11 Most Fun Things To Do In Keokuk, Iowa

Keokuk is a captivating city along the banks of the majestic Mississippi River. The city is brimming with history, natural beauty, and a warm Midwestern charm. 

With its rich historical heritage, a diverse range of attractions, and a welcoming community, Keokuk has become a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from near and far.

Founded in 1837, Keokuk has deep roots in American history. It played a significant role during the Civil War, serving as a vital Union Army supply depot. 

The city is also renowned for its remarkable hydraulic dam system, including Lock and Dam No. 19, which continues to facilitate river transportation along the Mississippi. Keokuk proudly celebrates its heritage through museums, monuments, and annual events.

Annually, Keokuk attracts thousands of visitors eager to explore its historical sites, immerse themselves in outdoor activities, and partake in its vibrant local culture. The city’s diverse offerings make it a sought-after destination for both history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Keokuk’s appeal lies in its unique blend of experiences. From touring Civil War-era sites to birdwatching at the Keokuk-Hamilton Dam and savoring local cuisine, there’s something for everyone. 

Keokuk experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are warm and pleasant, making it an ideal time to explore outdoor attractions and enjoy riverboat cruises. Fall brings colorful foliage, making it a picturesque season for hiking. 

Winters can be chilly, but the Bald Eagle Appreciation Days in January are worth braving the cold. Spring offers milder temperatures and budding flowers, making it a lovely time for leisurely walks and outdoor adventures. Overall, late spring through early fall is the best time to visit Keokuk for a well-rounded experience.

From its rich historical heritage to its beautiful natural surroundings, Keokuk has something for everyone to enjoy. If you’re planning a trip to this hidden gem in the Hawkeye State, here are the 11 most fun things to do in Keokuk, Iowa.

1. Lock and Dam No. 19

One of Keokuk’s most iconic landmarks is the Lock and Dam No. 19. It is an important part of the Mississippi River’s history. It’s located near Keokuk, Iowa. The dam was built to help boats travel up and down the river. Construction started in the 1910s and finished in the 1920s.

Lock and Dam No. 19

Lock and Dam No. 19 was the largest electricity-generating plant in the world when it was built. It used the power of the flowing river to create electricity.

The dam is also famous for being the first place to use “roller gates.” These gates are like big wheels that control the water flow. This technology was a big deal back then and helped improve navigation on the river.

Today, Lock and Dam No. 19 is still operational, and it’s a popular spot for tourists to visit. People can see how it works and learn about its history. It’s a living piece of the past that continues to serve an important role in the region.


525 N. Water St. Keokuk, IA 52632, United States

2. George M. Verity River Museum

The George M. Verity River Museum is a fascinating place to learn about riverboat history. It’s located in Keokuk, Iowa, on a real retired riverboat called the “George M. Verity.”

George M. Verity River Museum

The museum showcases artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of riverboat commerce on the Mississippi River. The George M. Verity, the boat itself, used to carry goods up and down the river.

The museum isn’t just about looking at things. It’s an actual boat that you can explore. You can walk on its deck, go inside, and see how life was on a riverboat and experience new things to do in Keokuk.

The museum also has interactive displays, so you can learn by doing. It’s a hands-on way to understand the history of the Mississippi River and the important role that riverboats played in the past.

Visiting the George M. Verity River Museum is like stepping back in time and experiencing a piece of the river’s history up close. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the rich heritage of river travel.


200 Mississippi Dr, Keokuk, IA 52632, United States

3. Grand Anne Bed & Breakfast

The Grand Anne Bed & Breakfast is a charming and historic place to stay in Keokuk, Iowa. It’s known for its elegant accommodations and rich history.

Grand Anne Bed & Breakfast

This beautiful mansion was built in 1897 by a prominent businessman named Samuel A. Rice. It’s a stunning example of Victorian architecture.

The mansion has been carefully restored to its former glory. When you stay at the Grand Anne, you can experience the grandeur and craftsmanship of a bygone era.

The bed and breakfast offers comfortable rooms, delicious breakfasts, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It’s a popular choice for travelers who want a unique and memorable place to stay while having a great experience trying out different things to do in Keokuk. 

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a relaxing retreat, the Grand Anne Bed & Breakfast offers a cozy and historical escape in the heart of Keokuk. It’s a place where you can step back in time while enjoying modern comforts.


816 Grand Ave, Keokuk, IA 52632, United States

4. Mississippi River Trail

The Mississippi River Trail is a scenic pathway that follows the course of the mighty Mississippi River. It spans over 3,000 miles, offering breathtaking views and opportunities for outdoor activities.

Mississippi River Trail

This trail has a rich history, originally envisioned as a way to celebrate the river’s heritage and promote cycling and outdoor recreation. It connects ten states, from Minnesota to Louisiana, allowing people to experience the beauty and culture along the river.

The Mississippi River Trail is that it passes through numerous historic towns and landmarks. Cyclists, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts can explore charming things to do in Keokuk communities, historic sites, and natural wonders along the way.

The trail is a popular destination for those seeking adventure and connection with the great outdoors. Whether you’re biking, hiking, or simply taking a leisurely stroll, the Mississippi River Trail offers a unique and scenic experience for all who embark on its path. 


3503 Mississippi River Rd. Keokuk, IA 52632, United States

5. Rand Park

Rand Park is a delightful green space with a rich history and exciting features for visitors to enjoy. Rand Park was originally established in 1881 and has been a beloved recreational area for over a century. It was named after Thomas Jefferson Rand, a prominent figure in Keokuk’s history.

Rand Park

Rand Park covers approximately 200 acres, making it one of the largest parks in the area. Within the park, you’ll find various attractions, including playgrounds, picnic areas, and a beautifully maintained rose garden.

The park also offers a scenic nine-hole golf course, making it a popular spot for golf enthusiasts. It’s an ideal place for a round of golf while surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Throughout the year, Rand Park hosts events and activities that bring the community together. From outdoor concerts to family-friendly festivals, there’s always something happening in this vibrant green space.

Rand Park is a testament to Keokuk’s commitment to providing a beautiful and enjoyable environment for residents and visitors alike. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll, a family picnic, or a round of golf, Rand Park has something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy new things to do in Keokuk.


1401 Stripe St, Keokuk, IA 52632, United States

6. Keokuk National Cemetery

Keokuk National Cemetery, located in Keokuk, Iowa, holds a significant place in American history and serves as a final resting place for many brave individuals.

Keokuk National Cemetery

Established during the American Civil War in 1862, this cemetery was originally intended to provide a dignified burial site for Union soldiers who had perished in the conflict. It remains a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made during that tumultuous period.

One interesting fact is that the cemetery contains the remains of soldiers from various states, not just Iowa. It’s a symbol of national unity and honor for those who fought to preserve the United States.

Today, Keokuk National Cemetery continues to serve as a burial ground for veterans from various eras, including World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. It is meticulously maintained and cared for by the National Cemetery Administration.

Visitors to the cemetery can pay their respects to these heroes, and every Memorial Day, the community gathers to honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to their country.

Keokuk National Cemetery stands as a testament to the nation’s gratitude and commitment to preserving the memory of those who have served, making it a place of reverence and reflection.


1701 J St., Keokuk, IA 52632, United States

7. Keokuk-Hamilton Dam

The Keokuk-Hamilton Dam is a remarkable structure with a rich history and several interesting facts. The dam was constructed in the late 1910s and early 1920s as part of a larger project to improve navigation on the Mississippi River. 

Keokuk-Hamilton Dam

It was named after Lewis Hamilton, an engineer who played a significant role in the dam’s design and construction. Keokuk-Hamilton Dam is that it’s an enormous structure. 

It spans the Mississippi River, creating a reservoir known as Lake Cooper. The dam’s main purpose is to maintain a consistent water level upstream, aiding river transportation.

The dam is not just about navigation; it’s also an important source of electricity. It was one of the first hydroelectric power plants on the Mississippi River, producing clean energy from the river’s flow.

The area around the dam has become a haven for birdwatchers. Migratory birds, including bald eagles, gather here during certain times of the year, making it a prime spot for observing these majestic birds and experiencing charming things to do in Keokuk.

The dam and Lake Cooper offer opportunities for fishing, boating, and other water-related activities. It’s a popular destination for both locals and tourists looking to enjoy the great outdoors.

The Keokuk-Hamilton Dam is not only an engineering marvel but also a place of natural beauty and outdoor recreation, making it a must-visit destination in Keokuk, Iowa.


428 Main St, Keokuk, IA 52632, United States

8. Joystix Rockade

Joystix Rockade is a unique and exciting place with a history and several interesting facts that make it a popular destination for gamers and nostalgia enthusiasts.

Joystix Rockade

Founded in 1987, Joystix Rockade has been a prominent arcade and pinball destination for decades. It started as a small arcade and has since evolved into a multifaceted entertainment center.

Joystix Rockade boasts an extensive collection of vintage arcade games and pinball machines. Visitors can enjoy classics like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Street Fighter, creating a nostalgic gaming experience among other things to do in Keokuk.

Joystix Rockade hosts a special event called the “Twice a Month Open House,” where the public can come in and play all the games for a single admission fee. This unique tradition has been going on for years and has garnered a dedicated following.

The venue also caters to private events, offering a one-of-a-kind setting for parties and gatherings. It’s a fantastic place for those looking to celebrate special occasions in a retro gaming atmosphere.

Joystix Rockade continues to be a beloved destination for gamers of all ages, providing a fun and immersive experience that celebrates the golden era of arcade gaming. 

It’s a must-visit spot for anyone looking to relive the excitement of classic video games and pinball machines.


714 Main St. Keokuk, IA 52632, United States

9. V’s Restaurant and Brewpub

V’s Restaurant and Brewpub, located in Ashburn, Virginia, is a delightful establishment with a rich history and several interesting facts that make it a popular destination for food and beer enthusiasts.

V’s Restaurant and Brewpub

Founded in 1997, V’s Restaurant and Brewpub has been a staple of the Ashburn community for over two decades. It was one of the first brewpubs to open in Loudoun County, offering a unique blend of craft beer and delicious cuisine.

One fascinating fact is that V’s is known for its exceptional craft beer selection. They brew a variety of beer styles on-site, including IPAs, stouts, and lagers, providing guests with a diverse and flavorful experience.

V’s takes pride in its farm-to-table approach to dining, emphasizing fresh, locally sourced ingredients. This commitment to quality and sustainability is reflected in their diverse menu, which includes dishes inspired by global cuisines.

The brewpub actively engages with the local community by hosting events, fundraisers, and supporting charitable causes. It’s not just a place to eat and drink but a hub for community connections and trying out new things to do in Keokuk.

V’s Restaurant and Brewpub continues to be a beloved gathering spot for those seeking delicious food, craft beer, and a welcoming atmosphere. 

Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or simply looking for a great meal, V’s offers a memorable dining experience rooted in history and culinary excellence.


3461 Main St, Keokuk, IA 52632, United States

10. Southside Boat Club Riverboat Cruise

The Southside Boat Club Riverboat Cruise, situated in Keokuk, Iowa, offers a captivating experience on the Mississippi River with a history and intriguing details that make it a popular attraction.

Southside Boat Club Riverboat Cruise

The Southside Boat Club was founded in 1946. It played a significant role in the development of recreational boating in the region. In the 1970s, they introduced riverboat cruises to share the beauty of the Mississippi with the public.

The riverboat cruises offer a glimpse into the rich history and scenic beauty of the Mississippi. Passengers can enjoy narrated tours, delicious meals, and live entertainment while taking in breathtaking views.

The Southside Boat Club offers a variety of cruises, including daytime sightseeing cruises, sunset cruises, and special event cruises. There are options for every taste and occasion.

The boat club is deeply involved in the community, hosting charity events and supporting local causes. They contribute to the vibrant cultural life of Keokuk, offering several new things to do in Keokuk.

The Southside Boat Club Riverboat Cruise is not just a leisurely ride on the river but an opportunity to connect with the history and natural splendor of the Mississippi. It’s a memorable experience that combines relaxation, education, and entertainment.


625 Mississippi Dr, Keokuk, IA 52632, United States

11. Lost Canvas

The Lost Canvas holds a unique place in the city’s history. This fascinating attraction, as described on Wikipedia, is an intriguing blend of art and history.

Lost Canvas

During the 19th century, Keokuk was a bustling river town, and the Lost Canvas was once part of a grand theater. Built in 1885, the theater hosted a variety of performances, from plays to musical acts. However, a fire in 1919 left only the impressive stage backdrop, which came to be known as the Lost Canvas.

Today, this historic relic is on display at the Keokuk Art Center. It showcases intricate hand-painted scenes from famous plays, adding a touch of elegance to the town’s artistic heritage.

What’s truly captivating about the Lost Canvas is the meticulous detail in the paintings. Visitors are transported to a bygone era as they gaze upon these masterpieces.

So, if you’re ever in Keokuk, Iowa, make sure to visit the Lost Canvas. It’s a window into the past and a testament to the enduring beauty of art and history.


719 Main St, Keokuk, IA 52632, United States


Keokuk, Iowa, may not be the most well-known destination, but it’s filled with hidden treasures and enjoyable activities for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply relaxing by the river, Keokuk has something to offer. 
Plan your visit and discover the charm of this lovely Mississippi River town and know what are the best things to do in Keokuk, Iowa.