Wisconsin Getaway Ideas: Exploring Wisconsin’s Great River Road in Summer

It starts in Prescott and flows south through Kieler. While the Mississippi River stretches far beyond the state line, Wisconsin’s Great River Road covers 250 miles and 33 charming river towns. Tackle the route for a road trip and you’ll encounter some of the state’s best hiking, biking, and bird watching, along with quaint farm-towns, museums, and more.

Get Your Brown Bag Breakfast On

Grab a cup of coffee and head out the door; you’ll want to start your journey along the Mississippi River. If you’re an early riser, we recommend catching a sunrise atop the 400-foot bluff at Freedom Park in Prescott.

Endless Exploring

There’s no shortage of recreational areas to explore. Head south to Alma to Rieck’s Lake Park for prime views of waterfowl and tundra swans. If canoeing is more your thing, Merrick State Park in Fountain City has a self-guided canoe trail across its wetlands.

Shop the Day Away

Care to try your luck at antiquing? The Caledonia Street Antique Mall in historic La Crosse is worth a shot. If you’re hungry for lunch, swing by the Alpine Inn where you can play pool, darts, and horseshoes while enjoying some great grub. For authentic Amish gifts, add a quick side trip to your drive and stop by Down a Country Road in Cashton featuring quilts, rugs, baskets, and maple syrup. Be sure to check out this list of all the unique shopping destinations in La Crosse.

Good Eats

Continuing south will take you to Prairie du Chien. Grab one of the “World’s Best Hamburgers” at Pete’s Hamburgers before heading out to watch the sunset. Pete’s has been grilling up great burgers for over 100 years, long before any fast food joint. 

Watch the Sunset at Nelson Dewey State Park

A visit to Nelson Dewey State Park in Cassville is the perfect way to close the day. With a scenic overlook of the Mississippi River, you will truly appreciate the beauty of Wisconsin. If you’re RV’ing or camping, you’ll want to pitch your tent or park for the night (or the rest of the week!). The park also offers three miles of hiking trails, Indian mounds, and wildlife observation areas.

Cozy Up for the Night

By now we’re sure you’ll want to take a nice long rest. If you’re looking for a roof over your head, Major’s Inn offers guests a beautiful river view as you slowly drift off to sleep.

No matter where you start or end up, and no matter the time of year, it’s guaranteed to be an extraordinary road trip. Not sure where to start? Here are a few trip ideas.

This entry was posted in Trip Ideas, Outdoor Fun and tagged Antique Shops, Discovery, Exploring, Native Culture, Outdoor Fun, State Parks