A Complete and Easy Guide to the Mississippi River Road Trip

A Complete and Easy Guide to the Mississippi River Road Trip


One of the best American road trips can be found along the Mississippi River, which is probably the most famous river in the United States. People have been telling stories about this body of water for a long time, even before the United States existed. The stories are really interesting and it would be a great idea to take a road trip to explore them. The route goes through 10 states and covers almost the whole length of the U.S. from north to south. It is 2,340 miles (3,765 kilometers) long and ends at the Gulf of Mexico.

This trip doesn’t use one main highway. Instead, it uses a bunch of smaller roads that go along the river. These roads are called the “Great River Road.” To confirm you’re on the correct route, look for the unique green and white signs with a ship’s steering wheel shape along the way.

The best time to take this drive is during spring or early fall. This way, you won’t have to deal with snowy roads in the Midwest or the hot summer weather in the South.

Best Trips for Retirees and Seniors in 2023

1- Park Rapids, Minnesota

A Complete and Easy Guide to the Mississippi River Road Trip

The start of the Mississippi River is in Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota. If you take the quickest highways instead of the Great River Road, it’s about a four-hour drive from the Twin Cities. To get the full experience of the Mississippi River, you need to visit the place where it originates.

If you stay in the park, you’ll be close to all the exciting things happening. You can go hiking, kayaking, birdwatching, or biking in the area. To fish in Lake Itasca, don’t forget to bring your fishing pole to this area.

Where to Stay:

The state park offers different types of places to stay such as campsites, RV hookups, log cabins, and a hostel. The campgrounds have bathrooms with flush toilets and showers, so you have all the basic amenities you need. The park has picnic areas, a boat ramp, a fishing dock, and a playground available on-site. This makes it easy to have fun and enjoy the wilderness.

Time: 6 hours

2- Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Minneapolis and St. Paul are known as the Twin Cities and offer many things to do. You can enjoy art, cultural events, and nature parks. If you have time, you could spend a few days exploring the area. If you’re done camping in Itasca, you can visit the cities and check out museums like the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Mill City Museum, or the Museum of Russian Art. Some other places worth visiting are the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Minnesota History Center.

If you like being outdoors, you can visit Minnehaha Park, Lake Harriet, Lake of the Isles, or go tubing in a nearby river.

Where to Stay:

If you’re planning to stay in the Twin Cities, you can choose from a variety of hotels that suit your preferences and budget. You can opt for the family-friendly Hampton Inn or the luxurious Hotel Ivy. To camp or park your RV near Minneapolis and St. Paul, you’ll need to be outside of the city limits. The Lebanon Hills Regional Campground is located in Apple Valley, Minnesota, and is only a 30-minute drive south of Minneapolis. It’s a lovely place to stay near the city, and the RV sites are spacious and equipped with full utility hookups. If you like sleeping on the ground in a tent, there are many campsites available for you. You can use laundry facilities, full bathhouses, fire pits, picnic tables, and other things for your enjoyment.

Time: 7 Hours

3- The Quad Cities, Indiana/Iowa

The Quad Cities, IndianaIowa

Keep following the river after the Twin Cities until you get to the Quad Cities. The Quad Cities are a group of five towns that are located on the border of Iowa and Illinois. These towns are Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline in Illinois.

Out of the five, Davenport is the biggest and is probably the best place to start your activities in the area. Visit Vander Veer Botanical Park, the Figge Art Museum, and Chocolate Manor for tasty food. The Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science has interesting exhibits that are available all year round, as well as seasonal exhibits that are enjoyable for both adults and children. To have a calm and peaceful evening near the water, go to the riverfront and enjoy watching the boats and barges passing by.

Where to Stay:

People prefer to camp at West Lake Park in Davenport, Iowa when visiting the Quad Cities area. This park is great for RVers and tent campers. It has lots of amenities like full utility hookups, a dump station, hot showers, restrooms, and a playground. It’s located in a beautiful public park and has received high ratings. You cannot reserve a spot ahead of time. All sites are booked on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes

4- St. Louis, Missouri

A Complete and Easy Guide to the Mississippi River Road Trip

St. Louis, Missouri is called the gateway to the West. You can see the famous Gateway Arch and even ride an elevator to the top to appreciate its legacy. There are many things to do in St. Louis because it is a large city. You can visit the Missouri Botanical Garden or Forest Park if you enjoy being outdoors. If you are searching for activities for children, you can visit the St. Louis Zoo or Grant’s Farm. Some other places worth visiting are the City Museum, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, and the Missouri Civil War Museum.

Where to Stay:

St. Louis has many hotels to choose from. You just need to consider your budget and preferences to pick the one you like.

Casino Queen RV Park is a very special RV park that you’ll come across on your journey. It seems more like a resort in Las Vegas than an RV park. The camping sites have full utility hookups and cable and wireless internet access. They are also pull-through sites. The bathhouses and laundry facilities are clean. You can also satisfy your late-night snack cravings with the on-site convenience store. The park’s casino is open all day and night. This means that parents can take a break from their kids and go out at night while their children are sleeping.

Time: 5 Hours

5- Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

The city of Memphis, Tennessee, is renowned for its musical heritage, which combines elements of the blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop, and soul. Begin at Graceland, the former residence of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock’ n’ Roll. At the publicly accessible Sun Studio in the heart of Memphis, he cut several of his best songs. Try one of the bars on Beale Street, the heart of nightlife in the city, for live music.

The National Civil Rights Museum, which is housed inside the Lorraine Motel building where Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968, should be a moving and enlightening experience for everyone.

Where to Stay:

Look for Memphis hotels that are close to the city center or Beale Street, like the family-friendly Hampton Inn and Suites, to take advantage of the finest of the city without being too far afield.

Located across the street from the same museum, the Graceland RV Park and Campground offer RV sites with complete utility hookups and a choice of 30-amp or 50-amp electrical units. Wi-Fi access, a camping store, restrooms, and laundry facilities are all located on the well-kept grounds. Additionally, the park offers a swimming pool, hiking and bike paths, and 24-hour security.

Time: 3 Hours

6- Greenville, Mississippi

Greenville, Mississippi

The lovely and river-focused town of Greenville, Mississippi, is located halfway between the big cities of Memphis and New Orleans. You may trek through the beautiful Greenville Cypress Preserve to get a close-up view of the Mississippi River, making this one of the best locations along the trip to admire its waters. Centuries before Europeans arrived on the continent, Indigenous cultures in the area began using the Winterville Mounds, prehistoric man-made hills, nearly 1,000 years ago.

The Jim Henson Museum, which bears the name of the Greenville, South Carolina, native who created the Muppets, is worth visiting if you or your children are Muppets lovers. After nearly a week on the road, you may also indulge in a little gaming at one of the nearby casinos, such as Harlow’s Casino.

Where to Stay: 

Warfield Point Park in Mississippi is a fantastic park that is situated directly on the shores of the Mississippi River. There are 52 campsites available for tent and RV campers, each of which has full utility hookups for water, sewerage, and power. Some locations even have their own fire pits for lounging by the flames. The restrooms are well-kept, and the park itself offers several enjoyable features including a volleyball court, horseshoe pits, a disc golf course, and a boat launch if you chance to be towing a watercraft.

Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

7- New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

One of the enchanted cities with no real counterparts elsewhere in the globe is New Orleans. The French Quarter is the city’s oldest and most well-known neighborhood, known for its upbeat ambiance, nonstop music, and delectable cuisine. You can get a Hurricane cocktail here, go dancing, or see the renowned street performers of the French Quarter. Don’t limit yourself and remember to visit other areas of the city, such as the artistic Bywater district or the picturesque Bayou St. John. It’s also quite touristy. Jackson Square, New Orleans City Park, and the National World War II Museum are further attractions.

Where to Stay:

One of the top RV parks you will stay at on your trip is where the Mississippi River road trip comes to a finish. 52 spacious, level spots with cable TV and complete utility hookups are available at French Quarter RV Resort. With the park’s public laundry facilities and private bathhouses, you can take care of any end-of-trip housekeeping, and the entire area is constantly watched over by on-site security staff. You’ll also gain access to a pool, Jacuzzi, recreation room, exercise center, and other wonderful basic amenities.

Plan a trip to the Mississippi River and enjoy all the above places. Bookmark our website for more travel tips.