Union County


Contact the Chamber

Ellen Gerharz
Creston Chamber of Commerce
208 W. Talor, Creston, IA 50801
[email protected]


Union County Fair
July 18 – 24

March 30: Easter Egg Hunt, Creston

April 7: Creston Schools Fine Arts Fest, Creston

April 19: Meals from the Heartland, Creston

May 11: Market on Maple Event, Creston

May 19: Creston High School Graduation, Creston

May 19: East Union High School Graduation, Afton

June 8: Citywide Garage Sale, Creston

June 28: BBQ Bash & Car Show, Creston

June 29: Greater 8 and 5K Run/Walk, Creston

June 29: Party in the Park, Creston

June 30: Afton Pre-fourth of July Celebration, Afton

July 4: 4th of July Parade, Creston

July 4: 4th of July Fireworks Show, Creston

July 27: McKinley Park Festival, Creston

Aug. 2: Wine Walk, Creston

Aug. 3: Crush Cancer in Every Color, Creston

Aug. 31: Fiesta on Maple, Creston

Sept. 19: Pork Chop Dinner, Creston

Sept. 21-22: Hot Air Balloon Days, Creston

Sept. 28: Autumn Days, Afton

Oct. 26: Bright Eyes in the Park, Creston

Dec. 5: Lighted Christmas Parade, Creston

Dec. 5-6: Festival of Trees, Creston

Dec. 5 & 14: Santa Visits the Depot, Creston

Dec. 7: Merry Marketplace, Creston

Dec. 7: Afton Extravaganza, Afton

Dec. 7: Holiday in the Park, Afton

Dec. 14: CARE Bake Sale & Gifts, Creston

Make a Stop in Creston

Creston is located in the beautiful rolling hillsides of southwest Iowa. The citizens of Creston are proud of their community and look forward to sharing it with you.

It is the largest city between Des Moines and Council Bluffs (2020 Census) in southwest Iowa.

As the regional hub of southwest Iowa for business, education, industry, medicine, shopping and recreation, Creston caters to residents and visitors wanting small-town service with big-town products. Creston has many interesting shops where there is always a friendly face and home-town hospitality.

Over 2,100 acres of water including five lakes, three being Three Mile Lake, Twelve Mile Lake and Green Valley Lake, and over 6,090 acres of publicly owned parks, woodlands, prairies and wetlands all conveniently located within a 25-mile radius of Creston add to what Creston has to offer to visitors and travelers.

Creston hosts several events during the year. These include our Spring Market on Maple, a traditional Independence Day each July 4th, our Annual Creston/Southwest Iowa Hot Air Balloon Days on the third weekend in September and our Lighted Christmas Parade held on the Thursday after Thanksgiving as part of the two plus week events during No Place Like Creston for the Holidays.

Come and discover the opportunities that await you in Creston, where the attitudes and hospitality of our community welcomes people of all ages.


Afton Splash Pad

Afton City Park

Creston: Arts Gallery

116 West Adams, Creston
641-782-2000, ext. 3

Creston Community Arts Center

411 W. Adams, Creston

Creston’s Restored Depot

116 West Adams, Creston
641-782-2000, ext. 203

Creston Swimming Pool

McKinley Park

Frank Phillip’s Visitor Center & Union County Freedom Rock

west on Hwy. 34, Creston, IA

Happy Valley Church

Lorimor, IA

High Lakes Shooting Range

North of Afton

McKinley Park Disc Golf Course

McKinley Park, Creston

Mount Pisgah Mormon National Monument

1704 Mount Pisgah Road

Mural Magic

Uptown Creston

Park to Park Trail

McKinley Park to Green Valley State Park

Union County Historical Village

1600 Stone Street, Creston
Phone: 641-782-8159


For information on any of the lakes please call the Union County Conservation Office 641-347-5100 or Union County Tourism – 641-782-7022
12-Mile Lake | 3-Mile Lake | Afton Lake | Green Valley State Park | Summit Lake | Thayer Lake


Adams Street Country Lodge

1412 170th St., Creston

The Boresch Lodge

2379 Hwy. 169, Afton

The Country Oasis B&B

2701 High School Dr., Afton

Farmhouse 1910

2179 189th Street, Afton

Green Valley State Park Cabins

Green Valley State Park

Holiday Motel

800 S Walnut, Hwy. 34 East, Creston

Moonlite Motel

704 New York Ave, Hwy 34 West, Creston

Quality Inn

804 W. Taylor Hwy. 34 West

Supertel Inn and Conference Center

800 Laurel Street, Hwy. 34 West, Creston

Sylvanus Lodges

1741 Creamery Road, Afton

Three-Mile Lake Cabins

Three-Mile Lake

Three Lakes Lodge

801 N. Pierce, Afton

Check out other lodging options at AirBnB


12 Mile Lake

4 miles east of Creston

Afton City Park

on the square, Afton

Arispe Roadside Park

Hwy 169

Cedar Park

1937 190th Street, Creston

Country Court Mobile Home & RV Court

1804 Virginia Lane, Creston

Garfield Park

west of Afton

Green Valley State Park


Groesbeck Wildlife Area

NE of Afton

Lorimor City Park

west edge of Lorimor

McKinley Park & McKinley Park Camp Ground

Creston – 641-782-2000 ext. 208
west side of Creston

Mount Pisgah Park

1704 Mount Pisgah Road, Thayer

Rainbow Park

500 block of S. Vine & S. Birch, Creston

Talmage Hill Nature Park

4 miles east of Afton

Thayer Lake

one mile west of Thayer

Three-Mile Lake


Valley View RV Park:

1246 Green Valley Rd., Creston

Paul & Becky Kelley Natural Wilderness Area

West of Afton

Hot Air Balloon Days In Creston

Creston and Southwest Iowa’s hills and blue skies are a perfect setting for nearly 35 hot air balloons participating in the Creston/SW Iowa Hot Air Balloon Days the third weekend in September – September 20, 21 & 22, 2024. Now in its 46th year, the event is the second largest of its kind in the state of Iowa.

In addition to the balloon races during the week- end there is also the annual Hot Air Balloon Days Parade with high school marching bands from across the area, along with balloonists and many others on Saturday morning starting at 10:30 a.m. in Uptown Creston.

The Creston City Center is the site of various activities for spectators of all ages as well. A Flea Market and Craft Fair is a must see as well as a stroll through town to visit the local merchants open for your shopping pleasure during the day.

On Saturday afternoon you can continue to enjoy your day at the airport and participate in or enjoy the pedal pull and Pet Show. Weather permitting there are also tethered balloon rides available. There is also a marching band competition at the High School.

The very popular NightGlow begins around dusk. The event wraps up on Sunday morning with the last balloon race, weather permitting.

Mark your calendar and make your plans early to attend. For more information please call the Creston Chamber of Commerce at 641-782-7022 or visit their website at www.crestoniowachamber.com.

Union County - One of southwest Iowa's wildlife and outdoor recreation "must go to places"

Located along and near Highway 34, with easy access to Interstate 35 and Interstate 80 the lakes and beautiful landscape are easily accessible to the avid outdoors-man and those who enjoy the outdoors and the beauty which Southwest Iowa offers.

Whether its deer or turkey, waterfowl or pheasants, walleye, Muskie or the lowly catfish, opportunities for hunting and fishing are plentiful in and around Union County. Union County’s High Lakes offer an array of outdoor recreational opportunities unmatched in southern Iowa. Five lakes including award winning 3-Mile Lake and 12 Mile Lake along with Green Valley State Park with 2,500 acres of publicly owned woodland and prairie are all conveniently located within a 20-mile radius of each other.

The lakes offer opportunities for water-skiing, boating, camping, swimming, hiking and picnicking and some great ice fishing during the winter months for the entire family. Three Mile Lake Recreation Area is open year around for the outdoor enthusiast.

The duck and goose hunting are excellent. Turkeys were stocked in the area in the late 70’s and have expanded to the point where just about every patch of woods has turkeys now. The region has become a favorite for deer hunters as well.

Thousands of acres of CRP and cropland furnish an excellent habitat for wildlife. Or, if you prefer, you can hunt along the banks of Three Mile and Twelve-Mile Lakes, where hundreds of acres of cover and food plots have been created to draw wildlife. Recently the Paul & Becky Kelley Family Natural Wilderness Area of 155 acres was gifted to Union County, located just off of Hwy 34 just west of Afton.

The High Lakes Shooting Range, is another spot for the outdoor enthusiast to enjoy

Two great golf courses can also be found in Union County along with an expanding hiking and biking trail which runs from McKinley Park in Creston north to the campground at Green Valley State Park. This Park to Park Trail is paved over five miles and once at Green Valley State Park you can enjoy another 3 plus miles of paved trails along with 6 miles of grass trails around Green Valley Lake. These latter trails are suitable for hiking and mountain bikes.

For more information on hunting, fishing or many other activities in the area please call Union County Conservation at 641-347-5100 or contact Creston/Union County Tourism for a free travel guide at 641-782-7022 or visit the website at www.unioncountyiowatourism.com.

Relax and Enjoy Yourself at Green Valley State Park

Green Valley State Park is located three miles north of Creston on Green Valley Road (N. Lincoln Street). Green Valley Lake has long been a popular fishing spot for both bank and boat anglers. A number of fishing jetties are available, as well as fishing piers for persons with varying abilities. A section of shoreline is designated as 24-hour fishing access. Four boat ramps provide convenient lake access.

A 6.5 mile paved multi-use trail is located on the East and South sides of the lake. The trail begins in the campground and provides a scenic view of the Eastern side of the lake. Across the dam, the trail passes through DNR managed Mitchell Marsh, and it’s worth a stop to watch waterfowl and other wetland species of birds, particularly during spring and fall migrations. The trail connects to Creston and Southwestern Community College and continues south through town to McKinley City Park.

The campground boasts non-electric, electric, and full hook-up sites (water and sewer) as well as modern restrooms, showers, and a trailer dump station. There is a primitive “youth group site” that is available for Scouts and other youth organizations. Three seasonal camping cabins are located along the lakeshore. There are two playgrounds within the park. There is a playground located right outside of the campground and there is a playground located in the campground.

For more information please call 641-782-5131 or you can check on the park on-line at Iowadnr.gov.

Enjoy a Hometown Fourth of July in Creston

Looking for a fun hometown Fourth of July Celebration? Look no further than Creston, Iowa.

One of the highlights of the event is the annual 4th of July Parade held on July 4th in Uptown Creston. Creston is known for their parades and the July 4th Parade is one of the best and biggest. Before and or after the parade many people enjoy shopping the Flea Market.

McKinley Park is the center of many other Fourth of July events on the big day. The Union County Historical Village holds their annual Pioneer Days Celebration.

Another highlight of the 4th of July Celebration in Creston each year is the annual fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. in McKinley Park on the 4th. While fireworks are a staple of many Independence Day celebrations, Creston’s are well above standard. Visitors from around the area, SW Iowa and northern Missouri come again and again to enjoy the show.

For a complete listing of events and activities please visit www.crestoniowachamber.com.

If you are looking for a place to spend the 4th of July, remember Creston. You won’t be disappointed.

Union County Historical village and Museum Is A Must visit

The Union County Historical Village and Museum is located in Creston just off Highway 34 West in beautiful McKinley Park. Here you can find buildings reminiscent of a prospering rural town in Iowa around the 1890’s. You can see the fully furnished last operating rural school in Union County. Other original buildings brought to the complex include an 1855 log cabin, a barn originally built in 1896, a house built before 1900 and the Spaulding Methodist Church where weddings still take place today. A depot, originally from Lucas and later used at Brooks, along with a signal tower from the Creston rail yards and a caboose, emphasize the importance of the railroad heritage to the area.

The Village is open from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day or by appointment and is free to the public. Tours can also be scheduled during the year. For more information please call Dick at 641-782-4000 or Sharon at 641-782-2870.


The Gateway to Three Mile Lake Recreation Area

Afton is a community that meets you and greets you on their square. It is located at the intersection of Highways 169 and 34 and is the southern Gateway to Three Mile Lake in Union County.

Every Tuesday evening from June through mid-August, the community gathers in the City Park, located in downtown Afton for the Farmers Market complete with music, activities and food.

The Lion’s Club holds a Pre-Fourth of July celebration in the park the Sunday before the Fourth. A Community Church Service, food, entertainment and games are some of the activities on the day’s agenda.

The last Saturday in September (the 28th in 2024) they celebrate Autumn Days while the first Saturday in December they hold their Extravaganza and Holiday in the Park. The splash pad on the square is a fun stop for locals as well as visitors during the Summer.

Afton has been hosting the Union County Fair held in July (July 18 through July 24, 2024) for many years. A parade, rodeo and demolition derby headline the fair. While at the fair, visit the industry booths, tour the animal barns, 4-H booths and enjoy the great cooking.

Be sure to add Afton to your travel agenda. It is a great place to visit. Please call 641-347-5224 for further details or visit their website at www.aftoniowa.com

Welcome to Three Mile Lake Recreation Area

Three Mile Lake is the largest lake in the area as well as being one of the best fishing lakes in Iowa. The lower portion of the lake is open to sailing, power boating and water skiing (sorry, no inboards or jet skis). No-wake boating is permitted on the remainder of the lake.

The two campgrounds overlooking the lake have 80 sites to accommodate recreational vehicles, trailers and tent campers. Each site has electrical hookups. Water is available along with picnic sites, a fish cleaning station and dump station. Showers, sinks and flush toilets are available nearby at the year-around shower house. Wireless Internet is available at the campgrounds as well.

There are also eight year-around rental cabins at the modern campground which provide a genuine year-around attraction. Three Mile Lake Lodge is also available for rental year-round.

For more information please contact the Union County Conservation Office at 641-347-5100.