The state of Iowa in the American Midwest is special in many ways and is quite different from other American states. For example, the industry in Iowa does not yet play a major role; agriculture, especially corn cultivation, is important here.
According to ehotelat, Iowa is known for its vast landscapes and a lot of untouched nature. Spectacular sights and opportunities for sightseeing are less likely to be found in Iowa; rather, you can easily find the beautiful landscape there and relax and relax in nature. This is a welcome change for many visitors to Iowa, especially if you are otherwise more likely to be in the big US cities and rarely get to enjoy a forest or an open plain.
But if you visit Iowa you don’t have to do without shopping and modern shops, you can definitely find these things in the cities. Much more important in Iowa, however, are the large farms and agriculture.
There are also seldom large mountains in Iowa, the differences in altitude are very small here. Nevertheless, the landscape does not appear monotonous.
Iowa key facts
Land area: 145,743 sq km (ranked 26th of all US states)
Share of water surface: 0.71%
Population: 3.0 million people (2008 estimate, ranked 30th of all states in the USA)
Population density: 21 people per square kilometer (35th place of all states in the USA)
Member of the United States since: December 28, 1846
Capital: Des Moines (209,124 residents, 2009, metropolitan area 554,659 residents)
Largest city: Des Moines
Highest point: 509 m, Hawkeye Point
Lowest point: 146 m, Mississippi River at Keokuk
Governor: Chet Culver (Democrat)
Lieut. Governor: Patty Judge (Democrat)
Local time: CET -7 h. From the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November: CET -6 h.
The time difference to Central Europe is -7 h in both winter and summer.
Postal abbreviation: IA
Iowa Geography and Map
Iowa – in the American Midwest – stands for vast nature and huge flat plains. Contrary to the common cliché, Iowa is geographically not a large plain, but rather a hilly landscape. Loess elevations run along the western border, some of which are several 100 meters thick.
The originally predominant prairie and savannah landscape of Iowa has meanwhile given way to arable land. Around 60 percent of the state’s area is now used for agriculture, including growing grain.
Urban agglomerations like Sioux City, Cedar Rapids and Iowa’s capital Des Moines are the exception; the federal state is generally characterized by village and small town structures.
The national territory extends over a width of about 320 kilometers and has a length of 500 kilometers. With an area of approximately 145,743 square kilometers, Iowa is in 26th place in the area size comparison with the other states of the USA. Only about 1,042 square kilometers – 0.71 percent – of the state consists of water.
Naturally formed lakes – few of which are found in Iowa – include Spirit Lake, Lake Okoboji, and West Lake Okoboji in the northwest of the state, and Clear Lake in the east. In Iowa there is numerous man-made lakes. These include, for example, Lake Odessa, Saylorville Lake, Lake Red Rock, Coralville Lake, Lake McBride, and Rathbun Lake. Remnants of the once widespread wetlands can still be found in the northwestern part of the state.
The average altitude of Iowa is 335 meters above sea level. At 509 meters, Hawkeye Point is the highest point in the state, and the lowest point – at 149 meters above sea level – is on the Mississippi.
The state of Iowa is framed by rivers in two of the four cardinal directions: In the west the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River form the natural border with South Dakota and Nebraska, in the east the Mississippi River the border river to Wisconsin and Illinois.
The Big Muddy, as the Missouri River is also called because of its high mud content, is the longest river in the United States and extends over a length of 4,130 kilometers. It is the longest tributary of the Mississippi and also longer than the stream it flows into, as it has a length of 3,778 kilometers. The Missouri River is the longest river in the United States and, together with the Mississippi, forms the longest river in North America. A four70-kilometer tributary of the Missouri River and another major waterway of Iowa is the Big Sioux River. The other neighboring states of Iowa are Minnesota (in the north) and Missouri (in the south).
The climate in the US state is humid continental. The sequence of the clearly recognizable seasons is similar to that in Central Europe, but the temperature differences over the course of the year are somewhat greater. In the hottest months of July and August, temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius are not uncommon, and real heat waves are also possible.
The winters are usually frosty, due to cold air masses from Canada. Between December and February lows of up to 20 degrees below zero have to be coped with, and snow can fall by March or April.
In spring the air warms up slowly and usually reaches pleasant temperatures in May. It is milder in early autumn (September / October).
The climate in Iowa is twice as rainy as in Germany: between 1,700 and 2,000 mm annual precipitation is recorded. The greatest amounts of rain often come down in late summer.
The weather in Iowa is not free from capers: thunderstorms and hailstorms can occur, as can winter blizzards. Despite the high annual rainfall, it can dry out if the heat continues in summer. Due to the low humidity, the organism is then comparatively less stressed.
The western part of Iowa is in Tornado Alley. Tornadoes can occur here, especially in May and June, and you should definitely stay indoors. Tornadoes usually present very serious dangers when warnings are literally ignored.
Best time to visit Iowa
Pleasant, moderate temperatures can be expected when visiting the US state of Iowa in May / June and September / October, although the weather in early autumn is considered to be somewhat more stable, i.e. less unpleasant surprises in terms of rain and storms. The splendor of the autumn foliage can keep up with areas of the USA, which are far better known for it.
In winter, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are possible. Sometimes, however, the frosty and stormy regiment becomes so strong that movement within the state is restricted.
Iowa has fewer attractions compared to the other states.
However, it is worth a detour to the State Capitol of Des Moines, the state capital. The State Capitol was built between 1871 and 1886. A visit to the Iowa Historical Museum in the same city is recommended. You can learn a lot about the history of the state in the museum.
Nature lovers won’t miss out in Iowa either. So they should visit the Effigy Mounds National Monument. There are almost two hundred mound sculptures to be seen in the national park.