Iowa

11 Great Airbnbs in Iowa for a Midwestern Getaway

by Kristen Arendt
Updated October 21, 2021

best iowa airbnbs
Photo: Airbnb

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Though perhaps best known for its agricultural heritage, Iowa has more hidden gems than many other Midwestern states — you just need to know where to look.

From bustling downtowns and thriving arts scene to historic buildings, beautiful countryside, dense woodlands, and sprawling prairies and rivers, there’s so much more to Iowa than just cornfields. It also has several of the world’s largest things, including the world’s largest cornball, world’s largest bull, and the world’s tallest concrete gnome.

Affordable, quirky, and full of tasty food — especially if you like popcorn — Iowa is a great off-the-beaten-path weekend destination. So check out the 11 airbnbs in Iowa below, and get ready to get a tasty of what this oft-overlooked Midwest destination has to offer.

Related: 12 Stunning Chicago Vacation Rentals for a Lively Windy City Stay

1. Mid-Century Bungalow

midcentury bungalow airbnb iowa
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: Step into a 1950’s time warp — then step out on the town.

  • Location: Des Moines
  • Sleeps: 3
  • Minimum stay: 2 nights
  • Rates from: $74/night

If you’re searching for a cozy spot to kick back and unwind, this bungalow is the perfect spot for a private getaway. You’ll have the run of the mid-century house, which offers 1950’s charm alongside updated furnishings, modern amenities, and a wood-burning fireplace.

The house is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Des Moines, about a five-minute drive from Drake University and a short walk from restaurants, coffee shops, and the fabulous baked goods of La Mie bakery. And you can easily pop over to the East Village for some of the best dining and shopping downtown Des Moines has to offer.

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2. CR Station Train Caboose

train caboose airbnb iowa
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: All aboard for this train-inspired stay.

  • Location: Decorah
  • Sleeps: 4
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $121/night

Made from an actual train caboose, this cozy accommodation is a memorable, one-of-a-kind stay. The renovated caboose has everything you need plus some special touches like the two original conductor’s chairs where you can sit and soak up the views.

Located just outside the town of Decorah, you have your pick of outdoor activities to fill your stay. Head out for a bike ride or walk on the local trails or float the Upper Iowa River in the summer. If hunting and fishing are more your style, you have some great nearby options. Or you can simply put your feet up and enjoy the scenery from the countryside caboose.

“We really loved the caboose. The kids loved exploring and my husband and I loved the deck. We saw barn cats, horses, a buck in the field, and a bald eagle soaring overhead.”

Dani, Roland, IA
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3. Remodeled Getaway

des moises iowa airbnb
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: An delight for interior designers and epicureans alike.

  • Location: Des Moines
  • Sleeps: 6
  • Minimum stay: 2 nights
  • Rates from: $149/night

It’s not often that a house strikes the perfect balance of modern minimalism and laid-back luxury, but this stunning home does just that. With its sleek interior design, natural light, and all the right creature comforts, this recently remodeled house is perfect if you want a bit of a treat with all the functionality of home.

It’s one of the more convenient airbnbs in Iowa as you’re only a few blocks from your choice of restaurants, bars, and shops so you can indulge your gastronomic and shopaholic impulses. If you’re looking for outdoor activities, take a short drive to Raccoon River Park or Walnut Woods State Park to enjoy the open spaces around scenic Blue Heron Lake for biking, hiking, camping, fishing, boating, swimming, and more.

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Related Read: The 10 Best Cabin Rentals in Iowa for a Weekend Away

4. Renovated Iowa Barn

iowa barn airbnb
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: Live like a farm animal – a totally pampered, extremely comfortable farm animal.

  • Location: Ames
  • Sleeps: 4
  • Minimum stay: 2 nights
  • Rates from: $135/night

In this authentic farm stay, you’ll literally be sleeping in the barn. Lucky for you, that barn is thoughtfully remodeled into a unique and quaint stay with enough amenities that you definitely won’t be roughing it. Choose between the hanging boat bed or the well-appointed indoor camper for your sleeping accommodations. Both options are delightfully quirky.

Between the free-range chickens, eclectic decor, and three scenic acres, you’ll find that this barn has plenty to both charm and entertain. And even though you’re tucked away in the country, you’re not far from Ames, home to Iowa State University. Should you get the itch to head into town, you can check out Reiman Gardens, visit Brunnier Art Museum or the Octagon Center for the Arts, walk through one of the city’s many parks, or stop off at a local brewery to grab a pint and a bite to eat.

“What a great stay! The barn is adorable, everything was clean, and the chickens are super friendly.”

Molly, Coralville, IA
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5. Captain’s Quarters

mill house airbnb iowa
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: Riverside living in a historic building that would make Mark Twain proud.

  • Location: Le Claire
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $140/night

Built in 1851, the Old Mill Guest House perfectly preserves and delivers all the charm and history of a Mississippi River town in the cozy Captain’s Quarters. Though small, you’ll enjoy a tidy and comfortable set-up with a private bath and kitchenette. The best part of the guest house may just be the back deck, where you can watch the riverboats on the mighty Mississippi.

Historic downtown Le Claire is within easy walking distance. Plan to stop off at the Mississippi River Distillery, Wide River Winery tasting room, and Green Tree Brewery to sample the local offerings. For lovers of history, hit up the Buffalo Bill Museum or the antique shops. Or take a riverboat cruise to travel the river like a tourist of yesteryear.

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6. The Milk House at Lucky Star Farm

Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: Experience rural farm living with goats, chickens, and – wait for it – llamas!

  • Location: Iowa City
  • Sleeps: 4
  • Minimum stay: 2 nights
  • Rates from: $129/night

Book a stay at the Milk House for a peaceful escape to a rural retreat. Lucky Star Farm is a 20-acre working family farm, and guests are invited to explore the property and see the farm in action. During your stay, you can take a stroll along the nature paths, say hello to the farm animals, or head out to the pond for some catch-and-release fishing or to tour around on the included paddleboard. At night, get a fire going in the fire pit to toast up some s’mores.

And if the idyllic setting wasn’t enough of a draw, the beautifully renovated house is the icing on the cake. It’s modern-rustic farmhouse vibes are complemented by modern amenities and a full kitchen. And you’re only a short drive from Iowa City – though you might pass on a trip to the big city once you get into the groove of your farm-style staycation.

“Absolutely loved this place. Great escape and amazing scenery. I loved visiting the animals and sleeping in the cozy loft.”

Rachel, Iowa City, IA
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7. Historic Ausadie Building Apartment

historic apartment airbnb iowa
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: Timeless Midwestern charm at the “Jewel of First Avenue.”

  • Location: Cedar Rapids
  • Sleeps: 3
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $95/night

This beautiful building, built in 1923, is not only registered as a local and national historic property, but also a stunning spot to spend a long weekend exploring Cedar Rapids. The delightfully furnished apartment has stylish decor that matches the vibe of the historic ivy-covered Ausadie Building. And while the indoor spaces provide plenty of luxury, there’s a courtyard with lovely gardens and a pool outside.

The building is in Cedar Rapids Medical and Downtown district and within easy walking distance to restaurants and entertainment. The Cedar River bisects the town, and if you’re looking for nature trails or outdoorsy activities, you can head to one of several city parks lining the riverfront. If you’re willing to take a short drive, Indian Creek Nature Center is a popular option.

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8. Luxury Downtown Condo

Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: Penthouse-style stay with hotel amenities and a mini-library.

  • Location: Des Moines
  • Sleeps: 3
  • Minimum stay: 3 nights
  • Rates from: $150/night

This ninth-floor condo has a decidedly upscale feel, thanks to its artwork, tasteful pops of color, and plush furnishings. The large windows add lots of natural light to this welcoming space and give you great views overlooking downtown Des Moines. And with the hotel bar and lounge areas, private onsite parking, and private gym and recreation area, you get a lot of added amenities during your stay.

The historic 1920’s Liberty Building is smack in the middle of downtown, making it incredibly easy to enjoy all that Des Moines has to offer, which is a lot. From award-winning restaurants to a thriving art and entertainment scene to pedestrian paths along the river, you don’t have to go far to explore the city.

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9. The Grey House

Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: The perfect spot to explore the town by foot, bike, or brewery shuttle.

  • Location: Decorah
  • Sleeps: 6
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $155/night

Don’t be fooled by the name – this little grey house is anything but bland. Thoughtfully remodeled with a minimal but cozy style, the house has everything you need for a perfect stay. And with three private bedrooms, it’s a one of the best airbnbs in Iowa for families who don’t want to share rooms. Downtown Decorah is a short stroll away and is a great spot to find restaurants, bars, breweries, and shopping.

If you’re looking for some fresh air, head out on the Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile trail that loops around the town, offering you views of the Upper Iowa River – you might even spot the famous Decorah bald eagles. In the summer, you can kayak, canoe, tube, and fish along the river. In the winter, bring your cross-country skis or snowshoes for a cold-weather outing.

“Our family adores this stylish little place. The perfect location to enjoy all the best of Decorah.”

Steffoni, Cedar Falls, IA
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10. Iowa Farm Cottage

farm cottage airbnb iowa
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: The picture-perfect farmhouse in Iowa cornfields.

  • Location: Davenport
  • Sleeps: 5
  • Minimum stay: 2 nights
  • Rates from: $99/night

If you’re looking for an authentic Midwestern stay, this farmhouse will certainly be your favorite of the airbnbs in Iowa. The quiet country cottage is on more than three acres and surrounded by cornfields in the heart of a farming community. Should you want to pop into town, you’re a short drive away from coffee shops, restaurants, museums, and theaters in nearby Davenport.

This farmhouse offers the chance to spend less time in front of a screen and more time out in nature. In the summer, you can go blackberry picking, watch the fireflies at night, or sit and put your feet up by the outdoor fire pit. In the fall, you can listen to the rustling leaves and soak in the view over the golden cornfields. If you’re looking for a peaceful place to recharge, this is it.

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Additional Read: 10 Best Airbnbs in Nebraska for a Midwestern Getaway

11. Hidden Hollow

Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: A “Secret Garden”-style retreat with woods and wildlife aplenty.

  • Location: McGregor
  • Sleeps: 6
  • Minimum stay: 2 night
  • Rates from: $230/night

A trip to Hidden Hollow will transport you to a woodland and prairie paradise – 158 acres of paradise, to be exact. Bring your family (both kids and pups are invited) and enjoy the cabin’s cozy indoor spaces and laid-back ambiance.

This comfortable cabin makes a great destination year-round. In the summer, you can enjoy hiking the nature trails, rowing around the small pond with the provided kayaks, or putting your feet up by the fire pit to enjoy the starry night sky. In the winter, bring your snowshoes or cross-country skis to explore the peaceful woods. It’s one of the pricier airbnbs in Iowa, especially considering you’ll have to pay $40 per person per night extra after the first four guests, but it does make for a perfect country getaway.

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Additional Read: The 12 Best & Most Unique Airbnbs in Kansas

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