You don’t have to travel across Iowa on a bicycle to experience all that the 49th edition (2022) RAGBRAI overnight towns have to offer. Grab your friends and family to experience the only-in-Iowa wonders across the 462 miles from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River.
DAY 1: SERGEANT BLUFF
- Place to Eat: Mateo Kitchen and Catering features authentic Filipino American (Fil-Am) food. Lots of great options for both those already familiar with Filipino food and those who are willing to try something new. Large proportions of the creative cuisine will fill everyone’s bellies.
- Must See: Take a step back in time to encounter the unique exhibits of the Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation that tell the exciting story of aviation and transportation. Explore a full-size aircraft, bicycles, vintage automobiles, a Vietnam Huey helicopter, and even a Boeing 727-200! The museum is the most complete tribute to United Airlines Flight 232.
- Claim to Fame: Sergeant Bluff was named in honor of U.S. Army Sergeant Charles Floyd, a native of Kentucky who was one of the first men to enlist in the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800s. He was the only individual to pass away during the expedition.
- Unique Shopping: Flippin’ Vintage Boutiques & Thrift is home to many small business vendors providing an outlet for your shopping habits. So many handmade pieces from clothing to jewelry to home décor and everything in between.
- Photo Op Spot: The Sergeant Floyd Monument commemorates Sergeant Charles Floyd, Jr. Today, part of a 23-acre park, a 100-foot obelisk of heavy Kettle River sandstone marks the final resting place of Sergeant Floyd. It was the country’s first National Historic Landmark erected in 1901.
- Place to Stay: The Airview Airbnb is a beautifully remodeled “home away from home” featuring three bedrooms and all the amenities needed to complement your trip to the Siouxland area.
DAY 2: IDA GROVE
- Place to Eat: Zimmy’s Bar and Grille Ida Grove is family friendly with a large menu and full service bar. Stop in for a sweet jalapeño bacon cheeseburger or a huge rack of ribs. Or you can satisfy your breakfast cravings every day until 5 PM!
- Must See: The Ida Grove King Theatre reopened the magic in the fall of 2019 after a large multi-year renovation project after sitting inactive for many years. The big screen features new and timeless classic films.
- Claim to Fame: The City of Ida Grove is affectionally trademarked, Castle Town USA. One must make sure to not miss any of the unique 8 structures. The castles include the Airport Hanger Castle, City Entrance Castle, Golf Course Bridge, Ida Grove Golf & County Club, Ida County Courier, Lake LaJune Chalet and Hangar, Midwest Industries, and the Skate Palace.
- Unique Shopping: Selections Hometown Variety is located downtown and features a variety store of greeting cards, health and beauty supplies, stationary items, candy, fabric and crafts, gifts, toys, and even custom framing. Here you can also find your local Ida Grove merchandise to take home with you.
- Photo Op Spot: Artist Megumi Nakazawa brought to life a beautiful new mural, recently unveiled in June 2022. The mural located at Godbersen Park in downtown features the personality of Ida Grove.
- Place to Stay: Consider Super 8 Ida Grove your home base. Close to many corporate headquarters as well as Route 59, the hotel is also convenient to surrounding areas.
DAY 3: POCAHONTAS
- Place to Eat: With spectacular fries and daily lunch and dinner specials, you can’t pass up the opportunity to try a meal at Jonny B’s Pub & Grub. Your first meal here definitely won’t be the last one!
- Must See: Found at the top of Main St. and the south side of the Courthouse, the gorgeous Pocahontas County Veteran’s Memorial is an ongoing project in honor and memory of all Pocahontas County men and women who served our nation protecting our freedom. Be sure to take a moment to stop by and admire the beautiful marble craftwork of this memorial.
- Claim to Fame: The county, and subsequently the city, are named after the most famous woman in early American history, Pocahontas. In 1956 the 25-foot-tall statue of the Indian Princess was placed next to Highway 3, the longest state road in Iowa, at what was then the busy eastern entrance to town
- Unique Shopping: Fresh flowers and fun gifts are the specialty of Denise’s Flowers & Gifts. There’s a good chance you’ll find that perfect sentimental gift you’ve been searching for.
- Photo Op Spot: The 25 feet tall statue of the Indian Princess Pocahontas statue welcomes visitors and residents to town. Stop at Princess Park to see the statue along with her new teepee, beautiful murals, and a historic cabin full of Pocahontas County stories and artifacts.
- Place to Stay: Located right on Highway 3, Pocahontas Inn & Suites offers a comfort stay for all visitors. The location is in prime walking distance of Main Street and some great parks.
DAY 4: EMMETSBURG
- Place to Eat: Don Jose provides a large menu of great choices. Pair your meal with a Golden Cadillac Margarita or piña colada. Reviews highlight that the food is beyond excellent, staff is super friendly, and prices are reasonable.
- Must See: Come experience the festivities of St. Patrick’s Day. The event means coming home for the holiday, where families and friends join together for a glorious time! Each year a member of the Irish Parliament is selected to reign over the 3 day celebration designed to promote Irish dance, music, language, and history.
- Claim to Fame: Visit Iowa’s Irish Capital. Emmetsburg is an official sister city to Dublin, Ireland, and celebrates the heritage of the Emerald Isle with a festive St. Patrick’s Day celebration each March.
- Unique Shopping: Blossoming Creations designs fresh and silk florals with elegance and style to compliment any occasion and budget. At the shop you can find a special gift for anyone and any occasion. Or if you’re not finding exactly what you are looking for, something can be customized.
- Photo Op Spot: Beautiful Five Island Lake is the center-piece of Emmetsburg’s summer and winter recreation. Carved from the prairie by the departing glacier, this thousand-acre lake offers excellent summertime fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Winter offers opportunities for snowmobiling, cross country skiing, ice fishing, hockey, and skating.
- Place to Stay: The Wild Rose Casino & Hotel – Emmetsburg is one of the premier gaming facilities in the Midwest. The casino and resort offers a wide range of entertainment throughout the year, including popular entertainers and performers.
DAY 5: MASON CITY
- Place to Eat: The Northwestern Steakhouse is the “Most Iconic Steakhouse in Iowa!” Famous for their Greek-style & American steaks. Featuring aged, USDA top choice beef cooked in extra virgin olive oil, butter and a special blend of Greek seasonings that make every bite melt in your mouth.
- Must See: Perhaps one of Mason City’s most revered treasures is the collection of more than 500 marionettes and puppets created by America’s premier puppet master, Bil Baird. Some of the most recognized marionettes in the world including The Lonely Goatherd which was featured in the Academy Award-winning film The Sound of Music can be seen at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum.
- Claim to Fame: Step back in time and experience Hollywood History come to life at The Music Man Square and Willson Boyhood Home, which celebrate the life and accomplishments of Mason City native, Meredith Willson – composer of The Music Man.
- Unique Shopping: My Fair Trade presents a fair trade market featuring home decor, clothing and accessories that tell a story and offer hope. Everything is handmade and speaks of the person who made it.
- Photo Op Spot: River City Sculptures on Parade is an exciting exhibit of outdoor sculptures. The self-guided tour starts downtown and loops through the cultural crescent which includes historical architecture, art museum, public library, and The Music Man Square.
- Place to Stay: Tour the only remaining hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Historic Park Inn Hotel & City National Bank. Originally opened in 1910 as the City National Bank and Park Inn, the building now functions as a 27-room boutique hotel following its extensive restoration/rehabilitation which was completed in 2011.
DAY 6: CHARLES CITY
- Place to Eat: Grab a bite from a food truck at Tellurian Brewing while enjoying a local brew.
- Must See: ART! View multiple public art sculptures throughout town, and browse the Mooney Gallery (located in Charles City Public Library) to see prints from famous artists such as Rembrandt, Picasso, Matisse, Grant Wood, and more.
- Claim to Fame: The word “tractor” was first coined in Charles City upon the unveiling of the Hart-Parr gasoline-powered traction motor – the first production-line tractor in the U.S.
- Unique Shopping: Find unique destination shopping including the new Prologue Books & Wine – named one of Travel Iowa’s Hidden Gems, then pop across the street to Aromas Coffee for some fresh roasted coffee!
- Photo Op Spot: The cable-stay pedestrian bridge spans the Cedar River. Take in the great views on the bridge itself or from Bayou Bend Park.
- Place to Stay: R Campground is situated on 18 acres along the Cedar River with an additional 3 acre pond. The pond offers easy fishing for campers. The privately owned campground is open year round.
DAY 7: WEST UNION
- Place to Eat: China Kitchen is dedicated to providing all customers with fresh food in a friendly environment. Looking for fresh chow mein, succulent pork, or tasty Chinese donuts? China Kitchen has you covered. Stop by to discover your new favorite Chinese dish.
- Must See: The West Union Rec Center is an outdoor recreational and social gathering place. Enjoy peace and quiet of all the amenities in the 40 acres. Enjoy the view of the pond from the gazebo in the middle after crossing the hand-made bridge.
- Claim to Fame: The Barrel Drive In provides the same old fashioned curb side service since 1966 dedicated to making the most delicious burgers, sandwiches, chicken, and malts around.. Like a true old fashioned drive-in, you’ll order from a carhop and your shakes and food will be delivered right to your window.
- Unique Shopping: The West Union Hardware store is a unique shop with a little bit of everything for everyone. From gardening to antiques, plumbing and tools, even great Christmas gifts, it’s truly endless.
- Photo Op Spot: The architecture of West Union provides for many beautiful photo opportunities. Don’t miss the Fayette County Courthouse.
- Place to Stay: Housed in a historic 1890 building, Moonlight Stitching Studio & Sisters Retreat accommodates a retail store, studio, and sleeping quarters. Enjoy cozy and complete accommodations for 20 to sleep comfortably and a spacious studio to craft to your heart’s content.
DAY 8: LANSING
- Place to Eat: The Safe House Saloon has been serving up tasty pizza, great beer, and supporting local Iowa breweries since 2008. Soak in all that the beautiful little river town has to offer while dining.
- Must See: The cultural, recreational, natural, and historical significance of the Driftless Area is the primary focus of the interpretive exhibits at the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center. Featuring three levels, the building is nestled beneath limestone bluffs with scenic river views.
- Claim to Fame: The Black Hawk Bridge is among the most unusual and significant large scale cantilever truss bridges in the country, on account of its excellent historic integrity, relatively old age, increasing rarity, and unusual design. The only highway bridge over the Mississippi River in the region at the time of its completion, the bridge is historically significant for its role in the development of northeast Iowa.
- Unique Shopping: Grab a basket and browse the great deals at Horsfall’s Lansing Variety, a hometown variety store with a staff that’s always ready to help. It’s a cornucopia of stuff you need, stuff you’ve never seen, and stuff you wonder why people buy it (but they do anyways!).
- Photo Op Spot: A spectacular panoramic view of fifty miles of the beautiful Mississippi River valley rewards visitors who take the side trip up the 104-acre Mount Hosmer City Park, situated on a bluff 450 feet above the town of Lansing.
- Place to Stay: River View Inn offers four rustic themed rooms for guests. The Inn is close to dining, shopping, and many local attractions.
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