The state is launching two new interactive websites to help visitors and locals plan Iowa vacations, whether they’re traveling by car or bicycle. Mary Stahlhut, at the Iowa DOT, says the new IowaByways.org website is focused on spotlighting Iowa’s two national scenic byways and nine state scenic and heritage byways.
“The Iowa Byways site provides you a great look at all that Iowa has to offer in rich Midwest history and natural resources,” Stahlhut says. “Along the byways, you can find a lot of history, cultural and scenic and recreational opportunities and it’s going to be a great resource for travelers coming to Iowa and for Iowans who don’t know what’s in their back yard.”
The search function offers visitors the ability to search the website by cost, by type of event or attraction and by category — like arts and culture, dining, events and festivals, historic sites, natural areas, recreation, and shopping. “Once you log on, you can create your own travel,” Stahlhut says.
“You can list all of the things that you want to do and create an itinerary and save it. You can share it with others and you can even access it with your smartphone.” She says the website will be updated regularly by local byway organizations.
“What you’ll find on the Iowa Byways site is a lot more detail about our local communities’ development for sharing their resources and historic and cultural background things that are available,” Stahlhut says. “Also, there’s a new Iowa Byways travel guide that’s just rich with maps and details of where you can find all these different types of amenities.”
Sign-up is free and you can create trips by selecting events, attractions and travel services of interest, or add something from your list of favorites. The byways website is linked to a new web version of one of the Iowa DOT’s most popular publications, the Iowa Transportation Map for Bicyclists.
The interactive map helps cyclists to plan their trips and find bicycle trail routes and amenities, right down to available rest stops and restaurants. It shows bike lanes, paved trails, unpaved trails, roads with paved shoulders, sidepaths and bicycle-friendly roads. It even shows the locations of bike repair shops.