Day Trip to Winterset, Iowa

Day Trip to Winterset, Iowa

I am a huge fan of day trips. It is the perfect way to explore different communities around Des Moines, Iowa. I love to discover restaurants and hidden gems all over. Winterset City Park was on this year’s Central Iowa Trek the Parks Challenge and I knew we needed to designate a day¬† for our family to wander through Winterset, Iowa.

Winterset, Iowa

Our day trip to Winterset started with a pit stop in Van Meter. It was mid-July and the sunflower field located at Badger Creek State Recreation Area was in full bloom. It was a gorgeous, sunny morning and the kids were shocked to see flowers bigger than them! After wandering the sunflower field, we jumped in the car and headed on a back road to Winterset. The drive was about 20 minutes and we had not planned for it to be so exciting but we saw a pony farm, deer, sheep and goats along the way.

Van Meter, sunflowers, Iowa

Winterset City Park is huge and there is so much to see and do. You could easily pack a lunch and spend the entire day there. We first let the children play on the playground to burn off some energy which had swings and plenty of places to climb. Of course, I forgot to snap pictures but the kids had tons of fun.

As we were walking to see one of the last covered bridges we came across the Rotary Hedge Maze. I was amazed at how large and fun the maze was. I got lost and the kids loved wandering through to find the exit. It was also a great learning moment because the kids had never seen or heard of a sundial.

Winterset, Iowa, Winterset City Park

After getting lost in the hedge maze we wandered down to the covered bridge and walked through. There was also a stone bridge nearby, the kids had fun running under and climbing.

Winterset, Iowa, Winterset City Park

After exploring the park, we hopped back into our van and made headway to the Clark Tower. There are hiking trails all around, so you can hike if you really want to. We decided to drive since it was pretty steep and we did not think the kids would make it all the way there and all the way back.

Once we arrived at the Clark Tower, the kids were so excited and Amelia referred to it as “Rapunzel’s Castle”. The kids would have spent hours and hours climbing, playing and using their imaginations if we would have let them, but we were getting hungry!

Winterset, Iowa, Winterset City Park

We headed for the old town square of Winterset. In the center of the square was the courthouse building and we wandered around until we came to Northside Cafe. They had amazing food! I had one of the best tenderloins I have ever had. Sorry no picture, I was too busy chowing down. This was the perfect place to cool off and eat some great comfort food.

NorthSide Cafe, Winterset, Iowa

Afterward, we headed to Montross Pharmacy just across the street from Northside Cafe to enjoy a shake at their soda fountain. The kids enjoyed their special dessert.

Montross Pharmacy, Winterset, Iowa

We had a wonderful time exploring some gems in Winterset, Iowa during our day trip. I highly recommend adding it to your list of things to see and do in Iowa.



Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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