Des Moines, Iowa originated in May of 1843 when Captain James Allen oversaw the construction of a fort on the spot where the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers merged. The new settlement was named Fort Des Moines, but it would be abandoned only three years later. However, the fort was resettled and converted into a town shortly after and designated as the seat of Polk County. Much of the town was lost during the Flood of 1851, forcing Des Moines to rebuild from scratch. It was incorporated as a city on September 22nd, 1851. The city's first major growth and expansion period began in 1866 after a railroad link was completed in the area.
Nowadays, Des Moines is the capital and most populous city in Iowa, with a population of roughly 215,000. The bustling city offers plenty to do and see, and one place you may want to visit is the impressive Capitol Building. You can take a tour of the building, which dates back to 1871 and features beautiful domes. Another destination worth visiting is the Downtown Farmers' Market, where you'll find over 300 vendors offering produce, baked goods, arts and crafts, and more.
There are a few places in town you'll definitely want to visit if you enjoy museums. You can learn about Iowa's history at the State Historical Museum, explore the cool exhibits at the Science Center of Iowa, or browse the paintings and sculptures at the Des Moines Art Center. You can also stop by some of Des Moines' unique historical sites, such as the Salisbury House & Gardens and Terrace Hill.
If you're looking for outdoor fun, one option is to visit Prairie Lakes Park to enjoy a bike ride or nature walk. Or, you could spend your day boating or fishing at Big Woods Lake.
Des Moines Arts Festival - Des Moines' annual Arts Festival takes place in late June at Western Gateway Park. The popular event hosts 180 of the nation's top artists in a beautiful urban setting.
Cajun Fest Boil & Brew - If you're looking for some fun, come on out to JR's Southpork Ranch in early June to enjoy Cajun cuisine, live music, all-you-can-eat crawfish, and Camp Cajun for the kids.
Oktoberfest Des Moines - Each year in downtown Des Moines, the lively Oktoberfest event takes place. The event happens in late September, and attendees get to enjoy a huge variety of German and craft beers, tasty German food, live music, and much more.
Situated on the shores of the Raccoon River, Walnut Woods State Park is known for being home to the largest surviving natural stand of black walnut trees in North America. During your visit, you can enjoy boating, canoeing, kayaking, or fishing on the river. Or, you can head to the scenic wooded trails for a day of hiking and bird watching.
Another lovely state park near Des Moines is Ledges State Park, which lies on the eastern shores of the Des Moines River. The park is revered for its gorgeous scenery, making it a wonderful spot for a picnic. You could also hike the four miles of trails, fish in the nearby stream, or even spend your day canoeing.
You'll find Elk Rock State Park near the town of Knoxville, Iowa. The beautiful outdoor haven is located right beside the state's largest body of water, Lake Red Rock. Many who visit the park take the opportunity to go fishing, boating, or swimming on the placid lake. There are also horse trails, an equestrian campground, and 13 miles of multi-use trails that are perfect for hiking, running, mountain biking, and during the winter months, snowmobiling.
While you're in the Des Moines region, there are some monuments and landmarks in Iowa that you should definitely consider visiting. One unique landmark not far from Des Moines is the John Wayne Birthplace site, which features a museum where you can learn all about the famous actor and see artifacts from his life.
You could also visit the bridges of Madison County, which lie a short distance southwest of Des Moines. You may have heard of the bridges from the popular 1995 romance film or earlier novel, and they're real-life landmarks as well. There are six bridges left of the original 19, and you can see them in person.
If you travel a couple of hours east of Des Moines and into Iowa City, Iowa, you can stop by the Old Capitol Building. At one time, Iowa City served as the state's capital, and the Capitol Building is now preserved as a museum and National Historic Landmark. It's also located right at the heart of the University of Iowa's campus.
When you're hunting for a quality campground, one excellent option is the Sleepy Hollow RV Park & Campground. There are 105 full-hookup RV sites available there, and you'll also have access to a basketball court, a private lake, a beach, and free Wi-Fi.
A lovely alternative is the Des Moines West KOA Holiday, which boasts a great selection of amenities. The campground offers full-hookup RV sites with both back-in and pull-through options. There's also a large dog park, a communal kitchen, bike rentals, and a snack bar, and every campsite includes access to cable television.
You could also enjoy affordable, peaceful camping at the Kellogg RV Park. The park has 38 RV sites with full hookups available for only $30 per night, and guests can make use of the on-site restaurant, convenience store, and gas stations. For extra safety, there's even an on-site tornado shelter.
When renting an RV in Des Moines, Iowa, you can expect to pay $225 a night for motorhomes and $120 a night for travel trailers.What does RVshare Protection cover with my Des Moines, IA RV rental?
RVshare's protection plan standard package covers up to $300,000 in comprehensive and collision coverage based on the value of the RV. It also includes free 24/7 roadside assistance, towing and tire service. For more information on RVshare insurance, click here.What do I need to know before renting an RV in Des Moines, IA?
Des Moines has several freeways through town to make RV driving easier. Just outside the city are lots of green spaces and bodies of water for outdoor exploring. Be sure to include time in your plans to explore the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, or visit during the Iowa State Fair.What are the RV rental requirements in Des Moines, IA?
There is no special license needed to rent an RV but check in with the state before your trip if you have any questions.What are some tips for first-time RV renters in Des Moines, IA?
Renting an RV in Des Moines, Iowa means endless blue skies and wide open roads. With all the space between towns, make sure you have a full tank of gas and plenty of food and water before you hit the road. You'll find plenty of RV campgrounds with pools and other amenities that make camping more pleasant. The city's busy season is in the summer so be sure to make reservations to ensure you have a campsite when you arrive.What are the minimum age requirements for renting an RV in Des Moines, IA?
The minimum age requirement for renting an RV is 25.What is included in my Des Moines, IA RV rental?
You should find any amenities that are included with your rental in the listing details. But it never hurts to check in with the owner before you arrive at the RV or have it delivered to ensure you have everything that is needed to have a fun and enjoyable trip!Are there pet friendly RVs for rent in Des Moines, IA?
Looking for a pet friendly RV rental? Use the pet-friendly filter when searching on RVshare.com to find the perfect one for you!Can I have my Des Moines, IA RV rental delivered to a specified location?
Many owners on RVshare.com offer delivery, and will even set it up for you at the campsite. Choose the 'Delivery' filter to narrow down your search results to RVs that can be brought to your home or destination. Check the listing details for any information regarding extra fees for delivery, or ask the owner if you are unsure.Are there one way rental options from Des Moines, IA?
One way rentals can add flexibility to your trip, but there are typically costs associated with returning the RV back to the owner. Learn more about one way rental options at rvshare.com/one-way-rv-rentals.