Captain Robert Vavra of the Maiden Voyage Boat Tours in McGregor, IA. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski

I've had the pleasure of visiting McGregor, IA shortly after I moved to Dubuque. My good friend found a boat tour he wanted to take on the Mississippi River that was headquartered in McGregor. Think of the town as a saltier Galena, IL with a number of quaint shops and eateries. It was even where the Ringling Bros. got their start!

We took a tour of the Mississippi via Maiden Voyage Boat Tours and ate a late lunch/early dinner at a cozy restaurant called Backwoods, which combined saloon-style architecture with that of a bed-and-breakfast. The area offers unbeatable views of the Driftless Area as well as Pikes Peak State Park:

Besides the panoramic vistas of steep bluffs and magnificent hills, McGregor also boasts the McGregor Historical Museum, where visitors can learn how the town prospered from a small ferry boat landing to a major shipping depot. In the museum, one can also view historical art exhibits like Margery Goergen's hand-colored photographs, Andrew Clemens' sand bottles, and Emma Big Bear's baskets. Remember to find accommodations at the American House, Backwoods Hotel, or Little Switzerland. - per WorldAtlas

Dyersville, IA:

Photo Credit: Matthew Reaves, Getty Images
Photo Credit: Matthew Reaves, Getty Images

Dyersville, IA needs no introduction for Dubuque and Tri-Staters alike. The town is already permanently etched into history thanks to the Field of Dreams. Baseball and movie enthusiasts alike flock to the Field of Dreams every single year, and the annual MLB games have only skyrocketed its popularity. But there are other things to do and explore in Dyersville:

Outside of movie references, Dyersville also holds the National Farm Toy Museum, which showcases the Ertl Company's famous scale-modeled farm tractors and other toys. In addition, the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier is large enough to hold 1,000 people for Catholic communion. If you intend to stay a while in this atmospheric town, then get comfortable at Comfort Inn Dyersville or Colonial Inn Dyersville. - per WorldAtlas

Pella, IA:

Beyond being named one of Iowa's safest cities, Pella, IA is one of the most eclectic towns in Iowa. It's unlike any other. A Dutch-style community near Lake Red Rock (about 40 miles from Des Moines), it's an easy way to immerse yourself in Dutch culture. Whether you want to gather a sense of being in the Netherlands, or show up for the Tulip Time celebration in May, Pella has an abundance of opportunities to delight you:

To honor its Dutch heritage, Pella celebrates Tulip Time during May 2 – 4, a festival promoting beautiful tulip gardens and Dutch costumes and dancing. The town also sponsors the Lake Red Rock Balloonfest and Klompen Classic 5K Run/Walk. Should you get exhausted from all the activities, relax at the Amsterdam Hotel or Dwelling Place. - per WorldAtlas

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See more offbeat and unique towns in Iowa on WorldAtlas' website. See some additional photos of McGregor, IA below too!

Maiden Voyage Boat Tour in Marquette, IA

A collection of photos of a scenic boat tour in Marquette, IA

Gallery Credit: Steve Pulaski

Photos: Palisades-Kepler State Park

Take a hike through Palisades-Kepler State Park, just outside of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Gallery Credit: Tom Ehlers

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