Iowa is NOT a terrible spring break destination

It’s March, you’re a fun-loving UW-Madison freshman, and you’re ready to take your spring break somewhere wild and exotic—like Iowa! Okay, maybe it’s not Cabo San Lucas, but if time or money get in the way of your dream vacation, why not take a day trip to Dubuque, Iowa? It’s just over a 1 ½ hour drive down US Highway 151 from Madison—perfect for a day trip.

Fenelon Place Elevator Company

View of the Fenelon Place Elevator from the top.

The majority of Iowa may be flat, but Dubuque certainly isn’t. It’s situated on a bluff over the Mississippi River. The Fenelon Place Elevator claims to be the world’s shortest, steepest elevator ride. Regardless if this is true or not, this ride offers a great view of Dubuque’s historic business district, the Mississippi River, and a tri-state view of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Me riding the elevator. I promise it isn’t as terrifying as it looks….

Mississippi Riverwalk

From the Riverwalk, you can see across the river to both Wisconsin and Illinois.

The Mississippi Riverwalk is a half-mile long paved walkway built on top of a flood wall along the Mississippi riverbank. The Riverwalk is known for its art, which is updated regularly. On one end of the walk is the historic Shot Tower, and on the other is National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.

Me and a piece of art that I liked along the Mississippi Riverwalk.

Mines of Spain

View from the Horseshoe Trail at Mines of Spain. Can you spot the river in the distance?

If you’re up for a longer hike than the Riverwalk can provide, visit Mines of Spain Recreation Area, just south of Dubuque. My favorite hike is the Horseshoe Trail, which has three different levels and stairs. Eventually, it takes you down to the river. Also, be sure to drive up to the top of the bluff to see the Julien Dubuque Monument.

The Julien Dubuque Monument

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