The Mississippi River in Wisconsin runs along the bottom half of the state's
western border. It converges with the St. Croix River near the small town of
Prescott, then continues on a southeasterly path until it hits the Iowa
and Illinois borders.
The source for the Mississippi River can be found at Lake Itasca in Minnesota,
and just before it begins its run along the Wisconsin border, it passes through
the Minnesota twin cities of Minneapolis
and St. Paul. Enjoying
a drive along the Great River Road in Wisconsin is a great way to take in the
Mississippi River when hanging out in the Badger State. There are 33 river towns
that you can stop at while driving along the Great River Road in Wisconsin,
and various museums and historical sites can easily be accessed as well. As
such, the Great River Road is among the top drives in entire Midwest.
The Wisconsin Mississippi River runs for approximately 250 miles along the states western border, so you might not have the time to take it all in during your Wisconsin vacation. When you're not stopping for a bite to eat at a river town along the way, you can always consider hitting a local park or beach. There are more than 50 parks that can be found along the Great River Road, not to mention a slew of river beaches, and if you just want to watch some barges and riverboats, then you might head for one of the Locks and Dams along the way. While there are plenty of lodging options in and around the towns that flank the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, you can also do some camping if you prefer. A handful of Wisconsin state parks can be found near the mighty Mississippi, and they include Merrick State Park and Perrot State Park. The Wisconsin state parks are excellent camping destinations on the whole.
Bicycling in Wisconsin is a popular vacation activity once the winter months pass, and if you enjoy cycling, riding along the Mississippi River is a real treat. For those who like their cycling to be rather gentle, cruising along the valley floor while taking in the Mississippi River in Wisconsin is the way to go. Should you prefer a challenge, heading east and climbing the soaring limestone cliffs that characterize much of the Wisconsin Mississippi River stretch is sure to deliver. These limestone cliffs can rise to 500 feet, and as one might imagine, they offer terrific bluff-top views. Mountain biking trails can be found at places like Wyalusing State Park and Perrot State Park if you want to trade cement for dirt. In addition to biking along the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, visitors can also go birding. The Mississippi River valley is a premier migratory flyway, and some 326 bird species fly along it at some point during the course of the year. Spring and summer are arguably the best birding seasons along the Wisconsin Mississippi River, though you can spot bird species like the Bald Eagle in the winter months as well.
When you conjure up images of the Mississippi River, boating might be the first thing that comes to mind. Boating is definitely something that can be enjoyed on the Wisconsin Mississippi River stretch, and kayaking is becoming more and more popular with each passing year. Steamboats are among the favorites with tourists who want to do some boating on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, and private pleasure crafts are often seen cruising along as well. Various river cruises are offered for those who want to get out on the water, so you can choose accordingly. Fishing is also something that can be enjoyed while visiting the Wisconsin Mississippi River. In addition to fishing from a boat, you can also take your rod and reel to one of the fishing "floats" that some of the different Wisconsin river communities offer. These fishing "floats" are anchored barges that are typically equipped with bait shops and snack bars.
Taking in the delightful views while cruising along the Great River Road in Wisconsin is a great way to spend a day, or a few days at that. Whether or not you want to add extra activities to the itinerary is up to you. There are a number of great scenic overlooks where you can park and take in some exceptional views along the way. Some of the best spots to enjoy views of the Mississippi River in Wisconsin are the Nelson Dewey State Park bluff-top overlook, the Grandad Bluff at La Crosse, and Freedom Park at Prescott, which is the best place to see the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. These are just a few recommendations for lookout spots, and you can find plenty more while exploring the banks of the Wisconsin Mississippi River.