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We all know that Father’s Day will be a little different this year. Fortunately, there are still so many safe and fun ways to celebrate Dad in Council Bluffs and the rest of Pottawattamie County!

Relaxing Float Down the West Nishnabotna Water Trail

Photo courtesy of Golden Hills RC&D

Grab your life jacket, kayak, canoe, and hop on the West Nishnabotna Water Trail! Pack a lunch and make it a day trip. There are several sandbars and stops along the way that are perfect to pull off on. The Nishnabotna is a very lazy meandering water trail with lots of wildlife viewing. Bring your binoculars or fishing pole and you could be out there all day! For safety instructions, a map of the trail, and more relevant information, visit


Fish the Day Away! 

Photo courtesy of @alexbolduc17

There are UNlimited amounts of fishing opportunities in Pottawattamie County! First, you will want to make sure you have a valid fishing license. You can buy one online through the Iowa DNR or you can visit one of the eight local retailers or bait shops that sell them. For a complete list, click here.

 In Council Bluffs, you can fish at Lake Manawa or Big Lake Park. Both offer a completely different fishing experience. Lake Manawa is a 747-acre lake and has a variety of fish species like the bigmouth buffalo, black bullhead, and black crappie to name a few. Big Lake is a 5-acre pond with species like bluegill, common carp, and rainbow trout.

Another fishing hot spot in Pottawattamie County is Carter Lake! Carter Lake is a 315-acre lake that is known for its bluegill, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. There is also a beach, trail system, and picnic shelters at the lake for you to enjoy!

Some other noteworthy fishing locations are some of the Pottawattamie County Conservation parks like Arrowhead Park, Botna Bend Park, Old Town Park, and Farm Creek Public Wildlife Area.



Visit the Bison and Elk Calves at Botna Bend

Just a short drive away, you can visit the elk and bison at Botna Bend Park! Just this season, they have welcomed new elk and bison calves. While you are out at the park you can look over the peaceful Nishnabotna River, hike on some amazing prairie trails, or even extend the day by camping overnight!

Please note that there is construction on county road G30 (Mahogany Road) Bridge. Due to this construction, you must enter Botna Bend from the east of Highway 59. 


Strawberry Picking at Ditmars Orchard & Vineyard 

Did you know that you can go out to Ditmars Orchard and pick strawberries?! The peak season for picking strawberries is late May until early June so Father’s Day is the perfect time of year to treat yourselves to some delicious locally grown fruit!

Visit Ditmar’s website for tips on how to pick strawberries and feel free to give them a call to check on the conditions before heading out!


Enjoy a Delicious Meal, Made by Someone Else!

Whether you prefer to dine-in, takeout, or drive-thru, there are so many wonderful restaurants in Council Bluffs that dad is sure to love! Visit our website for a complete list of restaurants in the area.


All dads are different, luckily there are so many ways to celebrate him this year! For more ideas of things to do with dad, check out our website full of great local attractions, parks, and trails. We recommend calling ahead or checking a businesses’ website before visiting.

This post was originally published on June 15, 2020 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.