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Fort Dodge, Iowa Travel Guide

Complete Vacation, Recreation and Tourism Information

Fort Dodge is a Des Moines River town with a gypsum mining, industry, and agricultural economy. In the early 1850s Fort Dodge started as frontier post. The town keeps its frontier spirit alive with events throughout the year.

Fort Dodge Historical Foundation and Fort Dodge Museum and Frontier Village preserve original and replicated structures from the fort's early pioneer days. Visitors can explore a trading post, log home, one-room school, jail, blacksmith shop, and general store. Collections of Native American, military, and pioneer artifacts including woodworking tools, historical textbooks, and horse-drawn vehicles are on display through out the village. Also on display is a replica of the Cardiff Giant, a gypsum rock carving that was the center of a famous 19th century hoax perpetuated in Fort Dodge.

The Frontier Days festival in June is three days of parades, re-enactments, pioneer crafts, Native American cultural demonstrations, music and food. Also in June, the International Horse Archery Festival features workshops and demonstrations of archery and horse archery.

Fort Dodge is located 122 miles east of Sioux City and 95 miles northwest of Des Moines. It is accessible via U.S. Highways 20 and 169. Available lodging includes hotels and campgrounds. The towns surrounding the lakes offer art galleries, antique shops, museums, lake-view restaurants, and several amusement parks.


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