There are plenty of things to do in North Iowa for a short day trip, and the region's towns offer a lot of entertainment. Here are a few ideas.
Explore Mason City and Clear Lake for a day (or two)
Each city warrants its own day trip.
In Mason City, stop by The Music Man Square, The Stockman House, The Historic Park Inn, Central Park are the top places to stop.
Taek in a race at Mason City Motor Speedway while you’re here.
Stroll through East Park and check out Cannonball 457. Like art and history? Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, Kinney Pioneer Museum, Meredith Willson Boyhood Home and Prairie School Architectural Tour are the places for you.
This summer in Mason City, take in some food and music at North Iowa Band Festival, Up in Smoke BBQ Bash, North Iowa Fair and Great River City Festival.
Clear Lake has more than enough to do for a day.
Catch a show at the historic Surf Ballroom or just stop in for a tour to browse the music memorabilia.
Tan by Clear Lake or take a boat tour with Lady of the Lake on the water. The Lake Theater is a great place to watch a movie.
The Iowa Trolley Park Railroad Museum, Buddy Holly Crash Site, Clear Lake Arts Center, Clear Lake Fire Museum and more are good for all ages.
The Fourth of July and Blues, Bikes and BBQ are great summer festivals with entertainment and more.
North: Northwood and Lake Mills
In Northwood, stop in for a drink at Worth Brewing Company and then take a stroll down Historic Main Street. Browse the Historical Society Museums.
Drive out to Lake Mills to see the 1901 Victorian House & Gardens, the “Promise of America” sculpture resting in a natural prairie, and unique downtown businesses.
Try your luck at Diamond Jo Casino before you leave.
Northwood also boasts a Fourth of July Celebration and Founders Day this summer. Lake Mills will have July Jubilee this summer as well.
South: Hampton, Belmond and Lake Cornelia
Take a short drive to Hampton for good food and craft beer. Check out Memorial Hall, a Civil War monument on the National Historic Register. Stop by the Franklin County Historic Museum, and Franklin County Courthouse, which is on the National Historic Register.
Summerfest/Car Show, Tuesday on the Town and the Franklin County Fair will be held this summer.
Head to the Belmond Museum, Outdoor Classroom, The Children's Garden and then take in a film at The New Lyric Theater.
Belmond also has a Fourth of July parade.
East: Charles City. St. Ansgar and Osage
Take a day in Charles City along the Cedar River.
Central Park-North Main Street Historic District, Cook Farm, A.B.C. Dodd House, Dr. Salsbury's Laboratories, Main Office and Production Laboratory Building and more are registered historic places.
Floyd County Court House, Charles Walter Hart House, Lucius and Maria Clinton Lane House, Main Street Bridge, Alvin Miller House, Charles Henry Parr House, Sherman Nursery Company Historic District, Spotts Round Barn and Wildwood Park Historic District are worth taking a look at for a tour of historic buildings.
Try your luck on the whitewater course at Charles City Whitewater.
The city hosts the Charles City Challenge whitewater event and Fourth of July Celebration.
For another day, try Osage and St. Ansgar.
In St. Ansgar, check out the Veteran’s Memorial Park, Freedom Rock and First Lutheran Church, the oldest Lutheran Church in continuous use west of the Mississippi River which is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Each summer the town hosts Oatmeal Days and the Herb Festival.
Mitchell County Historical Society has many historic items to view. In the evening, take in a film at the Watts Theater in Osage.
Osage hosts Independence Day Parade and BRAM.
West: Forest City and Britt
In Forest City, check out Heritage Park and Pilot Knob State Park located a few miles east for a hike.
The city brings in Tree Town Music Festival and Puckerbrush for the summer.
Drive down to Britt for the National Hobo Museum, Armstrong House, Ag Museum, Veterans Memorial park and painted rock.
This summer Britt will have Hobo Days, Britt Draft Horse Show and the Hancock County Fair.
Go a little further
The location between Des Moines and Minneapolis gives North Iowa residents an opportunity to enjoy big-city entertainment, shopping and more.
It’s a short drive on Interstate 35 south to Des Moines and the Wells Fargo Arena for concerts, events or and Iowa Wild hockey game. The state capitol also hosts the Iowa State Fair.
Heading north, North Iowa residents can take in professional sports with the Minnesota Twins or Vikings, or get lost at Mall of America.
For art lovers, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is one of the five largest modern art museums in the country.