Midwest Living Review
Corn might be the first word you think of in relation to the Iowa landscape, but the east-central part of the state hides another one: caves! Maquoketa contains more than a dozen--more than any other state park in Iowa--with evocative names like Twin Arch, Dancehall, Rainy Day and Shinbone. One caveat, though: Call before you visit the park. The caves were closed in 2010 to prevent visitors from transmitting a rampant disease to the resident bats. Though you can explore most of the caves walking upright, some of the smaller ones are best explored on hands and knees. Kids of all ages go wild for these, and while there is a cave wash-off station, it's a good idea to arrive outfitted in older clothes or, if you're a particularly intrepid explorer, to bring a change. Your visit will also be more enjoyable if you have sturdy shoes and a flashlight. The park's trails contain many stairs (a mix of wood and concrete) with handrails. While you will have to contend with some sections that contain rocks and roots, most of the surfaces are easy walking. All trails are clean, well maintained with a gravel surface and clearly marked with names of caves and directional arrows. Interpretive signs and some of the park's lovely features can be seen from flat trails, and the Interpretive Center (open summer weekends) includes a video tour of Maquoketa. A very social atmosphere pervades at Maquoketa; campers enjoy the tidy, shaded campgrounds (29 sites, 17 of which have electric hookups), and multiple picnic areas with shelters and a play structure invite visitors to stay for a friendly meal.