Fort Madison's history dates back to early 1800s and comes alive inside Old Fort Madison, where visitors can admire the reconstructed first military outpost on the Upper Mississippi River alongside weapon, clothing and equipment demonstrations. Experience more area history with a drive around the 1839 Historic Iowa State Penitentiary or a visit to the Fort Madison Amtrak Depot, the North Lee County Historical Society and the CB&Q Depot.
Outdoor Adventures & Exciting Eateries
Explore the area by driving the Lake Cooper Loop, a 50-mile route that goes around the Mississippi River and through six river towns. Hop on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway for more road tripping fun. Or stretch your legs with a hike on the trails along the P.O.R.T. of Fort Madison paths through town. Otherwise, camp, hike, bike, fish or kayak in one of the community's many parks.
Once you've built up an appetite, try a taste of Fort Madison at Horan's Cabaret, a 50-year-old Irish restaurant and bar. Sample a rotating menu of fusion favorites inside a replica caboose at Mama Knows, enjoy a classic greasy-spoon meal at Jake and Walt's Fort Diner. Stop by Lost Duck Brewing to enjoy classic pub fair and occasional wild game specialties along with their craft beers.
Fort Madison is one of two county seats for North Lee County, which is the only county is the state with two separate seats of government. Fort Madison is also known as Iowa's oldest Mexican settlement due to its railroad roots, and is now home to various Latino holiday and traditions including the annual Mexican Fiesta. The community is also home to the famous Tri-State Rodeo, which is today known as the best rodeo within the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's Great Lake Circuit.