9 Top-Rated Resorts in Iowa
From the Iowa Great Lakes in the northwest to the Mississippi River on the eastern border, the state of Iowa has many relaxing resorts to choose from. Ideal for extended family vacations or quick weekend escapes, resorts in Iowa entice visitors with massive water parks, golf courses, stress-relieving spas, and plenty of opportunity to sit back and relax. Places like the Hotel Renovo near the state capital of Des Moines are a great place to take in tranquil surroundings, and the various water parks, like the 25,000-square-foot indoor park at Grand Harbor, are enough to tire out even the most energetic adolescent. All the top resorts in Iowa also feature in-house dining, making each location the first and last stop for a great Iowa vacation. For ideas on the best place to stay, see our list of the top resorts in Iowa.
1 Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark
With a picturesque location in the Port of Dubuque, overlooking both the historic downtown district and the Mississippi River, this resort and play space is perfect for the whole family. One of the biggest appeals of Grand Harbor is its 25,000-square foot indoor waterpark. Other amenities include clean and comfortable rooms; a fitness center; and the attached Tony Roma's restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Standard rooms and spacious suites are available at Grand Harbor, and all have a modern feel with stylish furnishings. Special packages are available through the resort to expand your vacation and time spent in Dubuque.
Address: 350 Bell Street, Dubuque, Iowa
Accommodation: Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark
2 King's Pointe Waterpark Resort
Near the shores of Storm Lake in northwest Iowa, this full-service resort features a massive indoor and outdoor waterpark complete with waterslides, kiddie fortresses, lazy rivers, rock climbing, and zero-depth entry pools. King's Pointe also encompasses a nine-hole golf course across the street, waterfront views at the Regatta Grille, and the elaborately themed Pirate's Pointe mini-golf course. Other amenities at the resort include a lighthouse and beach area, a 24/7 business center, and guided fishing services. Overnight accommodations range from standard rooms to suites, as well as Sunrise Cottages with private patios, fully stocked living spaces, and an ability to sleep up to eight people.
Address: 1520 E Lakeshore Drive, Storm Lake, Iowa
Accommodation: King's Pointe Waterpark Resort
3 Honey Creek Resort State Park
Overlooking Rathbun Lake in southern Iowa, Honey Creek Resort and the nearby Honey Creek State Park are both operated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Lodge rooms, cottages, and camping are available through the resort, and activities like boating, biking, and hanging out on the beach are popular with each stay. The resort has kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, beach volleyball, and fishing gear available for all guests, as well as a variety of mountain, road, and tandem bicycles.
The 18-hole The Preserve at Rathbun Lake golf course is also part of the facility and Stay-and-Play packages are available. Other fun outlets for the whole family include the Buccaneer Bay Indoor Waterpark, naturalist programs in the state park, and waterfront meals at the Rathbun Lakeshore Grille. Comfortable accommodations are available in the winter, and activities like sledding and ice skating are popular at that time.
Address: 12633 Resort Drive, Moravia, Iowa
Accommodation: Honey Creek Resort State Park
4 Bridges Bay Resort
To enjoy the most out of a Lake Okoboji vacation in Iowa, Bridges Bay Resort provides everything to keep the whole family entertained. Alongside easy lake access, this massive property hosts three different waterfront restaurants, an indoor water park, and a high-flying zipline. Live entertainment can be found throughout the summer on the property's beach, and the on-site, fully stocked, private fishing pond can usually guarantee a bite. Overnight accommodations include waterfront rooms and condos, as well as vacation cabin rentals. For boat owners, Bridges Bay also offers boat hoist rental space for guests and the public. Less than a five-minute drive from Bridges Bay, Arnolds Park Amusement Park can add some extra fun to any stay.
Address: 630 Linden Drive, Arnolds Park, Iowa
Accommodation: Bridges Bay Resort
5 Hotel Renovo
Next door to the interactive Living History Farms museum in Urbandale, and less than 20 minutes from downtown Des Moines, this modern and upscale boutique farmhouse goes well beyond any ordinary hotel visit. Designed with a minimalist approach to match the tranquil surroundings, all 102 guestrooms and suites come with granite vanities; crisp, white linens; and modern decor. The indoor pool at Renovo is well-lit and well-kept, but one of the most popular outlets to enjoy is the expansive porch and outdoor sitting area complete with ornamental fire pits. Breakfast is served each morning, and the Renovo kitchen offers all sorts of fare throughout the day. The award-winning The Machine Shed restaurant is also within walking distance.
Address: 11167 Hickman Road, Urbandale, Iowa
Accommodation: Hotel Renovo
6 The Hotel at Kirkwood Center
Just south of the Cedar Rapids downtown district, and 20 minutes from the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, The Hotel at Kirkwood Center distinguishes itself with a chic design, superior service, and many resort-like amenities. The hotel is on the grounds of Kirkwood Community College, and much of the staff is made up of students experientially learning about the hospitality industry. Student, faculty, and local art can be found throughout the sunlit facility, and the comfortable lobby and reception area encourages time spent simply enjoying the surroundings.
The Class Act restaurant is located off the lobby and serves up a variety of fresh-ingredient meals throughout the day. Upscale accommodations are available at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, including executive and presidential suites with plenty of space. It is the service that adds to the luster of this four-diamond hotel though, and around every corner it's easy to find someone to help you enjoy your stay.
Address: 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Accommodation: The Hotel at Kirkwood Center
7 Hotel Blackhawk, Autograph Collection
A historic hotel near the Mississippi River, Hotel Blackhawk has stood tall in the Quad Cities for more than 100 years. After 2010 renovations to the facility, the hotel acquired a modern edge and regained its status as one of the most luxurious places to stay in Iowa. Alongside the contemporary decor and historic building, this four-diamond luxury boutique hotel also features the Spa at Hotel Blackhawk and the Blackhawk Bowl Bowling Alley. Standard and deluxe rooms are available, as well as one- and two-bedroom suites complete with a full kitchen. All rooms feature comfortable furniture and unique decoration, and many give great views of the Mississippi River or downtown Davenport.
Address: 200 E 3rd Street, Davenport, Iowa
Accommodation: Hotel Blackhawk, Autograph Collection
8 Hotel Julien Dubuque
Located in the Old Main District of Dubuque, this boutique hotel is popular with nearby residents and world travelers alike. The historic aura of the Hotel Julien blends nicely with the modern amenities found throughout the facility, including the tastefully decorated rooms, well-lit indoor pool, and decadent lobby and reception area. The Potosa Spa is located on the lower level of the hotel and can add professional pampering services to any visit.
While room service is available for all meals of the day, guests are also encouraged to check out the on-site, American-inspired Caroline's Restaurant for some local flavor. Hotel Julien offers more than 130 guestrooms and suites, including the Capone Suite, which references the famous prohibition gangster's ties to the hotel and offers two large bedrooms with comfortable additional living space.
Address: 200 Main Street, Dubuque, Iowa
Accommodation: Hotel Julien Dubuque
9 The Current Iowa, Autograph Collection
Near the Hotel Blackhawk and part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, this boutique hotel provides a unique stay with luxurious accommodations. Featuring original artwork in every room and throughout the facility, The Current exudes a creative and classy tone that enhances any overnight stay or extended visit. Nearly 50 rooms and 30 suites are available, including two-bedroom suites with 11,000 square feet of space. The in-house Viva Baja/Mexican restaurant and the rooftop UP restaurant are popular places to eat, and the hotel's downtown location lends access to a variety of restaurants in the area. For those looking to combine business with pleasure, The Current also features a full-service, staffed business center.
Address: 215 N Main Street, Davenport, Iowa
Accommodation: The Current Iowa, Autograph Collection