Out of state day trip? Yes, you can!
Decorah, Iowa is only 70 miles south on Highway 52. Just a straight shot down.
It’s a beautiful drive with rolling hills and lush valleys. If the kids get antsy traveling through bluff country, a stop in Chatfield at the town square playground can break up the trip.
Decorah, situated on the Upper Iowa River, is a charming small town with options for everyone in the family. Whether you are a shopper, historian, or nature lover, you’ll find some fun.
Home to Luther College and an annual Nordic Fest, Scandinavian history abounds in this little town. A trip to the Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum, not only provides history about the Norwegian settlers to this region but also allows families to explore their own immigration story.
Water Street is Decorah’s downtown main street with locally owned shops and restaurants.
Dragonfly Books is a friendly independent bookstore, well-stocked with regional books in addition to standard bookstore fare. A cozy space in the kids’ section completes the setting.
Story People is home to the creation of Brian Andreas’ whimsical words and sketches. Stop in and see the work in progress.
Mabe’s is a downtown fixture, serving up classic pizza and Italian fare in a family-friendly setting.
Magpie, a local coffee shop, offers drinks, breakfast items and light lunch options.
Whippy Dip is the local soft-serve ice cream shop. Closed all winter, you know spring is here when the Whippy Dip opens!
Right in town you can find several parks built on bluffs, including Dunning Springs (which has a waterfall), Phelps, and Pallisades, all good options for running and playing.
Another great activity is fossil hunting. Did you know that 365 million years ago Iowa was an ocean? Spend a little time on the banks of the Upper Iowa River and you never know what you’ll find!
Just north of Decorah is Seed Savers, whose mission is to “conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.”
Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? As a self-proclaimed non-gardener, believe me, you are welcome here. It may even inspire you explore the world of gardening!
There is a visitor center, gift shop (full of amazing seeds and stories), an apple orchard, gardens, a barn, and fun events.
Seed Savers should not be missed. Wildflowers and birds abound. The trails for hiking alone are worth the stop. Miles of trails, many short, not-so-strenuous paths are great options for families with younger kids.
Who knew a town of 8,000 had so much to offer? Put Decorah on your summer bucket list now!