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6 Heart-Pounding Adventures To Try In Iowa This Winter

When snow covers the ground, Iowa becomes a winter wonderland for outdoorsy families. With the right apparel and a sense of adventure, you can have a lot of fun exploring the state. Some of my family’s favorite memories have taken place during winter getaways in Iowa!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Iowa Tourism. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

Kim on skis at Seven Oaks Recreation in Boone, Iowa

Downhill skiing and snowboarding

One trip down even a slop at Seven Oaks Recreation in Boone, and you’ll realize that Iowa is very much not completely flat. In fact, I found Iowa to be the perfect destination to introduce skiing to my kids. The slopes were less crowded than typical mountain destinations and a whole lot more affordable!

Seven Oaks rents skis as well as snowboards.

Other ski resorts in Iowa include:

Cross country skiing

Head to central Iowa for well-groomed cross country ski trails. Ski rentals through Polk County Conservation at Jester Park will have you on the trails near Saylorville Lake in no time.

Kim and kids in snowshoes at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa

Snowshoeing and snowy hikes 

Snowshoe hikes are a peaceful experience, with sounds being more muffled by the blanket of snow. My first experience snowshoeing was in the Loess Hills in near Honey Creek, Iowa. My family and I had rented snowshoes at Hitchcock Nature Center.

Even a short hike is a great workout when you’re in the Loess Hills!


Be sure to bring a sled with you while you’re visiting Hitchcock Nature Center. The park’s .18-mile Chute Trail is a wicked fun sledding hill through steep ravines. It’s too much for me to handle but my kids absolutely love the adrenaline rush.

A man drags a snow tube at Seven Oak Recreation

Snow tube

Snow tube courses are a bit more different than wild sledding rides, but every bit as fun. Seven Oaks Recreation has a snow tubing hill, complete with a “tube lift” to easily get riders back up the hill. It’s pretty popular so I recommend reserving a time slot for your group in advance.

Other snow tube chutes:

A woman helps a young girl skate at Brenton Skate Plaza in Des Moines, Iowa
Photo courtesy Iowa Tourism Office

Outdoor ice skating 

Seasonal outdoor ice skating rinks dot the Iowa landscape, and one of the most well-known and popular spots is Brenton Skate Plaza in downtown Des Moines.

Other ice skating rinks:

  • The Fish House at Okoboji Boat Works on West Lake Okoboji in Iowa
  • The ice rink at Grant Park in Waukee, Iowa
  • The ice rink at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines, Iowa (skaters must provide their own skates)
  • Cone Park in Sioux City, Iowa

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