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Sundown Mountain Resort

Top 8 Things To Do In Iowa in Winters (2023)

Dropping temperatures must be the reason you are sitting within the warmness of your bed. Though, instead, it is the time to cover yourself with a fluffy jacket and snow boots and get set for the snowy adventure. Although Iowa, doesn’t experience snow like the other American States, that doesn’t stop it from offering recreational opportunities. The fun quotient here knows no end from snow-sledding to cross country skiing, ice skating, and snowshoeing. Though in case your idea of a perfect winter day isn’t playing in the snow, you can sip on some hot chocolate and enjoy the warm bowl of lip-smacking local Iowan dishes.

Whether you are an indoor person or an outdoor enthusiast, a winter vacation in Iowa is an easy-going task to follow. Winter fun here basically arrives from Thanksgiving and goes all the way through the month of February. So, while December is more about Christmas festivities, January and February are primarily about Winterfest and other events. For more information, keep reading the guide below.

Top 8 Things To Do In Iowa in Winters

Here we present a list of the best and most popular things to do during winters in Iowa.

1. Go Skiing at the Sundown Mountain Resort

Winters mean snowfalls, and snowfalls mean a lot of snow adventure. And the best place for the same in Iowa definitely is the Sundown Mountain Resort. The resort is a haven for skiers and snowboarders, offering 85 scenic acres of adventure grounds. It is a true Midwest ski resort featuring two terrain parks, two mountaintop lodges, 21 scenic trails, and a vertical drop of 475 feet. The skiing trails at Sundown ensure fun for skiers of all levels and comfort. For beginners, they even provide lessons before allowing them on actual snowfields. The resort also features a kid’s park facility for younger ones between 3 years to 11 years. Once done with the snow adventure, Sundown’s Molly’s Mountaintop Coffee awaits with some warm coffee and snacks.

2. Try Some Outdoor ice skating at Terry Trueblood

Terry Trueblood is an outdoor recreation area along the Iowa River on the southern edge of Iowa City. The recreation area has a lake right in the center, offering endless options for water-based recreation. And once the weather starts getting cold, the same lake starts freezing and begins inviting ice skaters from the city and across. Terry Trueblood has one of the biggest lakes in the area; thus, the crowd here isn’t a concern generally. This frozen winter lake is also surrounded by a playground, plenty of places to sit, and a lovely snowy explorable trail. The Parkside trails also provide cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities during the winter season. Right on the recreational area is the Fin and Feather H2O, which deals in ice skating and snowshoeing rentals.

3. Attend the University of Okoboji Winter Games

When the entire Iowa starts freezing, the University of Okoboji brings in warmth with its winter games. Hosting since 1981, the residents find attending these winter games the best thing to do during winters in Iowa. The event generally arrives in the month of January. The games/ tournaments include softball, kite festival, and Chili Cook-Off. Bags tournament, polar plunge, flag football, etc. They keep adding a new activity every year, ensuring guests can have endless fun. The most appealing game among the participants is the snowmen-making competition. Each participant/group spend days trying to make up the best snowmen. Another popular name for the event is the West O Cozy, an Okoboji Winter Games beer that is also a must-try. Visitors can find this beer both on tap and in can form.

4. Experience the Frozen Fun of Amana Winterfest

Amana Winterfest is another annual winter event in Iowa. It is one of the major festivals of the Amana Colonies and arrives every year during the month of January. The most popular event of the festival is the beard contest that happens at the Market Barn. Individuals gather here to compete and show off their facial hair. At the end of the event, the one with the longest, weirdest, and most colorful beard gets the prize. Other games at the same venue include mushing, fishing wall, wreath toss, snowball toss, log sawing, etc. Further, move towards the Festhalle Barn and enjoy the Mini Golf experience. Another fun activity is the wine walk expanding into the Beverage walk. It includes both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, inviting kids and adults. Kids can also gather around the Ox Yoke Inn or visit the Millstream Brewing Co and roast your own marshmallow at the open fire.

5. Visit the Victorian Pines Christmas Tree Farm

If you are a local, then do pick your own Christmas tree in Iowa in Winters. Like any other west state, Iowa too has a tradition of Christmas Tree Farm where individuals come and pick custom trees for themselves. Similar is the Victorian Pines Christmas Tree Farm, a property of Craig and Ryan Pfantz. The farm operates from the Friday right after Thanksgiving and remains open for 10 to 15 days. It offers a wide variety of tree selections, including White Pine, Scotch Pine, Frazier Fir, and Cainan Fir. All of the trees come in different shapes and sizes and are available for open selection. Individuals visit early and mark their tree with their name cards. Later, the same individuals either come for pickup or ask to deliver the same pre-tagged Christmas trees.

6. Pay A Visit To The Mesmerizing Santa Castle

A family-appropriate activity, visiting the Santa Castle in Storm Lake is one of the most appealing things to do in Iowa these Winters. Santa Castle is a magical Christmas-time attraction located in the historic Carnegie Library, Iowa. Indeed a castle, this mesmerizing attraction calls adults and kids alike for an ultimate fun time. Inside, you will find one of North America’s largest antique and animated Christmas character displays. A visit here will introduce you to Christmas trees, Christmas figurines, Christmas lights, Christmas ornaments, Christmas trains, and Christmas animals. The castle opens from the Thanksgiving holiday and invites guests all through the Christmas Weekend. Entry here is just for a mere $5; however, the fun quotient it offers is truly priceless.

7. Visit the Pioneer Village Winter Wonderland in Iowa

The Pioneer Village Winter Wonderland is in its 30th year of festive celebration. Its Christmas village is located in the northwestern corner of Iowa in the town of Le Mars. The village comes to life during the first two weekends of December, inviting people from all across Iowa. One can reach the event at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds, 500 4th Ave NE in Le Mars, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. You can take a horse-drawn sleigh ride on a beautiful winter night during a visit here or attend the live nativity scene and musical performances. Walking across the village, you will come across 50 to 70 beautifully decorated and lit-up Christmas trees. The event also has so much to eat and shop back. The Pioneer Village Winter Wonderland Christmas village offers absolutely free visits and is open for all.

8. Observe the illuminating beauty at the Clinton’s Symphony of Lights

Clinton’s Symphony of Lights is a winter holiday festival organizing since the year 1993. This holiday event offers gorgeous winter beauty while the visitors drive through. The presentation here basically features over 40 lighted displays and over a half-million supporting lights behind them. In addition, there are castles, streams, supporting lights, and a gingerbread lodge. All of this fills a 1.1 miles loop within the Eagle Point Park in Clinton right off Highway 67 North. The Clinton Symphony of Lights event organizes from Thanksgiving all through the 30th of December. The admission price goes $2/person for vehicles over 10 persons and $8/car (up to 10 persons). It is also one of the very few places to catch such attraction in Iowa, thus a must-visit.

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