For a calendar of events, map, and comprehensive travel guide, contact the Iowa Tourism Office, 200 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309 (tel. 888/472-6035 or 515/242-4705; www.traveliowa.com). A good website featuring lots of information on the state can be found at www.iowa.com.
The Tourism Office runs 19 welcome centers dispensing tourist information at strategic points along major roads and border crossings, and in small towns throughout the state. For locations, check www.traveliowa.com.
By Plane -- The state's major airport is Des Moines International (tel. 515/256-5100; www.dsmairport.com), just 10 minutes outside of Des Moines. It's serviced by most domestic carriers and car-rental agencies.
By Car -- The major east-west route through the state is I-80, which enters from Illinois and passes through Des Moines before heading southwest toward Omaha. I-35 runs from the northern Minnesota border before intersecting with I-80 just above Des Moines and continuing southward to Kansas City. I-29 weaves through the state's western border with Nebraska. Road conditions, especially during the winter, can change in a hurry. Before setting out on a long drive, call tel. 511 in Iowa, or 800/288-1047 from outside the state. You can also go online to www.511ia.org.
Iowa's largest event, the Iowa State Fair, in Des Moines (tel. 800/545-3247 or 515/262-3111; www.iowastatefair.org), is one of the oldest (at over 150 years and counting) in the country, and one of the best (both Esquire and USA Today have named it one of the country's best summer experiences). Highlights include a livestock show, the state's largest arts show, tons of wacky contests, performances by nationally renowned artists (ranging from Rick Springfield to Blake Shelton), tons of food, fireworks, and more.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.