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Davenport Explore Local With RVshare

Why We Love Travel

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From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.

Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.

Benefits of Traveling Locally

While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:

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More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.

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Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.

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Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.

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Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.

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More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.

Explore Local: Davenport, Iowa

Davenport is a city situated on the scenic Mississippi River in eastern Iowa. With over 300,000 residents calling the city home, Davenport is the largest of the Quad cities and is located approximately halfway between the major cities of Chicago and Des Moines.

Boasting over 50 local parks, as well as numerous museums, galleries, markets, theaters, annual outdoor festivals, and more, you could easily live within this city for a decade without experiencing all of the incredible attractions it has on offer.

Ready to discover the best of Davenport, Iowa? Let’s get started!

*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.

Parks in Davenport, Iowa

Starved Rock State Park

Looking to leave the bustling city behind in favor of Mother Nature? Luckily for you, Davenport has numerous state parks and recreation areas nearby, all offering fun activities and the tranquillity of the great outdoors.

Wildcat Den State Park

Wildcat Den State Park is an amazing location for comfy picnics and cookouts, or if you're looking to escape with your spouse or family for a weekend. There are multiple trails, which go through distinct sections; they highlight panoramic natural features like rocky outcroppings and steep bluffs. You can also visit the Pine Creek Grist Mill, which was built in the mid-19th century, and a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse.

Maquoketa Caves State Park

With more caves than any other Iowan state park, Maquoketa offers the kinds of geological formations you would expect to find thousands of years ago. The caves are all different shapes and sizes—you even have to crawl through some of them—and the limestone formations and rugged bluffs add dramatic character to the area. An intricate, 6-mile system of trails connects everything together. Other areas of note include a restored prairie and an oak savanna.

Mississippi Palisades State Park

Mississippi Palisades is a 2,500-acre park that can be found in northwestern Illinois, near the point where the Mississippi and Apple rivers meet. About half an hour from Galena, Illinois, the park is home to panoramic rock formations. Trails extend for 13 miles over the area. You can climb over the high limestone bluffs. The dog-friendly camping grounds feature 241 campsites and are open to camper vehicles and motorhomes. Bird watchers can watch turkeys, eagles, woodpeckers, and others.

Lake Macbride State Park

Lake Macbride State Park offers a scenic beach for relaxing and swimming, and you can rent boats including paddleboats, motorboats, pontoons, and kayaks to explore the lake. Fishing is great here; whether fishing from the beach or a boat, expect to find walleyes, channel catfish, crappies, and muskie. There are two campgrounds, one of which has electricity and a shower area, and two kids’ playgrounds. Bird watchers will love watching the songbirds, osprey, waterfowl, and shorebirds, and fans of winter sports will love snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.

Starved Rock State Park

An hour and a half away from Illinois, Starved Rock is perfect for day trips. Not only are there more than 13 miles’ worth of hiking trails, but there are also 18 unique canyons. Witness breathtaking natural features, from waterfalls and natural springs to overhangs and overlooks. You can do everything here, including boating, camping, hunting, fishing, and, in winter, ice fishing.

Hiking in Davenport, Iowa

If you’re still looking to explore more of Davenport by foot, then perhaps a hike in or outside of the city is in order? These two trails don’t just offer magnificent views and natural scenery, but are also the two most popular walks within the area.

Sunderbruch Park Trails

Home to both fields and woody sections, you should head out to Sunderbruch Park if you're looking to walk, run, and bike. With seven miles of single-track mountain biking trails, the difficulty level runs the gamut. The beginner, intermediate, and expert trails feature changes in elevation, off-camber terrain, tough climbs, a ladder bridge, and log and creek crossings. The trail also has a picnic shelter, which can be reserved, and nature areas.

Duck Creek Trail

Offering 22 kilometers of trail near Davenport, the beautiful, dog-friendly Duck Creek is suited for hikers of different skills. Open from March through October, you can walk, run, and enjoy nature trips at Duck Creek. It's also accessible for wheelchair users.

Restaurants in Davenport, Iowa

Stomach rumbling? Whether you’re craving a casual spot for lunch or the luxury of fine dining, Davenport is filled to the brim with eateries worth noting. Here are our favorites!

The Machine Shed

Are you looking for tasty local food with a farm-to-table bent? If so, then The Machine Shed is the place to be. Featuring a unique farm theme, diners can enjoy comfort meals—among them pot roast, tenderloin, chicken, prime ribs, soup, and potatoes—which are prepared from scratch daily.

Barrel House

Another notable restaurant in Davenport is the Barrel House. Focusing on tavern or pub food, with an upscale edge to it, Barrel House offers meals like burgers, waffle fries, tacos, French fries, and chicken wings. Diners can eat on the patio when they want to enjoy the weather.

Exotic Thai

Your destination for Thai food in Davenport, Exotic Thai sells delicious Thai food of all kinds, including Pad Thai, pineapple-fried rice, crab cheese puffs, beef ribs, and dumplings. With a 90% rating on TripAdvisor, the restaurant has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. It offers a small, cosy atmosphere, which allows diners to eat in a more intimate setting.

Lunardi’s Italian Restaurant

Lunardi'is is the place to visit if you're planning on having a great meal after a long day spent enjoying the sights and sounds of Davenport. The authentic food is made from scratch, and includes Chicago-style pizza, pasta, salads, and sandwiches. There's also a full bar. 

Duck City Bistro

With a menu that changes in time with the weeks and seasons, you'll never have the same experience twice atDuck City Bistro. The Bistro is an example of casual dining—perfect for romantic dates, nights out with friends, and family meals. The dishes offer meals from American and international cuisines, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Activities in Davenport, Iowa

Vander Veer Botanical Park and Conservatory

Wondering “what’s next?” Well, when it comes to Davenport’s attractions and activities, you’re only just getting started. Here are some of the most fun things on offer in and around the city!

For kids and families

If you and your family are looking for a way to pass the day, look no further than these fantastic activities.

Family Museum

True to its name, the Family Museum offers all kinds of attractions for kids, including an interactive kinetic sculpture that allows children to experiment with physics, various sections that allow kids to learn about human society, including a farmer’s market and post office, and interactive, science-based play areas.

Snowstar

Snowstar Winter Park is the place to be when it comes to skiing and snowboarding in Davenport. With short wait times, tubing runs, a well-priced snack bar, and a spacious set-up, Snowstar is great for beginning and experienced skiers alike.

At night

What should you do in Davenport once the sun goes down? We’re glad you asked! Here are our suggested night-time attractions.

Rhythm Room

The Rhythm Room, found in the Rhythm City Casino, is a great space for adults to have a night-time hang-out. Local artists perform excellent music, including rock, oldies, pop, and country, while special guests, including DJs and comedians, perform unforgettable shows. Enjoy gourmet small bites while you watch sports games and UFC fights on the 209" projector, and indulge in the full-service bar.

Adler Theatre

Part of the RiverCenter convention center, this performing-arts center offers 2400 seats for live shows. With high-scale acoustics located in a beautiful old building, watch Broadway and non-Broadway shows alike in a comfy setting. If you're in the mood to see some beautiful décor, arrive early and take a stroll around the building.

On the cheap

Looking to save a dollar or two during your Davenport excursion? There are plenty of activities and attractions that can be visited on a budget, helping you to get the most out of your time spent in the city.

Figge Art Museum

Figge was founded in 2005, and has hosted amazing art exhibitions since then. Art exhibits feature paintings and sculptures from different eras and genres, leading visitors to an eclectic experience. The permanent exhibitions include regional, national, and international pieces, dating from the 1400s until the present.

Putnam Museum and Science Centre

Putnam Museum is an ideal destination for people of all ages. With a science center, permanent exhibits on international cultures and the natural world, visitors can explore the fossil annexes and an interactive ocean-themed area. 

Free things to do in Davenport

If you’re looking to make the most out of your time spent in Davenport, then look no further than these recommended activities. Oh, and did we mention they’re completely free?

Vander Veer Botanical Park & Conservatory

Although it costs money to go to the Conservatory part of this attraction, the botanical park is free. Founded in 1885, the gardens and floral displays—which are spread out over 33 acres—have delighted the visitors to Vander Veer. Many of the trees were planted in the 19th century. In addition to the Children’s Sculpture Garden, which features life-sized sculptures of children at play, there are also Old World Gardens, a rose garden, the Stone Fountain with its tumultuous waves, and the Hosta Glade.

Lindsay Park

Lindsay Park spreads out over 31 acres in eastern Davenport. It offers a softball diamond, two playgrounds, and lovely views of the Mississippi River. Visitors can check out the historic firehouse, play basketball at the court, and explore the docks.

Wellness in Davenport, Iowa

Best spas

If you’re craving some rest and relaxation, or even a bit of pampering, these are two of the best spas in the region.

Exotic Escape Spa & Salon

Escape to the Exotic Escape when you want to pamper yourself. Services include waxing, massages, facials, pedicures and manicures, and hair coloring and styling. Services are offered in spa packages or à la carte. The staff also host spa parties for young children.

Salon Aria & Spa

The Salon Aria & Spa is the perfect place to go when you need some rest and relaxation. Featuring services for hair styling, facials, messages, and other customizable spa treatments, this day spa is located on Utica Ridge Road.

Best gyms and yoga studios

If rejuvenation for you is less about deep relaxation and more about sweating it out, then you’re in luck. Davenport is home to some of the highest-rated gyms and yoga studios within the region.

Tapas Hot Yoga

Tapas Hot Yoga hosts classes for various kinds of yoga: vinyasa, ashtanga, savasana, and yin yoga, as well as classes on mindfulness. Both beginner and advanced students are welcome here. You can pay for an annual or monthly membership, or pay to drop in individual classes. You can also get passes for 5 or 10 classes.

The Foundation Davenport

At The Foundation, trained staff members help clients develop nutrition and workout plans. This gym offers personal training, group classes, CrossFit, workouts for kids and teens, and a strength lab. If you're interested in weight training, plyometrics, gymnastics, and boxing, The Foundation is perfect for you.

Day Trips near Davenport, Iowa

Looking to fulfill your wanderlust by heading outside of the region for a day? You could spend decades within Davenport without barely scratching the surface of all there is to do in this large city, but consider these day trips next time you fancy a new adventure.

Cedar Rapids

An hour and a half from Davenport, Cedar Rapids is the go-to destination for cultural and natural activities. Visit the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library and the Indian Creek Nature Center, or take a walk in the Palisades-Kepler State Park. You can also visit Brucemore, a 26-acre estate in the heart of the city, where you'll find botanical gardens, an orchard, woodland, and a historic mansion with three stories, twenty-one rooms, and an iconic gabled roof.

Rockford, Illinois

Rockford, Illinois is another large city near Davenport. Enjoy the natural world by visiting the Rock Cut State Park or the Anderson Japanese Gardens. If you're interested in educational museums, check out the Burpee Museum of Natural History or the Discovery Center Museum. The Six Flags water park is great for a full day trip on its own. Check out our full guide, here!

 As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Davenport that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Davenport? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.

Rockford, Illinois

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