Dodge the Ordinary | 7 Ways to Experience Fort Dodge, Iowa

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Dodge the Ordinary | 7 Ways to Experience Fort Dodge, Iowa

The Midwest state of Iowa offers so many unique experiences and fun adventures. If you are not from here, you may not be aware of all the amazing potential. I have lived in Iowa the majority of my life and just about an hour north of Des Moines is Fort Dodge, Iowa. When families think of a fun family getaway Fort Dodge probably does not come to mind. I am here to change that!

A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to spend a few days with the Fort Dodge Convention Visitors Bureau. I discovered that Fort Dodge, Iowa is super fun and not your ordinary family destination. If you are looking for a solo or family getaway full of outdoor adventures Fort Dodge is the place to visit!

Brookstone Inn & Suites

First thing is first! You need somewhere safe, clean, and cozy to sleep when you make your visit to Fort Dodge and Brookstone Inn & Suites offers all the above. Brookstone offers spacious rooms, comfortable beds, complimentary breakfast, wine and beer bar, and more. My favorite service they offer is a complimentary shuttle to anywhere in the Fort Dodge area. Just phone the front desk about 30 minutes beforehand. Once I arrived at Brookstone, I did not have to worry about driving to any of my destinations. This is an amazing service they offer, FREE!

In addition, Brookstone offers some great packages including a Stay & Play Package which includes your stay at Brookstone, and passes to play at Fort Frenzy directly next to the hotel. All the packages are super affordable!

Fort Dodge Grain Silo

Fort Dodge takes great pride in its artwork and as you explore their city you will notice artwork all over. You will find artwork on trash cans, several pianos around the area, unique statues, a Freedom Rock, and most famous the Fort Dodge Grain Silo.

The Fort Dodge Grain Silo was completed in 2018 and is the largest mural in the state of Iowa. Pictures do not do it justice! This grain silo sits 110-feet tall and was created by international artist, Guido Van Helten. This 360-degree concrete mural honors local residents who are part of the industrial and cultural fabric of the Fort Dodge community. Take some time to walk around the silos, bring a picnic, and take it all in!

Fort Frenzy

Fort Frenzy is every child and adult’s dream come true. This giant family event center offers hours and hours of fun for all ages. Fort Frenzy offers an arcade, outdoor go-karts, laser tag, mini bowling, mini-golf, spin zone, valojump, and tons more! You can enjoy all the fun indoors and outdoors. Make sure you keep your eyes on their website as they regularly offer concerts and other fun events too.

Lizard Creek Mountain Bike Trails

There are no mountains in Iowa?! The Fort Dodge Mountain Bike Club has donated hours of sweat and time into creating a fun mountain biking experience in Fort Dodge, Iowa. As someone who had never gone mountain biking before, it was definitely a thrilling and fun experience. The Lizard Creek Mountain Bike Trails runs right along Lizard Creek and offer beautiful views while during a thrilling adventure. There are three different levels of trails so every skill level is able to experience this fun outdoor adventure.

Bring your mountain bike and check out the trails yourself or reach out to Walker’s Bike Shop to rent a bike and have someone help lead you through the trails. The members of the Fort Dodge Mountain Bike Club are so kind and excited to introduce you to this fun experience.

Kayaking at Dolliver State Park

Dolliver State Park is one of our family’s favorite Iowa State Parks. If you do not want to stay in a hotel while visiting Fort Dodge, you can camp at Dolliver State Park which is just a few miles south of the city. This park offers so many fun things to see and do including kayaking! The Des Moines River Water Trail runs through Dolliver State Park and provides beautiful and calm scenery as you float down the river. If you have questions about kayaks, Dolliver State Park, or the Des Moines River Water Trail reach out to Webster County Conservation. They are super helpful!

Fishing at Brushy Creek State Recreation Area

Brushy Creek State Recreation Area is one of Iowa’s largest public outdoor recreation areas, with a unique history. This area offers so many great activities including a public swimming beach, boating, camping, equestrian trails, native prairie, and fishing. Fishing at Brushy Creek is very popular due to the large range of fish available to catch which include Black Crappie, Bluegill, Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Walleye, and more.

One unique thing you will notice as you explore Brushy Creek is the large trees within the lake. This makes it a great habitat for fish, that is why fishing is so popular.

Gypsum City OHV Park

Gypsum City OHV Park is such a fun place with a fun story behind it. Fort Dodge has a long history of gypsum production. Many companies in the area used the land to dig up gypsum and then left it. This land became unused with many trespassers who use it for ATVs and other off-road motorcycles. Volunteers, the Iowa DNR, and Webster County Conservation raised money and came together to create this giant OHV Park. The OHV park is about 800 acres and includes 60 miles of trails for use by ATVs, side by sides, and off-road motorcycles. They do not offer vehicles to rent, but you can bring your own off-road vehicles to use the trails.

In addition, they offer a few unique cabins with beautiful views of the grounds. One has a fun bunk-bed perfect for families!

Camp WaNoKi

Camp WaNoKi brought me all the Girl Scouts vibes. This 77-acre land is located on the Des Moines River and once was Camp Fire Camp. This beautiful land is now the property of Webster County Conservation Board and they have done an amazing job creating unique experiences for the public. The area offers a large shelter for rent, one primitive camping cabin, and two primitive hike-in campsites. The public is encouraged to come and hike the beautiful trails. There is also a fun challenge course that includes archery, ax throwing, and other fun challenges. If you are interested in ax throwing, etc. reach out to the Webster County Conservation Board.

Food + Drink

Food and drink are important! We love to try new, local restaurants and breweries when we travel and Fort Dodge has some great places to check out.

  1. Amigos Bar & Restaurant is situated right on the river across from the Mural Grain Silos.
  2. Hacienda Vieja Fort Dodge is a great spot if you love authentic mexican food.
  3. Gaga & Hoo offers amazing Korean food and fun atmosphere.
  4. Shiny Top Brewing has tasty beers and is known for their pizza.
  5. Ja-Mar Drive In offers all the classic diner vibes. Perfect for breakfast!
  6. The Dariette is THE place to go for ice cream!
  7. Buford’s offers steak, BBQ, seafood, and more.
  8. Soldier Creek Winery offers delicious Iowa wines with a fun story.
  9. Tom Thumb Drive In is where everyone knows everyone in town. A fun diner with delicious food.
  10. Mineral City Mill and Grill is your classic American restaurant that offers everything from salads to burgers.
  11. River Hops Brewing offer several brews for any craft beer lover.

Make sure you follow Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau to stay up to date on everything happening in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and how YOU can dodge the ordinary.

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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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