Enjoy all that Northeast Iowa Has to Offer

Welcome to Northeastern Iowa


There’s a lot about Iowa that makes it a prototypical Midwest state, with an economy largely driven by agriculture and farming. Sure, you’ll find acre upon acre of cropland with corn, soybeans and such … but in parts, particularly in the northeastern portion of the state, there are some unique and even unexpected treasures to explore.

Among the tall hills and rugged bluffs of the northeastern Driftless Area, outdoor recreation abounds. The area rivers, lakes and forests make for excellent fishing, hiking, hunting and more. But it’s not all about nature … Iowa also has great spots to enjoy arts and culture, dining, shopping and the like.

Let’s take a closer look at why so many people choose to live in the Hawkeye State.

Natural Beauty and Recreation in Iowa’s Bluff Country

When it comes to natural beauty within America’s Heartland, Northeastern Iowa definitely represents. This is “Bluff Country,” also known as the Driftless Area. Earth’s pre-historic glacial movement altered much of the geography in what is now the United States, but it missed a lot of Northeastern Iowa (along with the bordering parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois).

As a result, many of the original features of the landscape remain largely unchanged, including massive limestone bluffs, big hills, deep river valleys and spring-fed waterfalls. This makes for fantastic locations for outdoor recreation — hiking hardwood forests, trout fishing cool waters, biking long trails and canoeing flowing rivers.

Decorah, where United Country Real Estate | Midwest Lifestyle Properties is based, and the surrounding areas of Winneshiek County offer plenty of parks, trails and nature preserves The Upper Iowa River flows right through Decorah. Expand farther into the northeast region and you’ll find at least a dozen state parks perfect for camping, birding and relaxing amongst nature. Backbone State Park and Pikes Peak State Park are good starting points.

Exploring Northeastern Iowa: Arts and Culture, Shopping and More

If you’re looking to expand beyond outdoor adventures to explore what else Northeastern Iowa has to offer, you might start in Decorah where our real estate office is located. The city has pretty interesting roots dating back to the 1850s when droves of Norwegians settled here. That heritage continues to this day, with the annual Nordic Fest, and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Decorah is also known for its famous bald eagles, which can be seen in person but also viewed via a constant livestream online from the Raptor Resource Center.

In more of a shopping and dining mood? Stroll down Water Street in Decorah and visit a variety of shops, galleries and specialty stores. Or head to the nationally-renowned Toppling Goliath Brewing Company for a couple pints and a burger.


The rest of Northeast Iowa has just as many interesting places to discover history, dive into arts and culture or simply enjoy the natural scenery. Lansing in Allamakee County offers a National Historic District downtown with fun shops, or view the interpretive exhibits at the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center. The Grout Museum District in Waterloo (Black Hawk County) makes learning fun for all ages, while the River Walk in Elkader (Clayton County) has a bit of something for everyone.

And any discussion of this region of Iowa wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the farming and agriculture that are so critical to the state’s economy. You can discover many local farms, dairies, wineries and such via the annual farm crawl, or experience how things were done before the modern era on the Amish Boulevard. Welcome to Northeastern Iowa!

Sources: en.wikipedia.org; winneshiekcounty.iowa.gov; winneshiekwild.com; visitdecorah.com; traveliowa.com; visitiowa.org; stateparks.com