Cedar Rapids named second-best home base city for U.S. road trips

The Gazette

A 1953 Chevrolet passes a cornfield along Highway 6 near Tipton during the fourth annual River to River to
The Gazette A 1953 Chevrolet passes a cornfield along Highway 6 near Tipton during the fourth annual River to River to River Retro Road Trip in 2014. Nearby Cedar Rapids has been named the best starting point for a road trip in the U.S., according to Livability.

The Field of Dreams, the Devonian Fossil Gorge and the Fenelon Place Elevator are some of the best road trip stops in the U.S., according to a new ranking by Livability, and they’re all an easy drive from Cedar Rapids.

The city was named the second-best place to start a road trip in the country last week by Livability, a website that ranks small and mid-size cities.

The ranking considered the “home base cities’” cost of living, central location, scenery and “quirky roadside attractions,” according to a news release.

Cedar Rapids’ easy access to multiple metros — including St. Louis, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Chicago and Kansas City — pushed it near the top of the list.

So did its proximity to Dyersville’s Field of Dreams, Coralville’s fossil gorge and “the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway” in Dubuque.

The Road Trip Cities ranking this year was Livability’s first, the site’s editor-in-chief Winona Dimeo-Ediger said in an email.

“Cedar Rapids is a great place to live if you’re someone who loves doing something totally different (or going somewhere new) every weekend,” she said. “A few years ago I took a 10-hour road trip from Tennessee to Iowa to visit Fong’s Pizza. So I can vouch for Cedar Rapids as not just an amazing jumping off point, but also a great destination.”


The site recommends a route from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City, with a stop at Coralville Lake, before driving to Davenport for lunch and onward to Dubuque to the Fenelon Place Elevator and the Dubuque Arboretum.

Cedar Rapids was second only to Twin Falls, Idaho, where there is easy access to five National Parks.

The other cities that made the list were Chattanooga, Tenn.; Easton, Penn.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; Lawrence, Kan.; Billings, Mont.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Bismarck, N.D.

l Comments: (319) 398-8330;

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.