Explore Mississippi River
Country in Illinois
America’s Historic River
If you had to pick one area in the Midwest that best reflects the evolution of our nation, it would have to be the 550-mile route along the Mississippi River. From Civil War heroes to an inventor that brought a faster way to feed our nation; from Native Americans to French explorers; from miners to religious leaders, this drive tells the story of American history and the people and places that helped shape our nation.
Along the river you can sample a variety of locally grown gourmet dinners to fun and funky casual meals where the locals hang-out. There are also vineyards and wineries along the way where you can stop and enjoy our award-winning Illinois wine.
Chicago - DAY 1 & 2
The history of Chicago and Illinois comes alive when you take the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Architectural River Cruise. Learn why Chicago is known for its innovative architecture. Be sure to take in the Field Museum, Art Institute of Chicago and Shedd Aquarium to round out your trip.
Galena - DAY 3 & 4
The Mississippi River played an integral part in Galena’s history and growth. It was a bustling town in the early 1800’s and grew quickly with the discovery of lead in the surrounding hills. Over 85 percent of the town is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been noted as one of the Top 10 Most Romantic Small Towns in North America. The area’s rich history can be traced back to the Black Hawk Wars between the Native Americans and settlers. Don’t miss the Apple River Fort in Elizabeth. Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, settled here after the Civil War and his home is a State Historic Site. Along the way be sure to stop in Fulton to see the Windmill “de Immigrant” and the Albany Indian Mounds State Historic site.
Rock Island - DAY 5
Travel south to Moline and Rock Island where you can see how John Deere changed the way the world’s food supply moved from farm to table. See how a combine is made at the John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline, where
potential customers can drive it off the lot. In Rock Island you can visit the Black Hawk State Historic Site where prehistoric Indians and nineteenth-century settlers made their homes. Watch boats pass through a working lock and learn more about navigation on our nation’s largest river at the Rock Island Arsenal and the Mississippi River Visitors Center. As you continue your drive south, you’ll want to stop in Nauvoo and tour the family properties of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with over 25 restored homes and shops
furnished with 1840s-era Mormon life.
Quincy - DAY 6
Quincy is filled with architectural landmarks. The East End Historic District contains restored homes from the 1850s and tells the story of Quincy’s beginnings. Quincy’s oldest house, built in 1835 was a stop on the Underground Railroad during our nation’s Civil War. Explore the world of Mark Twain in Hannibal, Missouri, a short drive across the bridge.
Alton and Grafton - DAY 7 & 8
You can see the confluence of three rivers — the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri along this thirty-three mile stretch that is rich in history: the towns of Elsah and Grafton, the replication of the Piasa bird that explorers Marquette and Joliet discovered in 1673, the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville and the statue to the world’s tallest man — Robert Wadlow. You won’t want to miss the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site that tells the story of Lewis and Clark in Illinois at Camp River Dubois — the “point of departure” for the Corps of Discovery. Stand in awe of the Mississippi River at the National Great Rivers Museum at the Melvin Price Locks and Dam (#26) which is the center of commerce and transportation along the river. Alton was a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War and you can retrace the steps of fleeing slaves. In nearby Collinsville, discover the remains of an ancient Native American city at Cahokia Mounds, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here’s a sampling of our lodging properties travelers are assured to love, ready to greet international clients.
Alton / Grafton
Beall Mansion: Alton
Best Western Plus Parkway: Alton
Holiday Inn Alton: Alton
Ruebel Hotel: Grafton
Tara Point Inn & Cottages: Grafton
Best Western Designer Inn & Suites Galena
Chestnut Mountain Resort Galena
The Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel Galena
Best Western Airport Inn Moline
Holiday Inn Rock Island Hotel
& Conference Center Rock Island
Jumer’s Casino Hotel Rock Island
Town and Country Inn & Suites Quincy
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