Friday, January 27, 2012

Escape the indoors and enjoy a healthy dose of fresh air – Iowa’s outdoor options await.

Have you resolved to be more active in 2012? Get outside and get moving at one of Iowa’s ski areas, parks, or multi-use trails. Seek solitude on a snowshoe trail through the woods. Warm up with a group of friends at fun winter festival. Planned or spontaneous, a day in the Iowa outdoors will invigorate you.

Seven Oaks Recreation, near Boone in Central Iowa, offers winter activities for all ages and abilities, including skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. With 11 runs, even beginners can learn quickly. The Lodge at Seven Oaks provides an indoor view of the slopes while you enjoy food and drink.

Sleepy Hollow, Des Moines' only ski resort, offers skiing and snowboarding, along with multiple lanes for tubing. It’s a great urban escape for the whole family, and a top choice for group outings.

From Sundown Mountain Resort’s two lodges, skiers can pause to take in quite a view - 100 square miles of scenery. With one of the highest lifts in the midwest, Sundown Mountain has long been a destination for winter adventurers from three states.

No special equipment is needed to wander Iowa’s trails and hiking paths. Most of Iowa’s state parks have multi-use trails that are available for cross-country skiing when there’s snow, or hiking when there isn’t. For example, Brushy Creek State Recreation Area near Fort Dodge in north central Iowa offers 50 miles of trails! Pikes Peak near McGregor offers three miles of ski trails and many more miles of hiking trails, with spectacular views of the Mississippi River valley. 

The Iowa Natural Heritage foundation’s comprehensive guide to Iowa’s trails can point you in the right direction for longer trails. Iowa’s county park system is extensive, offering all types of outdoor recreation in all corners of the state.

Plan the perfect winter getaway at Honey Creek Resort State Park on Rathbun Lake in southern Iowa. Choose an upscale cottage, or stay in the main lodge – special packages are always available. Families will love the indoor waterpark, while couples and friends will appreciate the fine dining and the opportunity to schedule spa services. Miles of trails wind through the woods along the lake.

Here’s one resolution that’s easy to keep –explore more of Iowa’s destinations and attractions with family and friends this year. Your first step is to visit http://www.traveliowa.com/ for a look at everything Iowa has to offer. Flip through the pages of our digital Travel Guide or order your own free copy.

Kathy Bowermaster, Iowa Tourism Office

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