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10 Best Family Friendly Stops Where Iowa Started

Get the family together for a day of fun and exploration in the Dubuque area!

Voted on by Travel Dubuque's followers, these are the top 10 favorite family friendly destinations in the Dubuque area.

Proving Grounds TMBR PHOTO: @tmbrtrails

Proving Grounds

Pack up the family and bikes and hit the trails at Proving Grounds, Dubuque’s newest mountain bike park. Named after the area of land once used by John Deere Dubuque Works to ‘prove’ and test equipment. This trail system has a beginner loop, a mix of blue and black trails, and a small skills park.


Backpocket Brewing & Beercade

This brewery’s lower level is filled with retro arcade games, including pinball, Pac-Man, air hockey, skee ball, and a whole lot more. With a variety of tacos, mac and cheese, wings, and kid-friendly drinks, this is the perfect stop for family fun.

River Museum

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

One of two Smithsonian affiliated museums in Dubuque, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is a must-see when traveling to the area with family in tow. Interactive displays, curious critters, and an outdoor campus with river views are all included with the price of admission!

Creative Adventure Lab

Creative Adventure Lab

Whether traveling with kids who need to get their wiggles out, or children who enjoy setting their mind to a creative project, Creative Adventure Lab has something for everyone. From a rock wall and Lego Lab to pottery painting and virtual reality - add these adventures to your next Dubuque vacation.

Bustin Axe

Bustin' Axe Throwing Range

Taking the number 5 spot, Bustin’ Axe is a great place for families traveling with kids over the age of 12. Experience one of the newest past times of ax throwing in historic downtown Dubuque. With multiple throwing ranges, Bustin’ Axe can accommodate large to small groups!

Julien Dubuque Monument Mines Of Spain PHOTO: @iowasphotographer

Mines of Spain Recreation Area

With 1,437 acres of history and nature, it’s understandable why Mines of Spain is a family favorite. Whether looking for a day of hiking or stopping by for a quick visit, this state park is a must-see on a trek through #WhereIowaStarted. Check out the Woodland Walk or Julien Dubuque Monument for quick visits, or the many miles of hiking for a full day of explorations.

Dubuque Farmers Market Food

Dubuque Farmers' Market

Did you know Dubuque is home to Iowa’s longest-running market? The Dubuque Farmers’ Market takes place Saturdays May - October. Stop by for breakfast, locally grown produce, or the many artisans who sell their goods along the historic streets of Downtown Dubuque.

Swiss Valey

Swiss Valley Nature Preserve

Located on the outskirts of Dubuque is the Swiss Valley Nature Preserve. Hiking trails, a stocked trout stream, wetland areas, and prairies are waiting to be explored. For even more fun, stop by the nature center which features interpretive displays about wildlife, ecology, and natural history.

boy laughing arboretum dubuque

Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Reset with a walk through the grounds of Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. With a variety of gardens and flower beds to explore (for free!), there is something to see at every turn. Need to burn off some energy? Check out the playground located just past the Visitor’s Center.

Carnegie Stout Public Libray PHOTO: Carnegie Stout Public Libray

Carnegie-Stout Public Library Maker Space

Let all of your creative energy out at the Maker Space located on the second floor of the Carnegie-Stout Public Library. With a 3D printer, craft supplies, laser cutting, and more, imaginations can run wild. The library is also worth visiting as it is a local landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places and has been operating since 1902.