Thursday, August 11, 2022

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One of America’s best road trips: Drive the beautiful Great River Road

Three thousand miles. Ten states. Amazing cultures and rich history. That’s saying quite a lot. And yet an RV trip along the Great River Road is all that and so much more!

So much to see and do

You may choose to start your adventure at the headwaters in Minnesota’s Lake Itasca State Park, where the Mississippi River begins. Or perhaps you’ll decide to begin at the end in New Orleans and work your way upstream. If you can’t find the time to travel the entire 3,000 miles all in one trip, even a short excursion will inspire you. You’ll learn about riverboats, early explorers, and how the Mississippi River still continues to impact our nation today.

The Mississippi Queen boat
Photo credit: experiencemississippiriver.com

Old Man River

As a child, growing up in Iowa (the heart of “flyover country”), the Mississippi River enthralled me. A family day trip to see the Mighty Mississippi vividly remains in my mind. Now living near St. Louis, I frequently see “Old Man River” and get excited about taking an extended trip all along his famous shores.

Photo credit: experiencemississippiriver.com

Trip planner

You can probably imagine my excitement when I discovered the Great River Road travel itineraries on this site. What I appreciate about the information presented by the folks at The Great River Road is that they provide sample itineraries. Short on time? They have a 14-day “speed trip” planner. Love music? Take a musical tour along the river. Are you a foodie? Don’t miss the iconic restaurants found along the River Road. Like birding? Golf? Wineries? The Great River Road has it all!

Need an excuse?

Guess what? September is “Drive the Great River Road Month.” Need I say more? Maybe I’ll see you somewhere along the way.

Other Midwest adventures

##RVT1064

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Pat Brown
3 days ago

Back in the early 60’s, my Dad was transferred from Michigan to Muscatine, IA on the Mississippi River when I was 6 years old. We lived in a house with a big picture window overlooking the Mississippi River (and the train tracks) for 4 years. I loved watching the barges work their way up and down The River. It was a big deal when the Delta Queen came into town and I’d wait to see it from that picture window. In the winter the River would sometimes dam up with ice, one year flooding the town. Before we had air conditioning, I would listen to the trains before going to sleep and waking up to them again in the morning. Dad would drive Mom and me to Wild Cat Den State Park on a Sunday afternoon where we would enjoy a bologna sandwich. Little did I know at that young age what memories living on the Great River Road would afford me.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
3 days ago
Reply to  Pat Brown

Wow! What great memories, Pat. Thank you for sharing. Have a good evening/night. 😀 –Diane

Matt
4 days ago

Can you enjoy this beautiful route in a 40+ Class A motorhome with toad?

Don
4 days ago
Reply to  Matt

Yes. A few of the lock and dam roads are gravel. The road is 2 and sometimes 4 lane. It is a fantastic trip especially in the Fall.

KellyR
4 days ago

A couple years back we stuck as close to the Mississippi as possible, watching the boats on the river – Florida to Illinois and where the Ohio and Illinois rivers join the Mississippi. We took small roads out to each of the locks n dams to watch the tow boats and barges go thru the locks, and out to elevators that were loading grain on the the barges. Tow boats and barges totally fascinate me. Watching several acres of barges navigate the river is music to my eyes. The amount of goods moved on the Mississippi, and Ohio, and Illinois is mind boggling. Google Youtube barges on the Mississippi and be amazed.

Spike
5 days ago

I grew up and still live along the Mississippi near the area where Grumpy Old Men was set. Much of my early camping was done on the sandbars on the islands. Just pull up to one in your boat and set up camp, no charge!

Pat
5 days ago

“Missouri and the Mississippi have made a deeper impression on me than any part of the world. I feel that there is something in having passed one’s childhood beside the big river, which is incommunicable to those people who have not.” T. S. Eliot

Growing up in Hannibal, Missouri and spending the first 18 years of my life with daily access to recreation on the Mississippi was like living in a fairy tale. I’ve been to Lake Itasca and I’ve been to New Orleans – now I have the opportunity to explore the many miles in between.

Jim&Sandy Farnsworth
5 days ago

I’m lucky to live just a quarter mile from the GRR and to get paid to make the trip between Prairie du Chien and Lacrosse, WI several times a week. That 60 some miles has to be the most scenic of the whole GRR. Green hills and bluffs of up to 600 feet make sure the road and rails don’t move to far from The River. Stay alert for wildlife as The River is a corridor that attracts every endemic species plus spring and fall migrants high lighted by nesting bald eagles, migrant tundra swans, resident sand hill cranes and pelicans. It’s a great part of the USA,

@BigDogRV
5 days ago

We just stayed at the Blakhawk COE campground along that stretch last week for the first time and were amazed at the beauty of the area! We drove down to Prairie du Chien several times and crossed over to Iowa to see the Effigy Mounds. We saw more bald eagles than we could count, along with many deer and pelicans. We watched barges on the river. We have been raving about the unexpected beauty of the area since, even making a post about it on our Instagram page.

Tom Hosack
3 days ago
Reply to  @BigDogRV

You forgot to mention the trains at Blackhawk CG.

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