Top 5 Hobbies to Discover in Iowa | Great Activities for Iowans

Iowa, a state known for its rolling plains, picturesque farmlands, and friendly Midwestern charm, offers a wide range of activities and experiences for residents and visitors alike.

From the bustling city life in Des Moines to the tranquil beauty of the Mississippi River, there’s something for everyone in the Hawkeye State.

In this post, we’ll delve into the top 5 most popular hobbies in Iowa and provide guidance on how you can get involved in each one. Let’s dive in!

This article contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through a link on our site you are supporting our continued efforts to educate people like you in finding new and rewarding hobbies. Thank you!

Biking and Cycling

Iowa’s vast network of scenic trails and routes make it a haven for biking and cycling enthusiasts.

Popular trails include the High Trestle Trail, the Raccoon River Valley Trail, and the Wabash Trace Nature Trail.

To get started, invest in a quality bike, helmet, and other safety gear, research local routes and trails, and join a local cycling club like the Iowa Bicycle Coalition for tips, advice, and camaraderie.


With its diverse habitats and location along the Mississippi Flyway, Iowa is an ideal destination for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Popular locations include the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, the Mines of Spain Recreation Area, and the Iowa Great Lakes region.

To get involved, invest in a quality pair of binoculars, learn about local bird species, and join a local birdwatching club like the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union to connect with fellow birders and share tips, advice, and resources.

Fishing and Boating

Iowa’s numerous lakes, rivers, and ponds provide ample opportunities for fishing and boating enthusiasts.

Popular destinations include the Mississippi River, Clear Lake, and Lake Red Rock.

To get started, obtain the necessary fishing licenses and permits from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, invest in the appropriate gear, and join a local fishing or boating club like the Iowa Bass Federation to connect with fellow anglers and share tips, advice, and favorite fishing spots.

Farm-to-Table Culinary Exploration

Iowa’s rich agricultural heritage makes it an ideal destination for farm-to-table culinary enthusiasts.

From visiting farmers markets to attending farm-to-table events, there are many ways to explore Iowa’s local flavors.

To get involved, visit local farmers markets, attend farm-to-table events and workshops, and consider joining a local food-related organization like the Iowa Food Cooperative to connect with fellow enthusiasts, share tips, advice, and resources.

Community and Local Theater

Iowa’s vibrant community theater scene provides opportunities for residents to get involved in local productions, whether as an actor, crew member, or audience member.

Popular venues include the Des Moines Playhouse, the Iowa City Community Theatre, and the Waterloo Community Playhouse.

To get involved, audition for local productions, attend workshops and classes, and join a local theater group like the Iowa Community Theatre Association to connect with fellow theater enthusiasts, share tips, advice, and resources.


Whether you’re a long-time resident or just visiting Iowa, there’s no shortage of engaging hobbies to explore.

With its beautiful landscapes, diverse wildlife, and unique attractions, it’s no wonder that biking, birdwatching, fishing, farm-to-table culinary exploration, and community theater have become so popular.

So, gear up, connect with fellow enthusiasts, and start enjoying these incredible hobbies today!

Looking for more great hobby ideas? Check out our Huge List of Hobbies Ideas from A to Z and start something new…