Thank you to Reedy Press for the free review copy of 100 Things to Do in Iowa Before You Die. Links are affiliate links, which means your price stays the same, but if you choose to buy through one of them, I get a tiny chunk of Amazon's profits--thanks!!
I'm so excited to tell you all about the latest book in the Reedy Press 100 Things travel guide series, 100 Things to Do in Iowa Before You Die. If you aren't familiar with the series, Reedy Press is a small Midwest publisher, based in St. Louis, and each title in their 100 Things series offers a local view of the must-see attractions in that city, area, or state, from natural wonders to museums to candy shops and more! Reedy enlists local travel experts from around the country to write these guidebooks, and I wrote the Siouxland edition!
I really think it makes the Reedy travel guide series stand apart that they find writers around the country to write each book about their own area rather than having the same person or handful of people write them about places they've never been. Sara Broers wrote the Iowa edition, and they could not have found someone better. Sara is an awesome lady from the Mason City/Clear Lake area who is literally the Midwest's loudest cheerleader in the travel industry. She is a mom and Grandma, she started the Midwest Travel Network, and she blogs at Travel with Sara, as well as a variety of other online publications! She also wrote the Iowa chapter of Midwest Road Trip Adventures! And I think her first-hand experience really shines in this book. Like, anyone can write the fact that Arnold's Park has a wooden rollercoaster, but hearing about it plus about Sara's first time on it in the 1970s adds something special and authentic to the book.
The book is divided into 5 sections:
- Food & Drink
- Music & Entertainment
- Sports & Recreation
- Culture & History
- Shopping & Fashion
She has been so many places all around the state, and I feel like we are all really lucky to get to benefit from her wisdom by reading her ultimate list of Iowa attractions in this book! Overall, I thought Sara did a really nice job of including some of the big attractions that everyone knows about, like Lake Okoboji, the Amana Colonies and the Machine Shed restaurant, but also lesser-known attractions that I'm definitely adding to my bucket list! A few places Sara mentioned in this book that I've never been but definitely want to go are:
- Maquoketa Caves in the Driftless Area of Eastern Iowa
- The Little Red Wagon toy store in the Amana Colonies
- Danish Windmill & Museum in Elkhorn, Iowa
One thing I was disappointed in however was the lack of Siouxland attractions,The only Sioux City venue in the entire book is Oscar Carl Vineyard, which is one of many on a list of Iowa vineyards & wineries, and the only Siouxland attraction with its own page is the Wells Blue Bunny Parlor in Le Mars. There are also mentions of the Orange City Tulip Festival, Archie's Waeside, and Storm Lake in various lists in the book. And while each of these attractions is well worth visiting, I feel like they are far from the only Siouxland attractions deserving of a place in a list of top 100 places to visit in Iowa. But I definitely remember from writing 100 Things to Do in Sioux City & Siouxland Before You Die how hard it is to narrow the list down, and I'm sure it was even harder to do that with an entire state's worth of spectacular places to choose from. Mostly, I'm disappointed that Siouxland tourism missed out on this chance to impress a writer and show off how much we have to offer! I hope Sara will come visit us more in the future and find some new Siouxland faves to write about in the next edition!
I definitely still think the book is worth buying and is an amazing guide to Iowa attractions overall, but if you're specifically looking for Siouxland attractions, you'll want to pair it with my book.
Where to buy:
Reedy Press released 100 Things to Do in Iowa Before You Die on May 15th, 2022, and you can buy it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at brick & mortar stores around Iowa.