• Posted Jun 1, 2017

A friend from North Dakota is coming to Central Iowa in late July and is staying at a campground at Saylorville Lake.

He asked "Can you give me suggestions for dinners and cocktails? things to see and do while in the area" He also asked about Firewood.

We thought our response may help others if they are in the area too. We've added as many links as we could to help plan.


The good thing about Saylorville Lake is you can pretty much go any direction and find fun.

The Saylorville Lake Marina has a lake-side bar called Latitude 41. It's an outdoor bar that is pretty much all boaters, but the Neal Smith Trail runs right by it so they are bicycle-friendly too.

There are a couple of bars and a pizza joint in Polk City. The bars are just local dive bars and the pizza is pretty good.

Head East to Ankeny and you have Fire Trucker Brewery (a must stop!). Wheelhouse Pizza is AWESOME and then there is a Fongs (pizza), New American Brewery, Whiskey River and Jethros BBQ Lakehouse in the Prairie Trail development.. All along the bike trail. Kyles Bikes and Bike Country are there too... as in Hy-Vee and several big-box stores for supplies.

Head further East to Bondurant along the Chichaqua Valley Trail and you'll find Founder's Irish Pub and Reclaimed Rails Brewery in Bondurant. Both outstanding places (15 miles from Ankeny). Head another 10 east and the Green Castle bar sets in Mingo. Call to make sure they are open

Head South to Des Moines along the Neal Smith Trail and the options are endless. For beers, I'd recommend El Bait Shop, Iowa Tap Room. For good stops, Captain Roys, Triangle Tap, Mullets, AJ's on East Court and Royal Mile are always good. For a good Iowa meal - you cannot go wrong with the Iowa Tap Room. Looking for something lighter? Tacopacalypse in the East Village near the Capitol.

Want More miles? Head to the Cumming Tap on the Great Western Trail (10 miles one way) from Des Moines. Don't bypass Orlondo's Pizza at the trail head and Outskirtz around 6 miles in. This is where the Tue Taco rides happen, but think they pause for the week of ragbrai.

Head West along the High Trestle Trail where you'll find libations at the Nite Hawk Bar & Grill (Slater), Flat Tire Lounge (Madrid) and the Whistlin Donkey (Woodward). Cayanne's in Woodward also has good breakfast.

Looking for a good meal and some upscale treatment? - Hit up the Hotel Pattee in Perry along the Raccoon River Valley Trail. From there you can hit over 100 miles of trail and towns every 6-10 miles.

Just want a cool ride that is close to Saylorville? Take the Neal Smith Trail to Big Creek State Park. Not too many amenities, but a nice ride.

As for Firewood - As you drive toward the campgrounds there are usually houses selling wood by the road and a few folks sell wood from their pick-up near the Marina. I think there is even a couple of firewood vending machines at some of the campgrounds. The folks at the campgrounds will know.





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