Seeing the Mississippi River in all of its splendor is dazzling in itself. But don’t just stop at the river. There are loads of awesome things to do right along it. Here are 9 hidden gems you just have to check out.
1. Mississippi Palisades State Park
This is one of the most stunning state parks in all of Illinois. It is located in Savanna, IL. Large forested bluffs line the Mississippi River on both sides. There is a scenic overlook that allows you to get a sense of just how large the Mississippi River is. You will be amazed.
2. Cahokia Mounds
Once upon a time, this area of the world was more populated than London. It was the home of the most sophisticated pre-Columbian civilization north of Mexico. They had complex political and spiritual lives. Get a sense of what their lives were like in Collinsville, IL.
3. Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
If you're scared of heights, and bridges, this one might not be for you. But if you can get over it, there's nothing more incredible than walking on this old bridge over the Mississippi. It is just over a mile long. A 22 degree bend occurring in the middle of the bridge is notable.
4. Sunset Park
This Rock Island park is, you guessed it, an amazing place to see a sunset. It backs up into a 50 acre lake which was an outlet to the Mississippi River. It sits on 250 acres and the overlook offers panoramic views.
5. National Great Rivers Museum
All along the Mississippi River, visitor centers are popping up. There are exhibits detailing the early navigation of the river and construction of the dam. It is truly fascinating to learn more about the river and the construction of the dam system.
6. Pere Marquette State Park
This park, located in Grafton at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, is 8,000 acres. Gorgeous bridges and scenic overlooks line a trail running right along the river. It is also an incredible place to see wintering bald eagles.
This quaint river town is one of the most charming in Illinois. A great downtown area is dotted with loads of unique shops. Fine dining and bed and breakfasts make this a great place to recharge or rekindle the romance.
This town was once the home to the Mormons as they fled religious persecution. Eventually, the Mormons migrated West, but their impact in Nauvoo remains. There are loads of historical sites, as well as historical reenactments showing you what the town was like. Make sure to check out this mighty temple, too.
Alton is a quirky kind of river town. It has repeatedly been referred to as one of the most haunted towns in Illinois due to multiple ghost sightings. It was the home of the tallest man. And it also is where the Piasa bird (part bird, part lion) was sighted. All of that, plus a great river view, make this a town you will want to check out.