State Parks Photo Credit: Itasca State Park (Park Rapids, MN)

State Parks on the Great River Road

When people get together and say ‘we gotta protect this area’ you know there’s something special there.  You might find the perfect Mississippi River vista, or learn a little history, or just soak in the nature and let it soothe the soul on your travels of the Great River Road.

 

 ~Minnesota~

 

Itasca State Park (Park Rapids, MN)

The very beginning is a very good place to start when it comes to the state parks. Your chance to walk across the Mississippi River and enjoy the over 100 lakes within the park. Trails galore for hiking, biking and snowmobiling.

dnr.state.mn.us

Fort Snelling State Park (St. Paul, MN)

A state park in the heart of a city. Fort Snelling was built on a bluff to control trade and settlement on the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers.

exploreminnesota.com

 

 ~Wisconsin~

Perrot State Park (Trempealeau, WI)

Many trails take you to the top of bluffs for panoramic views of the Mississippi River Valley. Be ready for stairs and steep climbs on the bluff trails.

travelwisconsin.com

Wyalusing State Park (Potosi, WI)

Camp 500 feet over the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers with hiking, canoe, and mountain bike trails. Free astronomy programs May thru Oct.

travelwisconsin.com

~Iowa~

 

Pikes Peak State Park (McGregor, IA)

A bird’s eye view of the Mississippi! A great place to check out fall foliage.

visitiowa.org

Maquoketo Caves State Park (Maquoketo, IA)

Bring a flashlight when you visit, there are 13 caves to explore from lighted walkways to wear old clothes and be prepared to wiggle your way through.

traveliowa.com

~Illinois~

 

Mississippi Palisades State Park (Savanna, IL)

Some of the bluff trails at the Mississippi Palisades are the same paths taken by the Native Americans nearly a thousand years ago.

enjoyillinois.com

Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton, IL)

Beautiful scenery, rock climbing, and a winery? The Civilian Conservation Corps built a lodge in the 30’s where you can still stay today.

dnr.illinois.gov

~Missouri~

 

Castlewood State Park (Ballwin, MO)

100 years ago this was where St.Louis city dwellers went in the summer to cool off in the water and do a little partying. At its height over 10,000 people came here each weekend.

visitmo.com

Hawn State Park (Ste. Genevieve, MO)

Some of Missouri’s most scenic landscapes with its sandstone canyons and sandy bottom streams.

mostateparks.com

 

~Kentucky~

 

John James Audubon State Park (Henderson, KY)

A museum on the life and work of John James Audubon, plus an art gallery and nature center. Cottages and camping available.

kentuckytourism.com

Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site (Paducah, KY)

This Native American archaeological site features mounds, museum exhibits, a walking trail, welcome center, a gift shop and picnic areas.

parks.ky.gov

 

~Tennessee~

 

Reelfoot Lake State Park (Tiptonville, TN)

15,000 acre lake with a flooded forest, this shallow lake is home to thousands of bald eagles in January and February.

tnstateparks.com

T.O. Fuller State Park (Memphis, TN)

A unique natural habitat with all the extras; an Interpretive Nature and Education Center, an Olympic-size pool and splash pad, ball fields, basketball and tennis court.

tnvacation.com

 

~ARKANSAS~

 

Village Creek State Park (Wynne, AK)

In Arkansas’ Mississippi Alluvial Plain and the state’s 2nd largest state park, even has a fantastic golf course.

arkansasstateparks.com

Lake Chicot State Park (Lake Village, AK)

On a 22 mile oxbow lake, the largest in North America, lots of boating and fishing and cabins for rent.

arkansasstateparks.com

 

~Mississippi~

 

Vicksburg National Military Park (Vicksburg, MS)

Technically a national park, not a state park, but couldn’t pass this one up – especially if you’re a Civil War buff.

nps.gov

Natchez State Park (Natchez, MS)

The biggest largemouth bass in Mississippi River history was caught here. Maybe try your hand at breaking the record.

visitnatchez.org

 

~Louisiana~

 

Fontainebleau State Park (Mandeville, LA)

Sunbathe on the sandy beaches while watching sailboats on the horizon… yes please.

louisianatravel.com

Saint Bernard State Park (Springfield, LA)

The last state park before the Big Muddy ends in the Gulf of Mexico. A network of man-made lagoons and many historic sites nearby.

crt.state.la.us