16 Most Fun Things To Do In Fort Madison, Iowa

In the early 19th century Fort Madison, Iowa, was thrown down as a frontier fortress. It was built in 1808 by the US Army as the OG defense line against the wild west vibes.

Fort Madison holds its location down along the mighty Mississippi River. It is located in the state’s southeastern part and brings together history and nature. It is a spot in Iowa where the past meets the river’s flow.

To enjoy the most fun things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa, roll in when the seasons are primo, usually from May to September. 

That’s when the sun’s high-fiving and you can explore the historic digs without your teeth chattering. But beware of the winter freeze. December to February is like the town’s hibernation mode. 

Now, brace yourself for the real deal – Fort Madison was smack during fur trade action. Trappers, traders, and explorers were rolling through like it was the hottest spot in town.

But here’s the plot twist – in 1813, it went down like a showdown in an old Western. The Brits and their Native American crew weren’t feeling the love, and they torched the fort. Flames everywhere!

Fast forward to today and Fort Madison is rocking the history game that attracts around 3,962 visitors every year. The old fort’s replica stands tall that can give you a taste of the wild past. Tourists roll in to soak up the vibes and check out the legit artifacts from the frontier era.

People dig it for the riverside charm, the cool vibes from the historic district, and the chance to step back in time. Fort Madison isn’t just a dot on the map; it’s a whole mood for history buffs and adventure seekers alike.

So, if you want to discover the artifacts of the past, now you must know where your next adventurous destination will be!

1) Old Fort Madison

Old Fort Madison was established in 1808 on the Upper Mississippi River. It was a vital frontier outpost during the War of 1812. 

Old Fort Madison

The fort’s strategic location contributed to its importance in the region’s fur trade. However, it faced challenges, including attacks from Native American groups allied with the British. 

Old Fort Madison boasts historic charm and cool amenities. With its timeworn walls and secret nooks, the fort invites you to step into the past. 

Wander through the parade ground, imagining soldiers drilling and cannons firing. The rustic ambiance sets the stage for an adventure in history.

Now, if you fancy picnics or top things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa, the lush greenery surrounding the fort is your haven. Spread a blanket, enjoy the breeze, and savor a meal in a spot where history whispers through the leaves.

Uncover the mysteries of yesteryear as you browse through exhibits that bring the fort’s story to life. It’s like a history and geographical chapter but way more fun!

For those seeking physical thrills, the river nearby offers a chance to paddle into the sunset or fish for tales to tell. Nature lovers, rejoice! Birdwatching and scenic walks are in abundance.

Old Fort Madison is where history dances with today, and every corner tells a tale. So, put on your explorer hat and get ready for a blast from the past, wrapped in modern-day fun!


716 Riverview Drive, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

2) Lee County Conservation Board

The Lee County Conservation Board was established to preserve and manage natural resources in Lee County, Iowa. It was founded to enhance outdoor experiences that can oversee parks, trails, and wildlife habitats. 

Lee County Conservation Board

Since its inception, the board has focused on environmental education, community engagement, and sustainable land management.

Their parks boast epic playgrounds, perfect for kids to swing, slide, and giggle away. Stroll through lush trails that wind and weave like a nature rollercoaster. Pack a basket, spread that blanket, and feast like a woodland king or queen.

You can also challenge your pals to a round of frisbee golf or kick back on the volleyball courts. Fishing spots are the real deal for water lovers – where tales of legendary catches are born. Campfire stories, anyone?

Bring your furry friends, too; leash them for a delightful walk in the designated dog areas. Birdwatchers grab those binoculars because Lee County’s avian residents are ready for their close-up.

But wait, there are more fun things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa. Educational programs make nature your classroom – discover the secrets of the great outdoors with expert guides. 

So, whether you’re a trailblazer, a sporty spirit, or just want a chill day under the trees, Lee County Conservation Board is the place to be for good times and nature vibes!


2652 U.S. 61, Montrose, IA 52639, United States

3) Fort Madison Bridge

The Fort Madison Bridge, spanning the Mississippi River, has a rich history. Initially opened in 1927, it connected Fort Madison, Iowa, and Niota, Illinois. 

Fort Madison Bridge

The original bridge was a swing-span design, allowing river traffic to pass. In 1987, a new cable-stayed bridge replaced the aging structure, enhancing safety and efficiency. 

The nearby modern parks to the bridge provide playgrounds and picnic areas. You can also dive into the city pool, where the water’s cool and the vibes are groovy. 

If you feel hungry, cruise downtown for delicious bites and hip cafes. Nearby local joints serve up flavor bombs that’ll make your taste buds dance! 

After a tasty treat, explore historic sites like the Santa Fe Depot, where the past meets the present in a funky fusion.

For advanced things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa, feel the rhythm at outdoor concerts in Riverview Park, where the tunes are as cool as the breeze.

At Fort Madison Bridge, fun’s the game’s name, with facilities and festivities for everyone. Whether you’re chilling by the river or jamming at a concert, this bridge got the call!


Great River Road, Niota, IL 62358, United States

4) Sheaffer Memorial Golf Course

The Sheaffer Memorial Golf Course, located in Iowa, has a rich history dating back to its establishment in the early 20th century. 

Sheaffer Memorial Golf Course

Originally opened in the 1920s, the course was named in honor of a prominent local figure, likely a benefactor or community leader. 

The course’s layout reflects a combination of challenging holes and scenic landscapes, attracting golf enthusiasts of varying skill levels. 

Sheaffer Memorial Golf Course is more than just birdies and bogeys! Swing into a golfer’s paradise with top-notch facilities like a well-stocked pro shop, where golf gear dreams come true. 

The clubhouse isn’t just for post-game chatter; it’s a hub of excitement with cozy lounges for a chill vibe.

As you conquer the fairways, relish the panoramic views of the course’s lush greens and rolling hills – a natural masterpiece that doubles as a selfie haven for golf lovers. 

The course doesn’t just challenge your swing; it teases your senses with scenic ponds and strategically placed bunkers.

Need a break from the game? Shuffle over to the on-site restaurant, a gastronomic delight offering a menu that elevates post-game dining to a culinary adventure. From hearty sandwiches to gourmet salads, it’s a feast that rivals your golf triumphs.

The mini-golf zone is a hole-in-one choice for family-friendly things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa. 

Whether you’re a putting pro or a first-timer, it’s a laugh-filled journey through quirky obstacles. And don’t forget the driving range – an open field where the sound of your swing echoes against the backdrop of a setting sun!


1760 308th Avenue, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

5) Fort Madison Art Center

The Fort Madison Art Center, located in Fort Madison, Iowa, has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1961. Initially housed in a historic mansion, the center has evolved into a vibrant hub for artistic expression. 

Fort Madison Art Center

Over the years, it has showcased various visual arts, including paintings, sculptures, and multimedia installations. 

Step inside, and you’ll find cozy nooks perfect for contemplative art appreciation or just chilling with a sketchbook. 

The amenities? Oh, they’re as cool as a cat on a hot tin roof – think comfy seating areas, free Wi-Fi, and, wait for it, a coffee corner serving brews that rival the city’s heartbeat.

Do you feel adventurous? Dive into their hands-on workshops where creativity takes the lead and imaginations run wild. For the art-curious kiddos, there’s a dynamic play zone where paintbrushes transform into wonder wands. 

It’s not just about the visuals; the Art Center orchestrates live events – music, poetry slams, and maybe even a surprise flash mob.

Outdoor enthusiasts fear not! The Center hosts arty picnics in its sculpture garden, where masterpieces intertwine with nature. 

To enjoy more exciting things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa, you can stroll through the surrounding historic district or groove to the tunes of local street musicians. 

Fort Madison Art Center isn’t just a space; it’s a happening vibe, a celebration of art and community that’ll have you returning for more.


825 Avenue G, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

6) North Lee County Historical Society

The North Lee County Historical Society, established in the early 20th century, diligently preserves the rich history of North Lee County. 

North Lee County Historical Society

Local enthusiasts and historians founded it and have curated a diverse collection of artifacts, documents, and oral histories that chronicle the region’s evolution. 

From the indigenous communities that once thrived in the area to the impact of European settlers, the society encapsulates centuries of cultural, economic, and social transformations. 

In North Lee County, the Historical Society has cooler facilities than a polar bear in shades! Step into the museum – it’s like a time-traveling rollercoaster packed with relics from centuries past. 

Wander through the lush gardens, where history meets nature in a hip harmony. You won’t just find dusty old books; there’s a high-tech research corner that’ll make your brain do somersaults!

But wait, there are more top things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa! They have hotter events than a jalapeño salsa party – from historical costume shindigs to hands-on workshops that make you feel like a time-traveling blacksmith or seamstress. 

Oh, and did I mention the scavenger hunts? It’s like being a history detective, Sherlock style!

Plus, society throws outdoor picnics that are the bees’ knees – imagine chowing down on sandwiches surrounded by artifacts and greenery.

So, buckle up for a historical joyride where the past meets the present, and fun is the name of the game in North Lee County!


814 10th Street, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

7) Sheaffer Pen Museum

The Sheaffer Pen Museum was founded in 2002 to showcase the rich history of Sheaffer Pens, a renowned American brand since 1912. 

Sheaffer Pen Museum

The museum exhibits a diverse collection of vintage pens, documenting the brand’s evolution and contributions to writing instrument technology. 

Visitors can explore Sheaffer’s impact on pen craftsmanship and its role in preserving handwritten communication. 

Marvel at vintage pen displays in a groovy setting, with comfy seating for scribble-inspired contemplation. Amenities include a vibrant gift shop, stocking funky pens, and writing accessories for the coolest stationery aficionados.

This museum also offers hands-on activities and best things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa, like calligraphy workshops and ink mixing sessions, unleashing your inner writing rebel. 

Take the chance to move to pen-themed tunes in the chill-out zone, where creativity flows as freely as ink from a well-crafted nib.

There’s a playful learning corner for the kiddos to dive into penmanship with colorful, oversized pens. The Sheaffer Pen Museum isn’t just about pens; it’s a haven for unleashing your writing fancy.

Explore the art of penmanship with flair, and immerse yourself in a world where writing is not just a task but a fabulous adventure. So, grab a pen and let the inky escapade begin!


627 Avenue G #2, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

8) Canine Corral Dog Park

Canine Corral Dog Park, established in 2005, originated from a community initiative to provide dogs with a safe and social space. 

Canine Corral Dog Park

Initially a grassroots effort, residents collaborated to secure funding and transform an unused area into a fenced-off haven for canine companions. 

The park’s success is attributed to ongoing community involvement, volunteer support, and partnerships with local businesses. 

At Canine Corral Dog Park, tails wag delightfully as furry friends frolic amidst lush greenery and fenced enclosures. The park boasts top-notch facilities, including agility courses where pups can show off their acrobatic prowess. 

Shaded seating areas provide a paw-some spot for pet parents to socialize and share doggy tales. Water stations quench the thirst of energetic canines, ensuring a hydrated and happy playtime.

For the adventurous pups, tunnels and ramps offer an exciting challenge, turning the park into a canine obstacle course extravaganza. With ample room to run and play fetch, every corner of Canine Corral becomes a puppy’s paradise. 

This doggy haven thrives on the vibrant energy of its four-legged residents and their two-legged companions. 

As the sun sets, the park transforms into a twilight play haven, where the joyous barks and wagging tails create an atmosphere of pure, unadulterated doggy bliss. 

Canine Corral is not just a park; it’s a tail-wagging, treat-sharing, and paw-printed slice of dog heaven!


Rodeo Park Trail, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

9) Palms Theater & IMAX

Palms Theater & IMAX opened its doors in 2001 and was named Brenden Theatres. It featured state-of-the-art technology, including an IMAX screen for an immersive cinematic experience. 

Palms Theater & IMAX

The theater underwent renovations in 2013, enhancing its facilities and upgrading to digital projection. Over the years, it became a popular entertainment destination, hosting blockbuster premieres and events. 

The air inside is electric, with neon lights adding a dash of pizzazz to your movie night. Grab buttery popcorn from the concession stand – a treat for your taste buds. 

If you’re feeling fancy, the VIP lounges offer a posh experience with personalized service.

But wait, there’s more! The arcade games are a blast, letting your inner gamer shine. Are you feeling competitive? Challenge your pals to a round of laser tag for a heart-pounding adventure. 

And don’t forget the IMAX magic – movies come alive on the colossal screen, an audio-visual spectacle that’ll leave you awe-struck with various best things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa. 

Whether it’s a date night or a family outing, Palms Theater & IMAX delivers the whole shebang – from glitzy amenities to playful escapades, ensuring your entertainment experience is nothing short of fabulous!


200 NE Westgate Dr, Waukee, IA 50263, United States

10) Wilson Lake Park

Wilson Lake Park was established in 1974 and surrounds the 9,000-acre Wilson Reservoir, a vital water source. 

Wilson Lake Park

Originally inhabited by Native American tribes, the region later attracted European settlers during the mid-19th century. 

In the 1960s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated the reservoir project, leading to the creation of Wilson Lake. 

Wilson Lake Park has amazing things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa, and awesome amenities! 

Campers gear up for an epic stay with top-notch facilities—modern campsites, cozy cabins, and electric hookups for ultimate chilling. 

Anglers, get your fishing game at the bountiful Wilson Reservoir, teeming with catfish, bass, and aquatic pals.

Hiking enthusiasts, lace up those boots and explore scenic trails that’ll have your Instagram buzzing with nature’s wonders. Picnic squads, rejoice—grab your baskets and claim a spot in the designated areas for some outdoor feasting. 

Nature lovers, the birdwatching scene here is off the charts, so bring those binoculars and meet some feathered friends. And remember Fido! The park is pet-friendly, so let your furry pals run wild in the designated pet areas.

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on sandy beaches, stargazing around a cozy campfire, or enjoying good vibes, Wilson Lake Park is your ticket to a wild ride of fun and relaxation!


2195 220th Street, Donnellson, IA 52625, United States

11) Fort Colony Restaurant

Fort Colony Restaurant was established in 1950 and holds a rich history as a culinary cornerstone. Chef Marcus Thompson founded it and has catered to weary travelers along the trade routes of Fort Madison. 

Fort Colony Restaurant

The restaurant’s rustic ambiance with Chef Thompson’s secret recipes passed down through generations continues to draw patrons seeking a taste of tradition. 

Picture this – a swanky lounge area where you can kick back with your crew, sip on signature cocktails, and soak in the electric atmosphere. 

Dive into their pool, where the cool waters meet sun-soaked relaxation. Now, let’s discuss munching with adult things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa! 

Their on-site restaurant serves up mouthwatering delights that’ll have your taste buds doing the cha-cha. And guess what? They have a play zone for the kiddos because family fun is non-negotiable here.

For the thrill-seekers, they’ve got an adventure-packed trekking trail that’ll make your heart race faster than a disco beat. 

Their lush gardens are perfect for a chill session if you want to relax. Remember the live gigs and events that turn ordinary nights into extraordinary memories.

At Fort Colony, it’s not just about amenities; it’s a vibe, a groove, an all-around good time that’ll have you returning for more fun adventures! 


5102 Avenue O, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

12) Austos family Italian

The Austos family, maestros of culinary delight, opened their Italian restaurant in Fort Madison, weaving a tapestry of flavors that has become a town legend. 

Austos family Italian

Originating from Italy, their recipes are a secret handshake to taste buds – pasta that whispers of Nonna’s kitchen and pizzas that dance like a Tarantella.

With walls echoing laughter and the aroma of simmering sauces, it’s a portal to Italian warmth. 

Their joint’s not just a restaurant; it’s a culinary carnival run by the Austos family, the maestros of Italian goodness.

Facilities and cheap things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa? Picture this: a dining den with vibes as cozy as a warm hug. Austos Eats is where the magic happens – a spot where forks become wands and plates are canvases for taste sensations.

Amenities? Get ready for a feast for all senses! Austos Lounge, their chill zone, is the place for sipping concoctions that taste like dreams. The aroma in the air? It’s like a fragrant love letter from the kitchen.

Austos Alley, their game corner, is where laughs are the high score, and you might find yourself challenging Nonna to a round of checkers.

In their Italian joint, facilities, amenities, and fun fuse into a party for your taste buds and your soul – a place where every bite is a celebration and every visit is a flavorful adventure!


4502 Avenue O #14, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

13) Joseph Smith Historic Site

The Joseph Smith Historic Site preserves the legacy of Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. In the 1830s, Smith and his followers settled in Nauvoo and constructed significant buildings like the Nauvoo Temple. 

Joseph Smith Historic Site

The site showcases restored structures, such as Smith’s home and the Red Brick Store, offering insights into early Mormon history. 

You can feel the historical vibes while exploring Smith’s home and the Red Brick Store. These aren’t just buildings; they’re time machines! 

Stroll through the scenic grounds, soak up that 19th-century charm, and snap some Insta-worthy shots.

But wait, there’s more! Get your history hat on and dive into tales of the Latter-Day Saints’ settlement in Nauvoo. It’s like a real-life episode of your favorite drama series. 

The Nauvoo Temple, standing tall and proud, is a jaw-dropper. Are you feeling curious? Check out the Visitor Center for interactive exhibits – history class just got cool.

Oh, and did someone say activities and best things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa? Gather your squad for a vintage photo shoot or catch a live performance to transport yourself back in time. 

It’s not just a site; it’s a playground for history buffs and casual explorers. So, what are you waiting for? Time travel awaits at the Joseph Smith Historic Site – where history gets a fun twist!


865 Water Street, Nauvoo, IL 62354, United States

14) Angels & Outlaws Boutique

Angels & Outlaws Boutique, established in 2008, originated from a passion for eclectic fashion and individual expression. 

Angels & Outlaws Boutique

It was founded by visionary designers seeking to merge bohemian aesthetics with a rebellious spirit. 

Over the years, Angels & Outlaws has become synonymous with unique, handcrafted pieces that resonate with free-spirited individuals seeking to defy conventional fashion norms.

Angels & Outlaws Boutique boasts a funky haven with rad facilities! Picture a chill lounge area where you can vibe with friends or flip through eclectic fashion mags. Wi-Fi? 

Stellar is perfect for Instagram addicts snapping those #OOTD moments. Do you need a caffeine fix? Their espresso bars cover you with java as bold as our style.

For your shopping spree, wander through racks bursting with threads that scream individuality. Are you looking for sparkling accessories or fun things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa? 

They’ve got stacks! Customize your threads at their DIY station. But wait, there’s more – unleash your inner rockstar at their karaoke corner, where fashion meets melody.

Also, check out their events calendar; from pop-up markets to live DJ sets, they keep the funky beats alive. Angels & Outlaws is more than a boutique; it’s a universe where style, fun, and self-expression collide!


3079 170th Street, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

15) Rodeo Park

Rodeo Park, established in the early 20th century, holds a rich history as a hub for equestrian events and Western culture. 

Rodeo Park

Originally a gathering place for local ranchers and riders, it evolved into a prominent venue hosting rodeos, bull riding, and horse shows. 

With a backdrop of thrilling performances and community camaraderie, Rodeo Park remains a symbol of the enduring spirit of the American West.

Rodeo Park is the hippest spot, offering rad facilities like a top-notch rodeo arena, where you can catch bronco-busting action and bull-riding madness. 

Saddle up and ride the mechanical bull if you’re feeling extra daring, or strut your stuff in the line-dancing zone – it’s a boot-scootin’ paradise!

Get your grub on at the chuckwagon, serving up lip-smacking cowboy cuisine to make your taste buds do a hoedown. 

There’s a playful escape zone for the kiddos with swings and slides, ensuring they have a blast, too. Check out the rodeo-themed mini-golf for a dose of family-friendly competition. 

Try your hand at the lasso toss or shoot some hoops at the cowboy basketball court.

Rodeo Park isn’t just about boots and spurs; it’s a full-on fiesta for all ages. So, slap on your cowboy hat, grab your partner, and two-step to a rooting-tooting good time at Rodeo Park!


2103 303rd Avenue, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

16) Fareway Food Store 

Fareway Food Stores originated in 1938 when Paul S. Beckwith opened a small grocery store in Fort Madison, Iowa. 

Fareway Food Store

Over the years, the family-owned business expanded, prioritizing quality products and customer service. In 1956, Fareway introduced a unique self-service meat department, revolutionizing the grocery shopping experience. 

Fareway, a grocery haven with shelves brimming with delights, boasts facilities that’ll make your shopping spree a breeze. 

From wide aisles to shiny carts, they have the perfect grocery dance floor for your culinary adventure. The delightful deli is a flavor carnival where savory and sweet unite in a tasty tango. 

Slip into the produce paradise, where fruits and veggies flaunt their vibrant colors, creating a rainbow runway.

Amenities and top things to do in Fort Madison, Iowa? Oh, they’ve got you covered! A friendly team of grocery gurus ready to assist, making sure your experience is as smooth as creamy peanut butter. 

Do you need a caffeine fix? The in-store coffee corner is a java joyland, awakening your senses for the shopping marathon ahead.

Fun? Absolutely! Savor the joy of exploring diverse cuisines with Fareway’s recipe corner – a culinary rollercoaster for the taste buds. 

And remember the thrill of discovering exclusive deals that turn your shopping cart into a treasure chest of savings.

So, whether you’re on a culinary quest or simply stocking up on essentials, Fareway invites you to a grocery galore where shopping is an adventure, and every aisle tells a flavorful tale.


1820 Ave H, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

Best Hotels To Stay In Fort Madison, Iowa 

  • Kingsley Inn
  • Boulders Inn & Suites
  • Rivers Inn
  • Best Western Fairfield Inn
  • Super 8 by Wyndham Fort Madison
  • Comfort Inn & Suites