Escape to Estherville


Enjoy a hike in beautiful Fort Defiance State Park, canoe down the West Fork of the Des Moines River, or fish or hunt in one of the many surrounding public areas. Visitors can learn more about the fallen meteorite while checking out Estherville’s history at the Emmet County Historical Museum. Estherville is filled with unique boutiques and restaurants like Woody’s Pizza, Mother Nature’s Restaurant or One and One Chinese Restaurant.


Fort Defiance State Park    191 acres of beautiful, rugged woodlands surrounded by gently rolling farmlands. This state park is open year round for recreation. In the center of the park is an army-post style lodge built to resemble a frontier army outpost. This lodge is available to rent to host large groups. There is also a pavilion in the park that is great for a picnic and it is first-come first-served. The trails are suited for hiking, horseback riding and great for cross-country skiing in the winter.


Estherville Rock Garden  •  Built in 1933, the Rock Garden is a beautiful area near the river located in Mickelson Park.


Historic Carnegie Library    This historic building is over 100-years-old. Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist donated money to municipalities to build libraries such as this. The United States had 1,689 public libraries built with Carnegie grants, with only 750 of these libraries still functioning, Estherville being one of them. The Carnegie Library in Estherville houses over 50,000 books, as well as CD ROM, microfilm, video, and filmstrips. Library Square also showcases the World War I Monument. It spans an entire block and hosts events for both adults and children.

Emmet County Water Trails    Access points in Emmet County are at A17, Tom & Jerry Bridge, 4th Street Bridge, North Riverside Park, School Creek, Riverside Hills, A33, and near Wallingford at the Peterson Access. At these points, a person can start paddling, floating, wildlife viewing or a fishing expedition.


Regional Wellness Center    Open to the public, this recreation center showcases an Olympic size six-lane lap pool, diving board, 120-foot waterslide and a 7-foot drop slide. There’s a wet deck play area for young children, as well as a state-of-the-art exercise area, a large basketball court, and so much more.


Peterson Point    The Peterson Family Homestead is on the National Register of Historic Place and includes a restored barn, farmhouse and various outbuildings. The Emmet County Conservation Foundation holds several annual celebrations at the farm. At other times, reservations are required for a guided tour of the house and farmstead.


Estherville Aquatic Center    Opening in 2022, the Estherville Aquatic Center is a must-visit for anyone who loves to splash in the water! Featuring zero-entry leading into a zero-depth water feature, as well as a kids' play area, lily pads, climbing wall, diving boards and slides, this aquatic center is for all ages.


Estherville Swinging Bridge    This beautiful pedestrian suspension bridge was built in the 1902 over the West Fork of the Des Moines River. The larger girder bridge replaced what appears to be an older truss, originally used for the railroad. The bridge features a single through girder main span and is approached by three deck girders on either side. The substructures are built out of concrete and stone. 150 W N 1st Street.


Meteorite • One of the largest meteorites fell to earth on May 10, 1879, just a few miles north of Estherville. When it struck the ground, the meteorite buried itself 15 feet into the ground. Portion of the meteorite are displayed at the Estherville Public Library, the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. A piece of the meteorite was purchased in 2010 and now resides in the soon-to-open Meteorite Center in Estherville. Watch the Estherville Chamber of Commerce for more information. There’s a monument at the site where the meteorite fell, just north of Highway 9.