Great River Road: A 3-Day Cruise Down the Mississippi
We’ve compiled a three-day itinerary for the Great River Road that’s complete with charming river towns, breathtaking natural beauty and unforgettable memories. Whether visitors see every sight along the way or choose a few of their favorites, one thing’s for sure—the Great River Road was made for jaw-dropping road trips.
MISSISSIPPI EXPLORER CRUISES
Lansing: Explore the backwaters of the Mississippi River and view extraordinary wildlife on a relaxing cruise.
Harpers Ferry: Peace and tranquility are preserved at Effigy Mounds. It’s an American Indian burial and ceremonial site featuring more than 200 mounds. Many are in the shape of bears, birds and other animals.
EAGLES LANDING WINERY
Marquette: Sip in the sights at Eagles Landing Winery. Free tastings of their award-winning wines are available daily.
Take a stroll on Guttenberg's beautiful river walk and you'll see why forbestraveler.com named it one of "America's 20 Prettiest Towns" in 2009.
BREITBACH'S COUNTRY DINING
Balltown: Iowa's oldest restaurant has been operated by the Breitbach family since 1852. People travel from miles around for the restaurant's fried chicken or homemade pies. It's also a James Beard America's Classic award-winner.
NATIONAL MISSISSIPPI RIVER MUSEUM & AQUARIUM
Dubuque: The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is a 10-acre campus where fun and learning flow together. Two buildings and an outdoor plaza offer dozens of exhibits of the power and majesty of American rivers. Its 12 aquariums showcase American aquatic life.
BELLEVUE STATE PARK
Bellevue: This picturesque riverfront community is a nature lover’s dream. Bellevue State Park offers panoramic views of the Mississippi from atop a limestone bluff. It also offers a garden sanctuary that attracts more than 60 species of butterflies each year.
FELIX ADLER CHILDREN'S DISCOVERY CENTER
Clinton: The Children’s Discovery Center offers a host of interactive exhibits, educational displays and special events. Displays include a Brio train engine, Kapla blocks, ambulance, grocery store, hospital and much more!
MISSISSIPPI RIVER DISTILLING COMPANY
Le Claire: You’ll be in good spirits when you take a tour of the Mississippi River Distilling Company. They distill everything from vodka and gin to whiskey and rye—all from local grains.
MODERN WOODMEN PARK
Davenport: Baseball doesn’t get any better than at Modern Woodmen Park. Catch a Quad Cities River Bandits baseball game while you ride the park’s carousel or Ferris wheel.
FIGGE ART MUSEUM
Davenport: The largest art gallery between Chicago and Des Moines, the 114,000-square-foot Figge Art Museum’s collections include more than 3,500 paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the 16th century to the present.
NATIONAL PEARL BUTTON MUSEUM AT MHIC
Muscatine: Interactive exhibits and videos tell the story of Muscatine's past as the "Pearl Button Capital of the World,” once producing 1.5 billion buttons annually.
Burlington: Twist and turn down Snake Alley, a one-of-a-kind street composed of limestone and blue clay bricks. Ripley’s Believe It or Not dubbed it “Unbelievably Crooked.”
OLD FORT MADISON
Fort Madison: Early settlers of the Louisiana Purchase were protected by soldiers at Old Fort Madison. The reconstructed fort was the only site in Iowa to see action in the War of 1812.
LOCK & DAM 19
Keokuk: Overlook the bustling Mississippi from the Lock & Dam 19 Observation Deck. Watch as paddle wheelers, barges and tug boats make their way up and down the river.