Photo: Courtesy of Whiterock Conservancy
Did the fray of the start of school leave you without plans for Labor Day? Don’t fret.
- There are plenty of fun places within a short driving distance to help you disconnect from the metro next weekend.
Driving the news: We recently asked our readers to share some of their favorite spots in Iowa within a two-hour drive. Below are some suggestions:
Whiterock is a 5,500-acre western Iowa conservancy donated by the Garst family, who spent generations farming the land and working on sustainable agriculture methods.
- Today, a nonprofit organization manages the land and continues to practice sustainable agriculture, as well as offering recreational activities, camping and educational classes to the public.
Hidden gems: It’s one of the darkest places in the state to go stargazing, staff member Misty Conrad tells Axios.
- For reader Laura Belin, Whiterock is where she looks for wildflowers to photograph because there are several different habitats.
Be smart: Tent sites are first-come, first-served, so you still have time to snag your spot.
Where: A little over one hour west of Des Moines off Highway 141.
- Clear Lake’s most known for being the home of the Surf Ballroom — the last place Buddy Holly played before he died in a plane crash the next day, or “The Day the Music Died.”
- If you’re into shopping, reader Tracy Lepeltak recommends stopping by Main Avenue where there are some “unique, funky stores” and good restaurants.
Where: About 100 minutes north of Des Moines off 1-35 North.
In this scenic Dutch town of a little over 10,000 people, even the Walmart is painted green and old-timey.
Hidden gems: You may have already visited the must-stop shops during Tulip Time, but there’s plenty to see just outside town, according to reader Susan Miller.
Plus: A good spot to stay overnight is the Royal Amsterdam Hotel on the canal, says reader BJ Stokesbary.
Where: 50 minutes southeast of Des Moines off IA-163 East.