From the Iowa Great Lakes in the northwest to the Mississippi River on the eastern border, the state of Iowa has many relaxing resorts to choose from. Ideal for extended family vacations or quick weekend escapes, Iowa resorts entice visitors with massive water parks, golf courses, stress-relieving spas, and plenty of opportunity to kick back and relax. Places like the Hotel Renovo near the state capital Des Moines are a great place to take in a peaceful setting, and the various water parks, like the 25,000-square-foot park at Grand Harbor, are enough to tire out even the most energetic adolescent. All of the top Iowa resorts also have their own restaurants, making each location the first and last stop for a great Iowa vacation. For ideas on the best place to stay, see our list of the top resorts in Iowa.
1 Grand Harbor Resort and Water Park
With a picturesque location in the Port of DubuqueThis resort and play area is perfect for the whole family, with views of historic downtown and the Mississippi River. One of Grand Harbor’s biggest appeals is it 25,000 square foot indoor water park. Other amenities include clean and comfortable rooms; a fitness center; and the attached Tony Roma’s restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Standard rooms and spacious suites are available at Grand Harbor, and all have a modern feel with stylish furnishings. Special packages are available through the resort to extend your vacation and time spent in Dubuque.
Address: 350 Bell Street, Dubuque, Iowa
Accommodation: Grand Harbor Resort and Water Park
Read also: top tourist attractions in Des Moines
2 King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort
Located near the shores of Storm Lake in northwest Iowa, this full-service resort features a huge indoor and outdoor water park complete with water slides, kiddie fortresses, lazy rivers, rock climbing and zero depth entry pools. King’s Pointe also includes a 9-hole golf course across the street, on the waterfront Regatta Grilleand the extended theme Pirate’s Pointe Mini Golf Course. Other resort amenities include a lighthouse and beach, a 24/7 business center and guided fishing services. Overnight accommodations range from standard rooms to suites, as well Sunrise Cottages with private terraces, well-stocked living areas and a capacity to sleep up to eight people.
Address: 1520 E Lakeshore Drive, Storm Lake, Iowa
Accommodation: King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort
3 Honey Creek Resort State Park
Looking forward Rathbun Lake in southern Iowa, Honey Creek Resort and nearby Honey Creek State Park are both managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Lodge rooms, cottages and campsites are available through the resort, and activities such as boating, biking and beach clubbing are popular with any stay. The resort has kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, beach volleyball and fishing equipment available to all guests, as well as a variety of mountain, road and tandem bicycles.
The 18 holes The Preserve at Rathbun Lake Golf Course is also part of the facility and Stay-and-Play packages are available. Other great outlets for the whole family are the Buccaneer Bay Indoor Water Parknaturalist programs at the state park, and waterfront meals at the Rathbun Lakeshore Grille. Comfortable accommodations are available in winter and activities such as tobogganing and ice skating are popular during that time.
Address: 12633 Resort Drive, Moravia, Iowa
Lodging: Honey Creek Resort State Park
4 Bridges Bay Resort
To enjoy a Lake Okoboji vacation in Iowa, Bridges Bay Resort offers everything to keep the whole family entertained. In addition to easy access to the lake, this massive property offers three different waterfront restaurants, an indoor water park, and a high-flying zipline. In summer you can enjoy live entertainment on the property’s and private beach well stocked private fishing pond can usually guarantee a bite. Overnight accommodations include rooms and apartments on the water, as well as vacation home rentals. For boat owners, Bridges Bay also offers boat lift rental spaces for guests and the public. Less than a five minute drive from Bridges Bay, Arnolds Park amusement park can add some extra fun to any stay.
Address: 630 Linden Drive, Arnolds Park, Iowa
Accommodation: Bridges Bay Resort
5 Hotel Renovo
In addition to the interactive Living History Farms museum in Urbandale, and less than 20 minutes from downtown Des Moines, this modern and luxurious boutique ranch goes far beyond any regular hotel visit. Designed with a minimalist approach to the tranquil environment, all 102 rooms and suites feature granite vanities; crisp, white linens; and modern furnishings. Renovo’s indoor pool is well-lit and well-maintained, but one of the most popular outlets for enjoyment is the expansive veranda and outdoor seating area with decorative fire pits. Breakfast is served every morning and the Renovo kitchen offers all kinds of dishes all day long. The award-winning The Machine Shed restaurant is also within walking distance.
Address: 11167 Hickman Road, Urbandale, Iowa
Accommodation: Hotel Renovo
6 The hotel at Kirkwood Center
Just south of the Cedar Rapids downtown district, and 20 minutes from the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, the Hotel at Kirkwood Center stands out with chic design, superior service and plenty of resort-like amenities. The hotel is located on the grounds of Kirkwood Community College, and a large part of the staff consists of students who learn experientially about the catering industry. Students, teachers and local art can be found in the sun-drenched facility, and the comfortable lobby and reception area invite you to enjoy the time.
The class law The restaurant is located next to the lobby and serves a variety of meals using fresh ingredients all day long. Luxury accommodations are available at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, including executive and presidential suites with plenty of space. It’s the service that adds to the shine of this four-diamond hotel and around every corner it’s easy to find someone to help you enjoy your stay.
Address: 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Accommodation: the hotel in Kirkwood Center
7 Hotel Blackhawk, Autograph Collection
Hotel Blackhawk is a historic hotel near the Mississippi River that has been in the Quad Cities for more than 100 years. After renovating the facility in 2010, the hotel acquired a modern touch and regained its status as one of the most luxurious places to stay in Iowa. In addition to the modern decor and historic building, this luxurious four-star boutique hotel also features the Spa at Hotel Blackhawk and the Blackhawk Bowl Bowling Alley. Standard and deluxe rooms are available, as well as one- and two-bedroom suites complete with a full kitchen. All rooms feature comfortable furnishings and unique décor. Many rooms offer beautiful views of the Mississippi River or downtown Davenport.
Address: 200 E 3rd Street, Davenport, Iowa
Accommodation: Hotel Blackhawk, Autograph Collection
8 Hotel Julien Dubuque
Located in Dubuque’s Old Main District, this boutique hotel is popular with local guests and world travelers. The historic feel of Hotel Julien blends beautifully with the modern amenities throughout the property, including the tastefully decorated rooms, well-lit indoor pool and decadent lobby and reception area. The Potosa Spa is located on the ground floor of the hotel and can add professional pampering to every visit.
While room service is available for all meals of the day, guests are also encouraged to check out the campsite’s American-inspired dishes Caroline’s Restaurant for a local flavour. Hotel Julien offers more than 130 rooms and suites, including the Capone Suitewhich references the famous Gangster Ban’s ties to the hotel and offers two large bedrooms with comfortable additional living space.
Address: 200 Main Street, Dubuque, Iowa
Accommodation: Hotel Julien Dubuque
9 The Current Iowa, Autograph Collection
Close to the Hotel Blackhawk and part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, this boutique hotel offers a unique stay with luxurious accommodation. With original artwork in every room and throughout the facility, The Current exudes a creative and stylish tone that will enhance any overnight stay or extended visit. Nearly 50 rooms and 30 suites are available, including 2-bedroom suites with 11,000 square feet of space. The on-site Viva Baja/Mexican restaurant and the UP rooftop restaurant are popular places to eat. The hotel’s downtown location provides access to a variety of restaurants in the area. For those who want to combine business with pleasure, The Current also has a fully equipped, staffed commercial centre.
Address: 215 N Main Street, Davenport, Iowa
Accommodation: The Current Iowa, Autograph Collection