Boone Travel Guide

Discover Boone, a hidden gem in Central Iowa, with our comprehensive travel guide. Plan your visit with our list of things to do, places to see, food and drink scene, where to stay, and more.

Welcome to Boone, a charming town located in Central Iowa and often referred to as the ‘birthplace of Mamie Eisenhower’. From historical landmarks to natural wonders, Boone offers a plethora of attractions that entice visitors from all over the world. Explore the hidden gems of the Midwest with our comprehensive travel guide and plan your next trip to Boone.

Introduction to Boone

Boone is a small town located in the heart of Iowa, offering visitors a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Home to a rich history and culture, Boone has always been an important destination that celebrates its heritage and traditions.

List of Places to Visit in Boone

Whether you’re an adventure-seeker, history buff, or nature lover, Boone caters to every kind of traveler. Check out our list of things to do and places to see in Boone.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Boone is known for its rich history, and there is no better place to explore this than at the various museums and historical landmarks.

  • Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad and Museum: Take a picturesque train ride through the Des Moines River Valley and explore the railway museum with more than 150 years of history.
  • Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace: Explore the birthplace and childhood home of Mamie Eisenhower, wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • Boone County Historical Society Museum: Discover the history of Boone County through fascinating exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays.

Natural Attractions of Boone: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Enjoy the beauty of the Midwest as Boone offers a range of scenic natural attractions, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Ledges State Park: Hike through the trails and experience limestone bluffs, stunning canyons, and beautiful streams.
  • Seven Oaks Recreation: Go on an adventure with activities like skiing, snowboarding, tubing, or kayaking.
  • Kate Shelley High Bridge: Explore the tallest and longest double-track railroad bridge spanning the Des Moines River Valley.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Boone

Boone offers a range of hiking and biking trails, perfect for those who want to stay active while exploring the town and its surroundings.

  • High Trestle Trail: An 11-mile long trail that offers scenic views while hiking or biking through the heart of Iowa.
  • Boone Valley Trail: Spend a leisurely day exploring this picturesque trail that winds its way through forests and fields.

Best Things to Do in Boone: Activities and Tours

Apart from the museums, parks, and trails, Boone offers various activities and tours perfect to explore the town and its surroundings in a unique and fun way.

  • Boone History Tours: Explore the rich history of Boone through narrated tours of the town and its landmarks.
  • Scenic Valley Winery: Experience local wines, beautiful ambiance, hospitality featuring vineyard tours and tastings.

Week-Long Itinerary for Boone

Here’s a sample week-long itinerary to enjoy the best that Boone has to offer.

Day Activities
Day 1 Visit Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad and Museum, and go for a scenic train ride
Day 2 Explore the Boone County History Center Museum and Mamie Eisenhower Birthplace
Day 3 Hike the trails of Ledges State Park, and go kayaking at Seven Oaks Recreation
Day 4 Cycle or walk the High Trestle Trail and end the day with a visit to the Scenic Valley Winery for a tasting session
Day 5 Take a narrated bus tour of historic landmarks in Boone
Day 6 Visit the Kate Shelley High Bridge, and end the day with a picnic at McHose Park
Day 7 Spend the day golfing at Cedar Point Golf Course, and enjoy the beautiful scenery

Food and Drink Scene of Boone

Boone offers various options to indulge in local cuisine and drinks. Check out our list of must-try dishes and local beverages.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Iowa-style Pork Tenderloin Sandwich: A classic Iowa dish made with a breaded or grilled pork tenderloin cutlet and served on a bun.
  • Maid-Rite Sandwich: A loose-meat sandwich made with seasoned ground beef served on a bun.
  • Sweet Corn: Boone is known for its delicious sweet corn, often grilled or boiled and served as a side or snack.

Local Beverages

  • Boone Valley Brewery and Taproom: Sip on some locally brewed beer while enjoying the ambiance and hospitality of the taproom.
  • Snake Alley Art Fair Wine: Taste the award-winning wines from the Snake Alley Art Fair, featuring unique flavors that are perfect for gifting or personal enjoyment.

Where to Stay in Boone: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Boone offers various options for accommodation that cater to every kind of traveler and every budget.

  • Hotel: Baymont by Wyndham Boone
  • Bed and Breakfast: Railroad Historical Inn
  • Air BnB: Dog friendly apt & fenced yard.

What to Buy in Boone: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Take a piece of Boone back with you, with local souvenirs and products that celebrate the town’s heritage and culture.

  • Boone County Fair: Local artisans and food vendors create amazing objects and delicious foods available in the fair during July-August.
  • Honey Creek: Shop for locally sourced honey, unique crafts, and handmade soaps.

Local Culture and Customs of Boone

Boone celebrates its heritage and culture with various festivals and events throughout the year. Join in the festivities and immerse yourself in Boone’s local culture.

  • Pufferbilly Days: A three-day festival in September that honors the railway history of Boone with a parade, carnival, and quirky contests.
  • Boone Heritage Festival: Join this two-day event in July to experience Boone heritage and tradition with music and delicious food.

Best Time to Visit Boone

Boone can be enjoyed throughout the year, with each season offering its own unique charm and beauty. Summers are warm and pleasant, while spring and fall offer moderate temperatures and beautiful scenery. Winters can be a bit chilly but are perfect for skiing and ice fishing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Boone


  • Explore the history and culture of Boone by visiting the local museums and historical sites.
  • Enjoy the natural beauty and scenic routes of Boone with hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing.
  • Indulge in local cuisine and drinks.


  • Don’t litter in parks and public spaces.
  • Don’t be disrespectful towards the local culture and heritage.
  • Don’t leave without trying local dishes and drinks.

Safety and Health

Safety in Boone

Boone is a safe town, but visitors should keep basic safety measures in mind while exploring the town and its surroundings.

  • Keep an eye on your belongings and avoid crowded areas at night.
  • Respect local wildlife and avoid contact.

Health in Boone

Boone is a generally healthy town, but visitors should take basic precautions and follow essential health measures.

  • Stay hydrated, especially during summers.
  • Wear insect repellent to prevent any insect-borne diseases.

Getting to Boone: Transportation Options and Logistics

Boone is well connected and easily accessible by various means of transportation.

  • Airports Near Boone: Des Moines International Airport (48 miles away).
  • Bus Stations Near Boone: Boone bus station is a few feet from downtown.
  • Other Options: Visitors can rent a car or catch a taxi from the airport or bus station.

How to Get Around in Boone

Boone is a small town, best explored on foot or by a car. Biking is also a popular option to explore the hilly terrain of the town and its surroundings.

Where to Go Next from Boone: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Continue your Midwest adventure from Boone, and explore nearby towns and cities.

  • Des Moines: 45-minute drive South.
  • Ames: 25-minute drive East.
  • Cedar Rapids: 2-hour drive Southeast.


Boone may be a small town, but it packs a punch with its rich history, beautiful natural attractions, and delicious cuisine. Plan your next trip to Boone, and explore the hidden gems of the Midwest with our comprehensive guide.