In 1846, Iowa, the Hawkeye State, became the 29th state in the US. It is famous for many things, from its famous Iowa State fair to its pork and corn production. It is also the only state in the US that is straddled by two rivers, Missouri and the Mississippi. One of its biggest attractions is The Great River Road.
This road runs along the Mississippi river, all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to Minnesota. The road is a 328-mile-long attraction in its own right. Iowa Starting Line, a Courier Newsroom publication that reports on stories from Iowa has put together an amazing list of must-see places along the road.
Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center, Lansing
1944 Columbus Rd.
The Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center is located along the Mississippi river in Lansing, in the northeastern corner of the state. The Center is located below limestone bluffs and offers some amazing views of the Mississippi river. It is a three-story building, covering 10,000 sq. ft. Each story holds something unique for visitors. The first is dedicated to educating visitors about the natural history of the Driftless Area, whereas the upper level has interactive displays for children to teach them about hunting, trapping, and trading.
Effigy Mounds National Monument, Harper’s Ferry
151 Highway 76
When traveling down the Great River Road, Iowa Starting Line, a Courier Newsroom publication highly recommends Effigy Mounds National Monument. The monument is spread over 2,500 acres and has over 200 animal effigies, making it the highest concentration of effigies in the entire country. You can trek along the Fire Point Trails and the Yellow River Bridge Trail and see 20 mounds and the wetlands.
Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor
3264 Pikes Peak Rd.
Pikes Peak offers some of the best views of the Mississippi river and if you hike up to Crow’s Nest you can see the Mississippi River and the Wisconsin River merge. The Park has an 11-mile trail which gives the visitors a chance to explore this beautiful park, with its scenic views and lust green trees. Visitors can take a half-mile trail to Bridal Veil Falls, which is arguably the best feature there.
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, Dubuque
350 E. Third S.
After traveling along the Great River Road for so long, it is only natural to become curious about the Mississippi river. All questions that you might have can be answered at the River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque. This place is a science center, aquarium, and museum, all in one. Here you can learn about the various species that live alongside the river. The place has many different exhibits including those depicting cultural history, Native American life, animal habitats, and even a blacksmith ship.
Putnam Museum and Science Center, Davenport
1717 W. 12th St.
According to Courier Newsroom’s publication, the Putnam Museum is a great attraction for kids because of its diverse set of exhibits. It is not just a space for children, as there is something for everyone to enjoy. Located in Davenport, this museum includes displays showing the life of early inhabitants of the area, fossils, cultural and natural history displays, and a special exhibit dedicated to the Mississippi river.
George M. Verity Riverboat Museum, Keokuk
Victory Park at Johnson Street
Whenever someone thinks of the Mississippi river, it is hard not to also think about the iconic paddleboats. Long ago, these were the primary mode of moving goods up and down the massive river. These iconic boats are now only used for entertainment purposes, as cruisers and casinos. Now drydocked by the city, the George M. Verity Riverboat serves as a museum documenting river life. This boat was built back in 1927, in the hopes of bringing back river transportation. The boat retired in 1961 and was given to Keokuk. Traveling Along the Great River Road? Check out these 6 Must-See Spots