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FORT DODGE, Iowa — When it comes to a summer get-away, you can go far or stay closer to home. A trip to Fort Dodge has something for just about everyone.

The iconic Fort Dodge museum shows how the community was founded at first as a wooden fort built in 1850 not far from the banks of the Des Moines River.

The fort was named for Henry Dodge, the Territorial Governor of the Wisconsin Territory. Soldiers stationed here only made $7 per month, but there was no place to spend the money in the area. Around 33 soldiers deserted service and left for the Gold Rush in California.

Fort Dodge is also now known for some giant art. The photo-real paintings on the side of a grain silo by Guido Van Helten are literally a work to behold.

“Art has always been part of the Fort Dodge history and a lot of people don’t realize that you’ve had quite significant grouping of artists have actually lived here and worked here,” said Eric Anderson, Director of the Blandon Art Museums. “To honor the 100th anniversary of the Woman Suffrage Movement, and the signing of the 19th Amendment, we put together this exhibit called Creating Unity a Centennial Celebration.”

The area also has Dolliver State Park along the Des Moines River southeast of Fort Dodge. This park has bluffs carved over time, great for hiking and camping.

For those who like to take their bike or 4-wheeler off-road, there is the Gypsum City OHV Park. This former gypsum quarry now has miles of trails for the off-road enthusiast.

For a day of family fun, there is Fort Frenzy. This game center has not only many arcade games but go-carts and mini-golf.

“We’ll pull anywhere from an hour to two hours away to come just in Fort Dodge and see us here,” said Jordan McCubbin, Fort Frenzy Manager. “We offer one of the few Go-cart tracks in this part of the state, operating one of the largest arcades in this part of the state.”

For more information about visiting Fort Dodge, click here.