4 Quirky, Iowa Roadside Attractions

The Midwest is often classified as the “flyover states” … aka states you fly over to get to your final destination. This can also be applied to road trips. You might have to drive through some Midwest counties to get to your actual destination. And while I do believe the Midwest has some unique offers that warrants them getting their own stays, I thought it would be fun to put together some attractions you can easily stop by as you make your way across the plains.

This list focuses strictly on Iowa attractions.

Growing up in eastern Nebraska, Iowa was often referred to as our rival state and I wanted to show our neighbor some love. After doing some research, I managed to come up with a list of items I thought would be fun to photograph, but that also weren’t extremely far away from me.

Four Quirky Iowa Roadside Attractions

1. Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption

This shrine, made up of rocks, minerals, shells and fossils is the largest man-made grotto in the world and it took about 50 years to complete! Located in West Bend, the shrine also displays scenes from the bible throughout the nine different grottos.

  • Location: NW part of Iowa – West Bend, IA
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: 24/7
  • Time: allow 1 hour to explore + pictures

2. Volkswagen Beetle Spider

If you find yourself driving on I-80, good news! This statue is located only about 2 miles off the interstate. The Volkswagen Beetle Spider is exactly what it sounds like: an old car propped up high in the air by metal “spider legs”.

  • Location: SW part of Iowa – Avoca, IA
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: 24/7
  • Time: allow 10 mins for pictures

3. Coffee Pot and Cup Water Towers

The World’s Largest Coffee Pot is no longer an active water tower, but it’s still a fun surprise to see on a long road trip or even just for coffee lovers. Fun fact: the coffee pot is said to be able to hold up to 800,000 cups of coffee!

  • Location: SW part of Iowa – Stanton, IA. Located near the Stanton Swedish Museum.
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: 24/7
  • Time: allow 15 mins for pictures + the museum

4. Tire Man

Imagine a giant man…made out of tires. And that’s Iowa’s Tire Man statue, waving you on as you pass by. It’s certainly guaranteed to brighten your day if you’ve been on the road for quite some time.

  • Location: NW part of Iowa – Sioux City, IA
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: 24/7
  • Time: allow 5 mins for pictures

My favorite place I visited was the Shrine. It was the furthest away, but was also the biggest and most unique in my opinion. I have way more pictures of this attraction compared to the others just because of the size comparison and also the incredible attention to detail that went into making it. Everywhere I turned, there was something new to uncover.

Overall, I had more fun than I thought I would making this post. I had been wanting to write about Iowa for quite some time now but just couldn’t figure out the path I wanted to take. And I’m glad I stuck with this because it made me want to explore Iowa even more!

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**Do you prefer road trips or flying?
**Have you driven through the Midwest?
**What’s your favorite roadside attraction?

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  1. We love to road trip and are excited when we can find quirky roadside stops. Looks like Iowa is the spot for some fun ones. Certainly the Spring of the Grotto of Redemption is not a sight I would have expected to see in Iowa. I love when water towers get decorated. So fun to do this one as a coffee pot!

  2. Especially the two first attractions are just amazing! The shrine looks a bit like created by Antoni Gaudi – and also like a crazy ‘stone castle’ on the southern outskirts of Miami. The beetle looks like maman by Louise Bourgeois – I’m sure the artist adopted her idea.

  3. Very intriguing and fun places. I haven’t been to Iowa yet, so I’ll add these quirky places to my itinerary. I’d love to see that spider or coffee pot.

  4. These are great, I love iowa and the water towers are such a recognisable american landmark. Love this kettle one. I’ve only been to davenport and le claire so far. But loved it

  5. How cute! I’ve been to Iowa several times for work but never realized what could be seen there. Also, unpopular opinion but I’ve always been intrigued by the middle states. I guess I am a very curious traveler, because I actually love visiting them just to see what’s there. Gives me a better understanding of our country.

  6. These are so cool! I would love to visit these kind of quirky sights on road trips. It is such a good excuse to get out and stretch your legs! I love the spider and the giant coffee pot 😀

    But, do people really call them the flyover states? There must be loads of fun things to do in each state without being so mean! Poor Iowa!

  7. Wow what an awesome post on Iowa roadside attractions! Would definitely love to visit them. Such unique sculptures are indeed a treat for the eyes when you are on a road trip!
    Thank you so much for sharing 💕

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