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Best Of The River 2022 Winners

Visit and Celebrate Our National Rivers and River Communities!

The votes are in. Here are River Travel Magazine’s 2022 Best of the River winners! This year’s Best of the River survey included 75+ categories focusing on the best attractions, accommodations, food & drink, and more along rivers all around the United States.

Thousands of visitors and locals nominated and voted on categories ranging from best farm-to-table restaurants, art galleries, music venues, cultural trails, best museums, best river boat tours, best breweries and more. Check out the winners below, and see which river communities and businesses were voted Best of the River this year. Congratulations to all of the winners!

Best Outdoor Adventure

Best outdoor adventures on national rivers! From water and land recreation to the best state parks and scenic outdoor views, here are the Outdoor Adventure Best of the River 2022 winners.

Best Of The River Winners: Outdoor Adventure

Best River To Tube

  1. San Marcos River (San Marcos, TX)
  2. Rainbow River (Dunnellon, FL)
  3. Apple River (Somerset, WI)
  4. Cahaba River (Helena, AL)

Best River To Paddle

  1. Clark Fork River (Missoula, MT)
  2. Missouri River (Fort Benton, MT)
  3. Willamette River (Corvallis, OR)
  4. Huron River (Ann Arbor, MI)

Best River To Boat

  1. Mississippi River (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. Wisconsin River (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
  3. Des Moines River (Des Moines, IA) & Grand River (Grand Rapids, MI)
  4. Columbia River (Clarkston, WA)

Best River To Camp

  1. Mississippi River (McGregor, IA)
  2. Eagle River (Anchorage, AK)
  3. West Branch Little River (Stowe, VT)
  4. Stono River (Charleston, SC)

Best River For Kayaking

  1. Root River (Lanesboro, MN)
  2. Upper Iowa River (Decorah, IA)
  3. Chicago River (Chicago, IL)
  4. Barren River (Bowling Green, KY)

Best River For Canoeing

  1. Fox River (Elgin, IL)
  2. Indian River (Indian River, MI)
  3. Chattahoochee River (Roswell, GA)
  4. Duck River (Columbia, TN)

Best River For Trout Fishing

  1. Kinnickinnic River (River Falls, WI)
  2. St. Croix River (Center City, MN)
  3. Kenai River (Kenai, AK)
  4. Au Sable River (Grayling, MI)

Best River For Bass Fishing

  1. Mississippi River (Alma, WI)
  2. St. Croix River (Center City, MN)
  3. Mulberry River (Mulberry, AR)
  4. James River (Springfield, MO)

Best Overnight River Cruise

  1. Mississippi River (New Orleans, LA)
  2. Cumberland River (Nashville, TN)
  3. Illinois River (Chicago, IL)
  4. Hudson River (New York City, NY)

Best Day Trip River Cruise

  1. Wisconsin River (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
  2. Tennessee River (Chattanooga, TN)
  3. Chicago River (Chicago, IL)
  4. Jean Lafitte Swamp and Bayou Tour (Marrero, LA)

Best River Rapids

  1. St. Louis River (Cloquet, MN)
  2. Rogue River (Medford, OR)
  3. Cedar River (Charles City, IA)
  4. Tallulah River (Tallulah Falls, GA)

Best River Overlook

  1. Mississippi River (Hannibal, MO)
  2. The Green River (Moab, UT)
  3. Ohio River (Cincinnati, OH)
  4. Illinois River (Grafton, IL)

Best Waterfall

  1. Pigeon River (Grand Portage, MN)
  2. Niagara River (Niagara Falls, NY) & Yellowstone River (Yellowstone National Park, WY)
  3. Potato River (Upson, WI)
  4. Tahquamenon River (Paradise, MI)

Best State Park

  1. Itasca State Park (Park Rapids, MN)
  2. Chimney Rock State Park (Chimney Rock, NC)
  3. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park (Corbin, KY)
  4. Rainbow Springs State Park (Dunnellon, FL)

Best Birding Spot

  1. Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve (Green Bay, WI)
  2. Tucson Bird Trail (Tucson, AR)
  3. Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge (Brownsville, TN)
  4. Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge (Hoquiam, WA)

Best National Park

  1. Grand Canyon National Park (Grand Canyon, AZ)
  2. Grand Teton National Park (Moose, WY)
  3. Redwood National Park (Crescent City, CA)
  4. Arches National Park (Moab, UT)

Best Food & Drink

Best-kept food secret, best brewery, best downtown, and many more. Check out the Best of the River 2022 winners for Best Food & Drink categories!

Best Of The River Winners: Food & Drink

Best Bakery

  1. Batch Bakehouse (Madison, WI)
  2. Jaarsma Bakery (Pella, IA)
  3. Rick’s Bakery (Fayetteville, AR)
  4. Bloedow Bakery (Winona, MN)

Best Dive Bar

  1. Palmer’s Bar (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. Silver Dollar Tavern (Madison, WI)
  3. The Deadwood (Iowa City, IA)
  4. Magnolia Bar (Louisville, KY)

Best Overall Bar

  1. Psycho Suzi’s Waterfront Lounge (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. The Safe House (Milwaukee, WI)
  3. Wolski’s Tavern (Milwaukee, WI)
  4. Empire Tavern (Fargo, ND)

Best Barbeque

  1. Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint (Nashville, TN)
  2. Franklin Barbeque (Austin, TX) & Q39 (Kansas City, MO)
  3. McClard’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant (Hot Springs, AR) & Das BBQ (Atlanta, GA)
  4. Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q (Decatur, AL)

Best-Kept Food Secret

  1. Pat O’Malley’s Jet Room (Madison, WI)
  2. Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen (Sioux Falls, SD)
  3. La Regia Taqueria (Iowa City, IA)
  4. Domilise’s Po Boys & Bar (New Orleans, LA)

Best Breakfast

  1. Uncle Loui’s Cafe (Duluth, MN)
  2. The Wooden Chair (Stevens Point, WI)
  3. 392 Caffe (Clinton, IA)
  4. The Bread and Honey House (Phoenix, AZ)

Best Brewery

  1. Pearl Street Brewery (La Crosse, WI)
  2. Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. (Decorah, IA) & Barrel Theory Beer Company (St. Paul, MN)
  3. NOLA Brewing Co. (New Orleans, LA)
  4. Crooked Fence Brewing (Garden City, ID)

Best Burger

  1. 11:11 Burgers & Beignets (Fond du Lac, WI)
  2. Hickory Park Restaurant Co. (Ames, IA)
  3. The Woodhouse Restaurant (Bismarck, ND)
  4. Burger Republic (Nashville, TN)

Best Mexican

  1. Los Cuates Restaurants (Albuquerque, NM)
  2. La Regia Taqueria (Iowa City, IA)
  3. Fonda San Miguel (Austin, TX)
  4. Juan’s Flying Burrito (New Orleans, LA)

Best Candy / Ice Cream Shop

  1. The Pearl Ice Cream Parlor (La Crosse, WI)
  2. Flapdoodles Homemade Ice Cream (Rochester, MN)
  3. La Michoacana (Madison, WI)
  4. Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge (Lexington, KY)

Best Cajun

  1. Bourree (New Orleans, LA)
  2. BeauxJax Crafthouse (Bossier, LA)
  3. Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack (Iowa City, IA)
  4. The Parish Cafe (Healdsburg, CA)

Best Chicken Wings

  1. Monte Carlo (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. Points East Pub (Milwaukee, WI)
  3. Anchor Bar (Buffalo, NY)
  4. American Wings & Cafe-Hattiesburg (Hattiesburg, MS)

Best Coffee Shop

  1. Michelangelo’s Coffee House (Madison, WI)
  2. Twenty Below Coffee Co. (Fargo, ND)
  3. Steampunk Coffee Roasters (Natchez, MS)
  4. Copper Star Coffee (Phoenix, AZ)

Best Diner

  1. North Ave Grill (Wauwatosa, WI)
  2. Bluebird Diner (Iowa City, IA)
  3. 66 Diner (Albuquerque, NM)
  4. Strawn’s Eat Shop (Shreveport, LA)

Best Distillery

  1. Tattersall Distilling (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. La Crosse Distilling Co. (La Crosse, WI)
  3. Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery (Cedar Rapids, IA)
  4. Maggie’s Farm Rum Distillery (Pittsburgh, PA)

Best Doughnuts

  1. Bloedow Bakery (Winona, MN)
  2. Greenbush Bakery (Madison, WI)
  3. Sandy’s Dounts (Fargo, ND)
  4. Sublime Doughnuts (Atlanta, GA)

Best Downtown

  1. Stillwater, MN
  2. La Crosse, WI
  3. St. Augustine, FL
  4. Decorah, IA

Best Extreme Food

  1. The Bloody Beast, Sobelman’s Pub & Grill (Milwaukee, WI)
  2. Adam Emmenecker Sandwich, Jethro’s BBQ (Des Moines, IA)
  3. The Spaghetti Challenge, Mama’s on The Hill (St. Louis, MO)
  4. Hubcap Burger, Ed Walker’s Drive-In (Fort Smith, AR)

Best Farm To Table

  1. Farmers Kitchen & Bar (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. Field To Fork (Sheboygan, WI)
  3. Husk Nashville (Nashville, TN)
  4. Fork (Boise, ID)

Best Farmer’s Market

  1. Dane County Farmers’ Market (Madison, WI)
  2. Downtown Farmers Market (Des Moines, IA)
  3. Heirloom Farmers Market (Tucson, AZ) & Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market (Little Rock, AR)
  4. St. Paul Farmers Market (St. Paul, MN)

Best Irish Pub

  1. Dublin Square Irish Pub & Eatery (La Crosse, WI)
  2. Sully’s Irish Pub (Des Moines, IA)
  3. Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub (Alexandria, VA)
  4. Callaghan’s Irish Social Club (Mobile, AL)

Best Italian Food

  1. Ristorante Bartolotta (Wauwatosa, WI)
  2. Baroncini Ristorante (Iowa City, IA)
  3. Luciano’s (Boise, ID)
  4. The Sicilian II (Biloxi, MS)

Best On The Water Dining

  1. Boat House (Winona, MN)
  2. River Deck Restaurant (Hayward, WI)
  3. Riverside Hood River (Hood River, OR)
  4. Elevation 486 (Twin Falls, ID)

Best Pie

  1. Stockholm Pie & General Store (Stockholm, WI)
  2. Honeypie Cafe (Milwaukee, WI)
  3. Aroma Pie Shoppe (Whalan, MN)
  4. PattiCakes Bakery (Conway, AR)

Best Pizza

  1. Mama’s Pizza Parlor (St. Paul, MN)
  2. Dells Pizza Lab (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
  3. Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria (Anchorage, AK) & Di Fara Pizza (New York City, NY)
  4. Razza Pizza Artigianale (Jersey City, NJ)

Best Romantic Restaurant

  1. Signature’s Restaurant (Winona, MN)
  2. Ristorante Bartolotta (Wauwatosa, WI)
  3. Cobble Hill Eatery & Dispensary (Cedar Rapids, IA)
  4. Canoe (Atlanta, GA)

Best Steak

  1. The Ranch Supper Club (Hayward, WI)
  2. Chandler’s Steakhouse & Seafood (Boise, ID)
  3. Archie’s Waeside (Le Mars, IA)
  4. Buckhorn Exchange (Denver, CO)

Best Thai Food

  1. On’s Kitchen (St. Paul, MN)
  2. Exotic Thai (Davenport, IA)
  3. Orchid Thai Cuisine (Albuquerque, NM)
  4. The Smiling Elephant (Nashville, TN)

Best Vegan / Vegetarian

  1. J. Selby’s (St. Paul, MN)
  2. Sweet Soulfood (New Orleans, LA)
  3. Three Carrots (Indianapolis, IN)
  4. V-Grits (Louisville, KY)

Best Winery

  1. Von Stiehl Winery (Algoma, WI)
  2. North Shore Winery (Lusten, MN)
  3. KC Wineworks (Kansas City, MO)
  4. Pontotoc Vineyard (Fredericksburg, TX)

Best Attractions

Take a look at the 2022 Best of the River winners for best attractions. Categories included zoos, festivals, family friendly attractions, military and history museums, historic sites, and more!

Best Of The River Winners: Attractions

Best Aquarium/Zoo

  1. Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago, IL)  & St. Louis Zoo (St. Louis, MO)
  2. Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (Omaha, NE)
  3. Memphis Zoo (Memphis, TN) & Cincinnati Zoo and Aquarium (Cincinnati, OH)
  4. Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta, GA)

Best Family Attraction

  1. Waterpark Capital of the World (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
  2. Mall of America (Bloomington, MN)
  3. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN)
  4. Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, VA)

Best Overall Attraction

  1. The House On The Rock (Spring Green, WI)
  2. Pike Place Market (Seattle, WA) & Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater (Denver, CO)
  3. International Spy Museum (Washington DC)
  4. Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return (Santa Fe, NM)

Best Baseball Team To Watch

  1. St. Paul Saints (St. Paul, MN)
  2. Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Appleton, WI)
  3. Iowa Cubs (Des Moines, IA)
  4. Nashville Sounds (Nashville, TN)

Best Casino

  1. Ho-Chunk Casino Hotel (Baraboo, WI)
  2. Black Bear Casino Resort (Carlton, MN)
  3. Buffalo Thunder Casino (Santa Fe, NM) & Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa (Tampa, FL)
  4. L’Auberge Casino Resort (Lake Charles, LA)

Best Festival

  1. Mardi Gras (New Orleans, LA)
  2. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, NM) & National Cherry Blossom Festival (Washington, DC)
  3. Festival of Fools (Burlington, VT)
  4. Euphoria Food Festival (Greenville, SC)

Best Film Festival

  1. Twin Cities Film Fest (St. Louis Park, MN)
  2. Telluride Film Festival (Telluride, CO)
  3. Nashville Film Festival (Nashville, TN)
  4. Ann Arbor Film Festival (Ann Arbor, MI)

Best Fair

  1. Minnesota State Fair (St. Paul, MN)
  2. Wisconsin State Fair (West Allis, WI)
  3. Iowa State Fair (Des Moines, IA)
  4. North Carolina State Fair (Raleigh, NC)

Best LGBTQ Festival

  1. San Francisco Pride (San Francisco, CA)
  2. Denver Pride (Denver, CO)
  3. Girls In Wonderland (Orlando, FL) & Outloud Music Festival (Nashville, TN)
  4. Capital Pride (Washington DC)

Best Music Festival

  1. Rockfest (Cadott, WI)
  2. Austin City Limits Music Festival (Austin TX)
  3. Lollapalooza (Chicago, IL)
  4. Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (Manchester, TN)

Best Fort

  1. Historic Fort Snelling (St. Paul, MN)
  2. The Alamo (San Antonio, TX)
  3. Fort Sheridan (Lake Forest, IL)
  4. For McHenry (Baltimore, MD)

Best Historic Home

  1. Glensheen Mansion (Duluth, MN)
  2. The Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee, WI)
  3. Graceland (Memphis, TN)
  4. Monticello (Charlottesville, VA)

Best Historic Site

  1. Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, VA)
  2. The Lincoln Tomb & War Memorials State Historic Site (Springfield, IL)
  3. Jackson Square (New Orleans, LA)
  4. Independence National Historical Park (Philadelphia, PA)

Best Live Music Venue

  1. Red Rocks Amphitheater (Denver, CO)
  2. Ryman Auditorium (Nashville, TN)
  3. Madison Square Garden (New York City, NY)
  4. The Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles, CA)

Best Memorial

  1. Arlington National Cemetery (Arlington, VA)
  2. Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial (Washington DC)
  3. 9/11 Memorial & Museum (New York, NY)
  4. National Mall and Memorial Parks (Washington DC)

Best Art Museum

  1. Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee, WI)
  2. Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (Washington, DC)
  3. Museum of Modern Art (New York City, NY)
  4. Museum of Pop Culture (Seattle, WA)

Best Children’s Museum

  1. Minnesota Children’s Museum (St. Paul, MN)
  2. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN)
  3. City Museum (St. Louis, MO)
  4. Boston Children’s Museum (Boston, MA)

Best History Museum

  1. Smithsonian National Museum of American History (Washington, DC)
  2. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC)
  3. The Henry Ford (Dearborn, MI)
  4. Rock & Roll hall of Fame (Cleveland, OH)

Best Military Museum

  1. American Civil War Museum (Richmond, VA)
  2. National WWII Museum (New Orleans, LA)
  3. The National Museum of the United States Air Force (Dayton, OH)
  4. National WWI Museum and Memorial (Kansas City, MO)

Best Native American Cultural Site

  1. Taos Pueblo (Taos, NM)
  2. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (Albuquerque, NM)
  3. Aztec Ruins National Monument (Aztec, NM)
  4. Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ)

Best Public Art

  1. Memphis, TN
  2. Asheville, NC
  3. Austin, TX
  4. Boise, ID

Best Parade

  1. The Saint Paul Winter Carnival (St. Paul, MN)
  2. Mardi Gras (New Orleans, LA)
  3. St. Patrick’s Day Parade (Chicago, IL)
  4. Philadelphia Mummers Parade (Philadelphia, PA)

Best Antique Store

  1. Hunt & Gather (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. Funky Finds Vintage & Retro (Des Moines, IA)
  3. Moxy Modern Mercantile (Little Rock, AR) & Anchorage re-MADE (Anchorage, AK)
  4. Modern Manor (Phoenix, AZ)

Best Book Store

  1. Dotters Books (Eau Claire, WI)
  2. Prairie Lights (Iowa City, IA)
  3. Dickson St. Bookshop (Fayetteville, AR)
  4. Charis Books & More (Atlanta, GA)

Best Theater

  1. Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. The Pabst Theater (Milwaukee, WI)
  3. Indiana Repertory Theater (Indianapolis, IN)
  4. Saenger Theater (New Orleans, LA)

Best Ghost/Haunted Tours

  1. Wabasha Street Caves (St. Paul, MN)
  2. French Quarter Phantoms (New Orleans, LA)
  3. The Original Ghosts of Williamsburg (Williamsburg, VA)
  4. Witch City Walking Tours (Salem, MA)

Best Historic Tours

  1. Historic Milwaukee Tours (Milwaukee, WI)
  2. Chicago Crime Tours (Chicago, IL)
  3. Graceland (Memphis, TN)
  4. Beneath the Streets Seattle (Seattle, WA)

Best Places To Stay

Best places to stay on rivers around the United States! Categories include an option for every traveler from campgrounds, farmstays, and bed and breakfasts to resorts, boutique lodges, and romantic getaways.