Rivers run through many of the world's great cities. London would not be London without the Thames and Louisville might still be a cow town if it weren't for the Ohio River. Budapest wouldn't be two cities separated by a single river, and Paris would have no Left Bank to sit beside and enjoy a cup of coffee. Would China have such a long history without the Yangtze River? These bodies of water are more than famous rivers-they are a driving force of history.
Not all of the great world rivers flow through the major cities. The Amazon River winds its way through the rainforest, while the Brahmaputra River begins in the wilds of Tibet and winds through India. Other rivers remain the realm of modern-day adventurers who follow in the footsteps if the explorers.
Whether you seek adventure, scenery, or the chance to connect with history, rivers can provide spice to your vacation plans. Some people wrap their entire vacations around a river cruise, while others choose to discover what's along the banks of the world's famous rivers. Whatever your plans and whatever your style, you can find something special along the river.
When Lewis and Clark sailed the mighty rivers, they discovered the vast, scenic wonders of a new nation. From east to west, America is blessed with mighty rivers that wind through cities and fruited plains.
In Oregon, one of its US rivers, the Rouge River flows from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. It's one of the best places in the Pacific Northwest for salmon fishing and white-water rafting. The Red River Valley also is a top destination for outdoor adventure. One of the rare north-flowing rivers meanders through the Dakotas up to Winnipeg Manitoba. The mighty Colorado, the same river that carved the Grand Canyon, is a fantastic place for finding adventure.
While the Hudson River in New York State also is a place to find adventure, it is known more for its scenery. Not far from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, the Hudson and the Hudson River Valley are part a region that is one of the prettiest places in the world to experience the splendor of the autumn leaves. Cruises and rail tours are an especially popular way to explore, as they are with the Cuyahoga River in Ohio.
During the golden age of river travel, paddle-wheelers and steam shipped plied the longest rivers in America, especially the Mississippi and the Missouri. Many people think that Mississippi is America's longest, but the Missouri has it beat by about 200 miles. More than a century later, people still enjoy the romance of travel by US rivers.
Three world rivers are even longer than the 2,540 miles of the Missouri River or the 1,900 miles of the Rio Grande that forms the border between the U.S. and Mexico. The world's longest river is the Nile at 4,132 miles, followed by the Amazon and the Yangtze.
The Nile, the north-flowing river begins in Central Africa, flowing through several counties, Lake Victoria, and the desert before passing through the delta to the Mediterranean Sea. Another African River, the Congo, also called the Zaire River, has the distinction of being the deepest river in the world.
Several of the most famous rivers wind through the Indian sub-continent. This diverse country with an ancient history and bright future draws countless visitors to its vast rivers. The Indus River flows from Northern India to Western China, flowing through the entire length of Pakistan. The Ganges River, long a sacred site, continues to attract pilgrims and others who want to see one of the world's great rivers.