Best Road Trip Drives: Great River Road
The Great River Road is a collection of local and state roads which run parallel to the Mississippi River, following its course through ten states and over 2,340 miles. The series of roads travels through a multitude of both natural and urban landscapes between the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Itasca in Minnesota. The diverse culture and scenery makes this one of our best road trip drives.
What You’ll See
The Great River Road is designed to showcase the ten states bordering the Mississippi River: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Along the way you’ll see plenty of farms, upland meadows, thick swamps, deep forests, limestone cliffs, and many parks and wildlife refuges.
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There is also plenty of industry along the route – you’ll pass through several major cities, you’ll see strip malls, and you’ll never be more than 100 miles from a casino, if that’s your thing.
Where to Stop
The route itself is the true destination on this road trip, and you’ll come away knowing more about the Mississippi River Valley, so intensely different from North to South. Stop at the Mississippi River Museum and the Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa – both multimillion dollar museums that offer a broad look at the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River Museum at Mud Island in Tennessee focuses on the culture of the southern half of the river. There are plenty of other museums, forts, and monuments along the way, and you can plan your trip at experiencemississippiriver.com.
The Great River road was officially created in 1938 from a network of federal, state, and local roads. The road has a separate commission in each state, and each cooperates through the Mississippi River Parkway Commission.
If you want to experience America’s Midwest, from Canada to the Deep South, the Great River Road is one of the best road trips to provide an incredibly diverse experience from beginning to end, not to mention the incredible views along the way.