Exploring The Great River Road: A Scenic Drive Along The Mississippi River

If you’re looking for an adventure that’s both scenic and nostalgic, look no further than the Great River Road. The 2,300-mile scenic drive will take you along the Mississippi River, from Minnesota all the way down to Louisiana. The route cuts through 10 states, affording travelers a cultural and historical tour through America’s heartland.

A Road Trip Through Time

The Great River Road takes drivers through quaint river towns, past towering bluffs, and pastures that roll into swaying fields of wheat and corn. But the road is more than just scenery. Each of the river towns along the route has contributed to the growth and development of the United States. And while it’s not possible to stop at every town, the most iconic stops are worth the visit.

Minnesota: The Beginning of the Road

Among the must-visit destinations in Minnesota is the town of Red Wing, which is located in the southern part of the state. Here, visitors will see Red Wing Pottery, which has been a vital part of the town’s community since 1861. The pottery is known for its one-of-a-kind pieces, which are perfect for souvenir shopping. Another must-see in Minnesota is the city of Winona, which boasts the Sugar Loaf Bluff that offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Wisconsin: Unique Culinary Experiences

Wisconsin is known for its cheese, so it’s only fitting that the state is home to the "Cheese Capital of the World," Monroe. Here, cheese lovers can visit the Alp and Dell Cheese Store, where they can sample over 150 types of cheese. But the tasty offerings in Wisconsin aren’t limited to dairy products. The town of La Crosse is worth a stop for those who love craft beer. Visitors can take a brewery tour at the Pearl Street Brewery, which has been crafting beer since 1999.

Iowa: Where History Comes to Life

Iowa is where travelers can steep themselves in the rich history of the area. The town of Dubuque, for example, features the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, which showcases the unique ecology of the region. Another must-visit spot in Iowa is the city of Davenport, which boasts a massive collection of vintage artefacts at the Putnam Museum. Visitors can see everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern street art.

Illinois: The Gateway to the West

The state of Illinois takes up a large section of the Great River Road, and some of the most iconic stops along the route, like Quincy and Alton, are in this state. Quincy is home to the Quincy Bay, which is a stunning spot to catch a breathtaking view of the Mississippi River. Alton, meanwhile, is where you can see the Gateway Arch, which is the largest arch in the world, standing at an impressive 630 feet tall.

Missouri: Mark Twain’s Hometown

Missouri is where the famous Mark Twain hailed from, which is why a visit to Hannibal is a must for any literary buffs. Visitors can tour the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, which features the author’s life and works. For those who enjoy a good view, the town of Ste. Genevieve is worth the stop. The town boasts antique homes and specialty shops that are picture-perfect for a stroll.

Tennessee & Mississippi: Outdoor Fun

The road trip culminates in the southern states of Tennessee and Mississippi. In Memphis, visitors can tour Graceland, the famous home of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. The city is also home to the National Civil Rights Museum, which is dedicated to promoting social justice. For those who enjoy outdoor adventures, Tunica, Mississippi, is worth the visit. Known for its golf courses and fishing, Tunica offers visitors the chance to relax and unwind before the journey back home.

Final Thoughts

The Great River Road is the perfect driving adventure for anyone looking for a mix of history, culture, and nature. The journey along the Mississippi River is sure to leave travelers with stories to tell and memories that will last a lifetime. So, hit the road and explore the Great River Road today!

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