The daily drudge of working to feed your family while also trying to make time to actually be with the family you’re working to take care of can get exhausting. That’s why it’s so important every now and then to mix things up a little with a change of scenery.
Traveling long distances takes time and money, making it difficult to plan that much-needed getaway. But you don’t have to go far to get that much needed break when we’ve got some pretty nice places to stay nearby.
Here are five of the coolest Iowa vacation rentals for singles, couples, and families to enjoy all year round.
New Day Dairy Guest Barn, Clarksville
If you don’t have “Sleeping with Cows” on your bucket list, you better get a pen. About 10 minutes from Clarksville and 20 minutes from Waverly, you will find New Day Dairy and their three-bedroom guest barn. This space is perfect for a family getaway because it sleeps 10 and little ones will surely want to “cow gaze” all day. The loft in the barn has two large windows overlooking about 150 cows; you can only get up close on your included introductory and farewell tours.
During your stay at New Day Dairy, you’re close to the 21-mile Rolling Prairie Bike Trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Additionally, you can head into Clarksville if you don’t want to cook in the barn. The small town has a handful of diners, restaurants, and bars scattered around its historic downtown area.
Wold Farm Grain Bin, St. Olaf
If sleeping by livestock doesn’t sound exciting to you, how about sleeping in a grain bin? The Wold Farm Grain Bin has a loft with a queen bed and pullout twin ottoman in the living area on the main level, so you could sleep three. However, the space is more suited for a romantic getaway for two or a peaceful getaway for one. The renovated vintage grain bin is not loaded with amenities, but its coolness makes up for it. Guests are secluded on a gravel road, surrounded by the Iowa prairie.
The Wold Farm Grain Bin has no TV and only a microwave and minifridge, so you will definitely want to go out for meals in nearby Elkader. You will find an Irish pub, an Algerian-American restaurant, a pizza joint, a bakery, and a handful of other bars and restaurants, so you have plenty of dining options nearby. Downtown Elkader lies along the Turkey River, providing a beautiful backdrop as you stroll along the Riverwalk.
Rookery Cottage, Coon Rapids
Outdoor enthusiasts and those who really want some seclusion will have to check out the Rookery Cottage, a former flower shop built with reclaimed barn wood. Cell phone service is questionable and the internet is spotty, so a getaway to the Rookery means you need to be committed to being off the grid and enjoying an escape from normal everyday pressures.
The rustic, air-conditioned cabin, which sleeps six and has heated floors, is only a few miles from the Whiterock Conservancy, giving guests access to more than 40 miles of trails and the Middle Raccoon River. The Rookery really is a great spot for those who want to spend time on the trails, whether biking, hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing.
Stationary Houseboat, Dubuque
Readers, writers, and adventure-seekers will find staying on a stationary houseboat in the backwaters of the Mississippi River the perfect way to connect with their inner Mark Twain. Technically, the boat is on the Illinois side of the river in East Dubuque. You can’t go for a cruise, but you can enjoy the indoor and outdoor space, including a master bedroom, a bunkhouse, and an outdoor bar and furniture.
Guests also get one free hour kayak rental from the restaurant at the marina if they want to explore when the backwaters aren’t frozen during the winter months. Those who want to explore the area are close to everything Dubuque has to offer, such as its botanical gardens and multitude of dining options.
Pyramid House, Clear Lake
The 5,600 sq. ft. Pyramid House in Clear Lake is ideal for those with large families or those who want to get away with other couples or families. The house has six bedrooms, three of which are master bedrooms with king beds, two kitchens, a theater room, and a rec room. If you like the idea of staying in this uniquely designed house, but your family isn’t big enough, you can also rent out a portion of the house.
Guests can access the lake across the street at the public access and fish off the dock two houses away. If you have never visited Clear Lake, take some time out to visit “The Day the Music Died” Memorial, which pays homage to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, whose plane crashed in a nearby cornfield after a concert in 1959.
by Jessica Lee
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