Photo Credit: Great River Road (Wisconsin)

Beaches on the Great River Road

A nice summer day is called Beach Day on the Great River Road! Soak up the rays and play on the sands of these Mississippi Beaches and on other riverside lakes. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen!

*On Your Way: Attractions may be sparse on the River so hit these spots on your way.


Point Douglas Beach (Hastings, MN)

Lifeguards, outside showers, changing areas, and great scenery make Point Douglas a local favorite. Take your lunch to-go and head to the beach with several picnic tables. Head over the bridge to the Wisconsin side for a tour of the cute town of Prescott, it’s a great beach break!

Florence Township Beach (Frontenac, MN)

Frontenac welcomes a quiet family day near the water! The beach is scattered with docks, picnic tables, and boat launches. Grab your kayak and glide through a nice sunny day.


Wyalusing Public Beach (Bagley, WI)

Find everyone at the beach on a Wyalusing weekend! Two miles south of Wyalusing State Park are well-maintained sands and family fun. Follow the river’s canoe trail and discover the waterfowl!

Pettibone Beach (La Crosse, WI)

Travelers looking to play some riverside sports will appreciate Pettibone’s open space. Can’t fit a kayak on the back of your car? Rent kayaks and canoes at the beach for an affordable price!


Buffalo Shores (Buffalo, IA)

Right off of State Highway 22, Buffalo Shores makes a great pit-stop to stretch and tan. The recreational area is twenty-five acres of free and open beach. Remember to pack a volleyball for the sanded courts!

Deep Lakes Park (Muscatine, IA)

Dip into the hidden gem of Muscatine. Fishermen and boat enthusiasts are welcomed to use the docks, and families or couples can spend an afternoon paddling waters. Either way, there’s something for everyone!


Lake Storey Beach (Galesburg, IL)

Get ready to paddle! Lake Storey paddle boat rentals, which also includes lifejackets, are a fun way for families and friends to glide the current. Anyone who is under the age of 16 is required to have supervision. 

Poplar Camp Beach at Cedar Lake (Carbondale, IL)

Need a safe beach area to bring the kids to? The Poplar Camp Beach offers Certified Red Cross lifeguards, play and floating areas, and a lap lane. Single day visits are charged, but children 4-years-old or younger are admitted free. 


Wakonda State Park (La Grange, MO)

Wakonda State Park is a must-visit for bird lovers. The waterfowl mixed with clean beaches and camping space might entice river road travelers to stay a day or two in La Grange! 

Mark Twain State Park (Florida, MO)

Relax on a Florida beach … in Missouri! Near the park’s Highway 107 Recreation Area, Mark Twain Lake is full of families and visitors cooling off from the Missouri sun.


Great River Road travelers may have to drive a little extra to lay out their beach towels. Here are some off-the-road spots that have many people talking about a Kentucky beach day.

Pennyrile Forest State Park (Dawson Springs, KY)

From Memorial day to Labor Day, swimmers make their way to Pennyrile Lake! The state park is a waterhole for family fun and activity – including the public beach. Take a day or two of sunbathing and check out the park’s lodging options.

North Fork Campground (McDaniels, KY)

Find the sand in the forested hills of south central Kentucky! The rural location unwinds visitors with natural beauty like limestone cliffs and sandstone. Pitch a tent at one of the many campsites on the waterfront!


Reelfoot Lake (Tiptonville, TN)

In the washout of the lake, kids with floaties and beach chairs line the waterfront. There are also numerous public boat ramps and fishing piers, be sure to keep an eye out for eagles and other Tennessee wildlife. 

On Your Way: Old Hickory Beach (Old Hickory, TN)

The large group picnic shelter, lengthy shoreline, playground, and wildlife are a few characteristics that make the Tennessee beach a favorite! One Google reviewer claimed the area was “a wonderful place to get off the beaten path…”


Crowley’s Ridge State Park (Paragould, AR)

The park’s native log and stone structures and the forested hills of northwest Arkansas gives the park a rustic atmosphere. Swimming is allowed in a 3.5 acre designated region with lifeguards on duty.

Village Creek State Park (Wynne, AR)

Village Creek offers a few lakes with swimming areas, as well as a golf course, park, and fishing grounds. Learn a little history on beach day! A portion of the original Trail of Tears road can be found in the park.


Chewalla Lake Recreation Area (Holly Springs, MS)

The Chewalla Lake is surrounded by pine, sweet gum, and oak while dogwood blooms in the spring. According to a review, the no-wake lake has baby bream that will try to nibble your toes and legs!

The Rocks (Coffeeville, MS)

On Grenada Lake, visitors rave about the beach nicknamed The Rocks. The relaxing environment, along with plenty of sand and rock formations for kids to play on are a few reasons to trust the locals on this one!



Lake Bruin State Park (St Joseph, LA)

Take lunch to the beach and start up the grills at Lake Bruin. A special portion of the lake is designated for swimming, otherwise visitors can have fun with water sports, boating, or fishing opportunities.

On Your Way: Grand Isle Beach (Grand Isle, LA)

Seven miles of public beach! Louisiana’s Gulf Coast waters make perfect shell-hunting, sand-castle-building moments for you and your travel buddy! Or, take a walk during one of the shore’s beautiful sunsets.