Located about 97 miles southwest of Iowa City, Ottumwa is the seat of Wapello County. The area around the city was home to Native Americans in the early 19th century. However, these tribes relocated to the western reservations when Wapello County became the site of a land rush in 1843. Thousands of European settlers arrived in the area to claim land for farming, livestock breeding, and homesteading. The community was initially called Louisville, but it was later renamed Ottumwa. It was declared the seat of Wapello County in 1844 and experienced rapid growth in the following years.
Between 1860 and 1870, the population of Ottumwa grew from 1,600 to 5,000. It continued to increase after the turn of the century and reached its peak of 33,870 in 1960. Then, it declined to 25,000 in 2000 as a result of the closure of several manufacturing plants that forced many people to leave the city. The area also experienced severe flooding and agricultural crises that further contributed to out-migration. However, several sizable developments in recent years have generated significant commercial interest in the city.
Today, Ottumwa has a population of 24,550 and a total land area of 16.5 square miles. It continues to be one of the most important economic centers in southeastern Iowa. Also, its rich historical heritage and proximity to many beautiful natural sites make it a popular travel destination.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Ottumwa, Iowa?
Ottumwa experiences warm, humid summers and freezing, windy winters. The temperature varies from 17 degrees to 87 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of a year and seldom falls below -2 degrees or exceeds 95 degrees. If you want to do warm-weather activities, the ideal time to visit the city is between early June and late September, when average temperatures range from the mid-60s to mid-80s.
It's important to note that Ottumwa receives an especially large influx of tourists in July and August. If you're vacationing in the city during these months, you may not be able to find suitable accommodations as many hotels will be fully booked. Also, most hotels will charge higher rates during peak season, which can significantly bump up your travel expenses. Nonetheless, you can get better rates if you book one or two months in advance. It's also a good idea to visit Ottumwa in April, May, or June, when the weather is also pleasant and hotel rates are lower.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Ottumwa, IA:
Ottumwa by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs demonstrating mean nightly cost patterns by star rating class in Ottumwa, IA. You can use these charts to determine the least expensive time period to make a reservation in Ottumwa for your upcoming travels.
What Are the Top Luxury Hotels in Ottumwa, IA?
For a more pampering stay, book a room at AmericInn by Wyndham Fairfield. Situated about 23 miles east of Ottumwa in Fairfield, this hotel provides convenient access to attractions such as Fairfield Golf & Country Club, Lamson Woods State Preserve, and American Gothic House & Center. It features 63 well-appointed rooms with free wired and wireless internet connection, cable programming, LCD televisions, refrigerators, and hair dryers. Additionally, it has a wide range of on-site amenities to provide an enjoyable stay, such as an indoor pool, a spa tub, a fitness center, a lounge, a business center, and travel assistance.
Alternatively, you can stay at the Honey Creek Resort. Located about 28 miles west of Ottumwa in Moravia, this golf resort is 14.4 miles from Sundown Lake, 17.4 miles from Monroe County Historical Museum, and 18.9 miles from Rathbun Lake. Each of its 105 air-conditioned rooms features complimentary Wi-Fi, cable programming, flat-screen televisions, and coffee makers. Besides playing golf, you can also take a dip in the indoor pool, work out in the fitness center, relax in the picnic area, and enjoy a nice meal at the on-site restaurant. The hotel also has a business center and laundry facilities.
What Are the Best Budget Hotels in Ottumwa, IA?
3 Star Average Prices: $87.03
If you're traveling on a budget, consider staying at the Hotel Ottumwa. Located in downtown Ottumwa, this hotel is within walking distance to the Wapello County Historical Museum and a few minutes' drive from Memorial Park and Air Power Museum. It has 60 air-conditioned rooms that feature free Wi-Fi, cable programming, flat-screen televisions, refrigerators, microwaves, and hair dryers. During your stay, you can make use of amenities such as bicycle rental, an on-site restaurant, a lounge, a cafe, a ballroom, business center, laundry services, and a free airport shuttle. Complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast is available daily.
Super 8 by Wyndham Ottumwa is another budget-friendly hotel you should check out. This hotel is about 3 miles north of downtown Ottumwa, 2.7 miles from Rock Bluff Park, and 19 miles from the American Gallery of Vedic Art. Each of the 62 rooms in this Super 8 location is equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi, cable programming, refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. As a guest, you'll have access to amenities such as an indoor pool, spa tub, business center, and laundry facilities.