All Women's Talk

7 Places along the Mississippi River Worth Making a Stop at ...

By Neecey

With it being one of the great natural wonders of the United States, it follows that there are some places along the Mississippi with excellent attractions for tourists. The Mississippi is the 4th longest river in the world and runs from close to the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico (although its official length varies depending on which definition and route is used – Wikipedia calls it the 4th and the 10th). I found some really interesting places along the Mississippi, from nature reserves to national monuments to great cities. Why not join me for a journey along the USA’s greatest waterway and we can stop off at some great places along the Mississippi River.

1 Effigy Mounds

Effigy Mounds Close to where the Mississippi River forms the border between Iowa and Wisconsin, near to Harper’s Ferry, are the Effigy Mounds. This is one of the places along the Mississippi that is a national monument and is sacred to Native Americans. Some 200 mounds are located here, including some shaped like animals. The park is open to the public and although there are no paved roads, there are 14 hiking trails winding through forest, tall grass prairies, wetlands, and of course the mounds. There’s a visitor center where you can learn the history and the significance of the mounds in the Native American culture.

2 The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge Where do America’s greatest road and America’s greatest river meet – at the Chain of Rocks Bridge. Well, at least they used to meet. The bridge was first built in 1929 to shorten the traveling time between St. Louis, Missouri and Edwardsville, Illinois. It spanned one of the most scenic areas of the great river, covering a distance of 5,353 feet, and is still one of the longest steel span bridges in the country. It became part of Route 66 in 1936 and remained so until 1968 and the opening of a new toll bridge just downriver. The bridge still stands, is open as a hiking and biking trail and is on the register of historic places.

3 Trempealeau

Trempealeau I have always found cities built on a water’s edge fascinating and romantic, and there are many such places on the Mississippi River. Some of them are iconic names like St. Louis, Memphis and Baton Rouge, while others won’t be so familiar to you. I was drawn to Trempealeau initially because of its name, but have since found out it sounds like a great place for a vacation. Located on the east bank of the Mississippi in Wisconsin, Trempealeau enjoys the very picturesque setting of the Perrot State Park and offers plenty of outdoor pursuits to satisfy all tastes. It is also an interestingly historic town with a sense of community and a fin de siècle appeal, and its main street is included in the register of historical places.

4 The Great River Road – the Blues Highway

The Great River Road – the Blues Highway It’s a bit of a misnomer calling a road one of the places along the Mississippi to stop at, because by definition you’d want to keep on going. However, I think it deserves inclusion because of the places along the Great River Road where you can stop to enjoy some of the great attractions the states the river passes through have to offer. The Great River Road is Highway 61 and it runs 1400 miles from Wyoming to New Orleans. The section between Memphis and Vicksburg is known as the Blues Route and is 275 miles. Along the route the attractions include: the Windsor Ruins, the remains of the largest antebellum mansion in Mississippi; Vicksburg National Military Park, commemorating the siege and the 47 day battle; the Delta Blues Museum in Clarkson with its Muddy Waters and B.B. King artifacts; Woodville, the boyhood home of Jefferson Davies, the one and only ever President of the Confederacy; and historical towns like Natchez and Greenville.

5 Mississippi River Hills Wine Trail

Mississippi River Hills Wine Trail The floodplains of the mighty Mississippi support massive agricultural production, including something you may not have associated with it: viticulture. There are boutique wineries dotted along the river in all states it passes through, but the River Hills Wine Trail is a mapped out route ready for you to explore. The route takes you through about 40 miles of the prettiest and most scenic countryside of South Missouri, visiting 6 wineries which are all family owned.

6 Interpretive Museums

Interpretive Museums The Mississippi River passes through 10 states and each of the states has its own focus on how the river has shaped and made what it is, geographically, economically and culturally. The River’s massive and diverse influence is marvelously showcased in a total of 70 interpretive centers and museums throughout the 10 states. Whatever your taste, there is bound to be one of these places to visit along the Mississippi River that takes your fancy. The options are extensive and include: Civil War sites, memorials and museums; sites and centers of Native American significance; historical trails; National and State Parks; State museums; museums and exhibitions about the river itself; agritourism centers such as wineries and breweries; and ethnographical attractions. Check out the list here: experiencemississippiriver.com.

7 New Orleans

New Orleans It wouldn't be right to miss the Big Easy off the list of places along the Mississippi. And who can forget the contribution the river made – even if indirectly – to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina? New Orleans will pull through the damage and will return to all its former glory, but in the meantime we can be thankful that some of the historic areas like the glorious French Quarter escaped harm. As the home of jazz, the music scene is incredibly vibrant and the Jazz National Park must be unique in the world. With the bright lights of Bourbon Street, the Aquarium of the Americas, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, and a Six Flags Theme Park, New Orleans caters to everyone.

I have tried to compress a behemoth into a small box! I could spend a year writing about all the places along the Mississippi River, but all I can really do is give you a mere soupcon of what is there. There’s a world of discovery along one of the world’s greatest rivers. Where would you start?

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