Fall Day Trips From Des Moines - dsm4kids.com

Fall Day Trips From Des Moines

Although Des Moines has oodles of opportunities for enjoyment this fall, several communities within driving distance of our great city provide a memorable day trip, especially for an out-of-town visitor just getting to know Central Iowa.

Adel, IA

Distance From Des Moines: 30 Minute Drive
Beautiful, quaint and historic, Adel’s square is a must-see at any time of the year, but is particularly pretty in the fall. From unique shops and eateries to outdoor adventures this Raccoon River town is an excellent choice for a tourist looking to have a memorable day while experiencing some small town Iowa Charm.  A few places to visit while in the area:

City of Adel, IA Courthouse

Image via www.co.dallas.ia.ua

What To Do

Brenton Arboretum

This 141-acre living museum of trees includes native prairie, Lake Homestead, Overlook Pond and streams. Enjoy walking trails, bridges, benches and a picnic pavilion.  Fall is a great time to visit and observe its glorious “show”.  Kids will love taking a break to play at the O’Brien Nature Play Area.  The Arboretum is open year round and admission is FREE.

Raccoon River Trail

Adel is the trailhead for the Raccoon River Valley Recreation Trail featuring 56 miles of paved trail through natural beauty winding across Dallas, Guthrie, and Greene Counties. The recreational trail was opened in 1989. Interpretive signs along the scenic trail educate users about historic sites. The Raccoon River Valley Trail Association organizes events along the trail throughout the year.

Where To Eat

Brickyard Burgers & Brews

Brickyard Burgers & Brews is a family-friendly restaurant located just steps away from the Raccoon River Bike Trail and moments away from the historic United Brick factory.  It’s a great place to take a little break. Parents can enjoy their brew, while the kids entertain themselves in the arcade in the back.

Penoach Winery

Adults deserve a little treat too and a stop at Penoach Winery is just that! Located in a 1900s-era restored barn the winery offers up a cozy tasting room complete with fireplaces. There are 14 wines to choose from, both varietal and blends, and tastings are FREE.  The Winery hosts special events throughout Free wine samples all afternoon, including their hot spiced Dallas County Apple. You will also be able to roast marshmallows at the fire pit, enjoy a free bag of popcorn and go for a wagon ride around the vineyard.

Recommended Fall Event

Holiday Open House and Lighted Parade 

This event is the kickoff to the holiday season in Adel.  Visit Adel’s businesses, sample and collect recipes, and see Santa. Enjoy the beautiful window displays and Lighted Parade.

Knoxville, IA

Distance From Des Moines: 50 Minute Drive
Another great town within driving distance of Des Moines is Knoxville.  Most famous for being the “Sprint Car Capital of the World”, this small city has outdoor adventure opportunities and there are several wineries and breweries in the area.

National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum

Image via onedirt.com.

What To Do

National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum

At the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum you can learn about the history, color, and excitement of “big car” and Sprint Car racing in Knoxville and around the world. The Hall of Fame honors outstanding achievers in the sport. The Museum is open year round and admission is FREE.

Lake Red Rock/Cordova Observation Tower

The City of Knoxville is located less than four miles from Lake Red Rock, the largest lake in the State of Iowa. Lake Red Rock is a major recreation destination for walking and biking trails, hiking, fishing, swimming, kayaking and hunting. For a spectacular fall view, hoof it up the Cordova Observation Tower in Cordova Park on the north side of the Lake.

Where To Eat

The Coffee Connection

The Coffee Connection is a quintessential small-town gathering place where coffee and conversation flow.  You can get your pumpkin latte fix or grab a soup and sandwich and other light items like PIE at this cute coffee shop on Main Street.

Peace Tree Brewing Company Taproom

Peace Tree’s taproom is an intimate space located at the front end of their production brewery. It’s family friendly and is a great spot to enjoy a locally brewed beer.  However, the Taproom does not serve food.  If you have hungry kiddos in tow, bring along your own snacks or order food from a local restaurant.

Recommended Fall Event

Bravo! Concert Series at the Knoxville Performing Arts Center

Check out the top-rated performances that are sure delight the whole family each season.



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