Instead of two girls for every boy, Iowa has eight pigs for every person. But there's a lot more to do here than roll in the mud. The towering bluffs on the Mississippi River and the soaring Loess Hills lining the Missouri River bookend the state; in between you'll find the writers' town of Iowa City, the commune-dwellers of the Amana Colonies and lots of little towns full of highlights.
In fact, Iowa surprises in many ways. It makes or breaks presidential-hopefuls: the Iowa Caucus opens the national election battle and wins by George W Bush in 2000 and Barrack Obama in 2008 stunned many pundits and launched their victorious campaigns. In 2009 the state shirked its staid image by allowing same-sex marriages.