This website uses Cookies to offer you an enhanced browsing experience. Find out more about how we use Cookies.

USA Radio

Great River Road

View On Map Travel Tips

The Great River Road follows the length of the mighty Mississippi, linking 10 states that border the river. Beginning in Minnesota and ending in Louisiana, this meandering route is meant to be enjoyed like a leisurely trip downstream. With so many sights to see and places to explore, you’ll want to take your time.

Created in 1938, the Great River Road (or GRR) is a group of roads stretching over 2,000 miles, connecting the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin. From farmlands and forests to sleepy river towns, historic landmarks and wildlife preserves, this is a trip with a bit of something for everyone—even incredible shopping at the Mall of America!

The Great River Road begins in Lake Itasca State Park, Minnesota and winds along the quiet country roads. Once you arrive at Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the Mississippi itself will have changed from a small brook to a massive river. Head to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota to meet live American Bald Eagles, the only species of eagle unique to North America. 

Through the state of Wisconsin, this trip along the Great River Road winds you through a 250-mile scenic byway with riverboats, winding streams and all kinds of birds. Wisconsin is famous for its cheese produced by the hundreds of dairy farms found throughout the state. Be sure to sample one of the many varieties before you leave the state. Foodies will also enjoy a stop to try the savory French toast and baked goodies at Bogus Creek Cafe and Bakery in Stockholm.  

Across Iowa, you’ll pass the North-South Divide where you find the rolling plains of corn and soybeans.  On this trip you’ll also find the landmark that symbolizes the gateway from east to west—the St. Louis Arch. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, this sparkling structure was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen. As you head down south make a stop at celebrated 19th-century author Mark Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri. Further down the road is the charming old river town of Sainte Genevieve, Missouri.  

Continuing your journey south, you will reach the famed Mississippi Delta, which sits between Memphis, Tennessee and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Known as much for its Southern cuisine as its music, the Delta is the rightful birthplace to the music we call “the blues,” and home to rock‘n’roll legends like Elvis Presley. A tour of Elvis’ Graceland Mansion in Memphis is definitely worth a visit. While in town make sure to grab a platter of dry-rubbed ribs at famous barbecue joint Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous Restaurant. For a taste of Mississippi, visit  legendary blues musician B.B. King’s hometown of Indianola, which houses the B. B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.

Finally you’ll arrive in Louisiana with Creole-style bungalows and restored antebellum plantations. You’ll end your journey along the Great River Road in New Orleans’ famed French Quarter, where you can savor the region’s Cajun cuisine from Cochon or sit at the bar with freshly chucked oysters at Acme Oyster House. Afterwards, take a stroll on the vibrant Frenchmen Street for some live jazz.

What to bring: binoculars for birdwatching, your favorite blues music and an appetite for discovery.

View On Map

Basic Route Information

Route Distance 4401 Kilometers
Route Time 46 Hours
Welcome to Discover America!

Now that you have registered, you can save trip ideas to your suitcase.

Start exploring

Enter your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Please check your email.

Start exploring

The password on your account has successfully been changed. Please use your new password to login.

Start exploring

This website is set to 'allow all cookies' for the best user experience. By continuing without changing this setting, you are consenting to this. You may change your settings at any time at the bottom of this page.

More information about cookies

Cookies are very small text files that are stored on your computer when you visit some websites.

We use cookies to make our website easier for you to use. You can remove any cookies already stored on your computer, but these may prevent you from using parts of our website.

If you choose to disable non-essential cookies, the website will:

  • Allow you to log in and remember you are logged in, while in session
  • Determine your country of origin in order to serve you the most relevant version of the site

This website will not:

  • Restrict welcome messaging to the first time you visit the site
  • Track any activity on the site for analytics purposes

More information about cookies