My family has always had a great love for road tripping. Driving is second nature to me and I used to travel almost 200 miles between Indiana and Wisconsin quite often during my late teens. A couple of weeks ago, we had a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and decided to take a road trip with no destination in mind except for the open road in front of us. A couple of hours after we left home, we ended up in Dubuque, Iowa – traveling across the giant bridge that goes over the Mississippi River between Wisconsin and Iowa on Hwy 151.
The view from the bridge was gorgeous and being up so high, you could see down the river as far as your eyes could see. My husband was able to get some great photos while I drove. I love that the one above captures the beauty of the river and also the town of Dubuque.
Since I was driving, I wanted a quick rest to get off my butt and walk around a bit so I found this little park, A.Y. McDonald Park, where we stopped to stretch our legs. It was perfect because we were able to see the bridge that we had just crossed and also see the Mississippi River up close and personal for the first time. The kids also let me get a photo of them with the Andrew Younger McDonald memorial stone.
A.Y. McDonald Park is nice because it’s small and quaint, with easy access right along the river. It’s a perfect place to stop for the kids to play on the playground and where you could enjoy a picnic lunch.
Once we left the park, we drove around Dubuque for a very short time, then decided to see where The Great River Road that we had passed would lead. We knew that our ultimate goal was to only drive for a few more hours at the most, so we decided on Prairie du Chein for our resting spot, which is on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River.
The Great River Road Dubuque to Prairie du Chein
The trip along The Great River Road from Dubuque to Prairie du Chein is about a 2 hour journey through small towns and rolling farmlands, driving on winding roads with steep inclines, then declines.
The entire journey was mesmerizing because the terrain and scenery was constantly changing, and we would get little glimpses of the Mississippi River from time to time. I wanted a million photos to document our journey but my husband wasn’t being a very cooperative photographer and instead wanted to take in the scenery, which I surely cannot blame him for. That’s why he will be driving next time!
An absolutely stunning view of the Mississippi River at Pikes Peak State Park. I’m definitely coming back in Autumn! @traveliowa #travel #travelblogger #travelling #roadtrip #roadtripping #traveliowa #traveliowabyways #o3to1travels #wanderlust #tree #trees #river #mississippiriver #wander #boat #shippingbarge #nature #beautiful
As you come into McGregor, Iowa, you’ll happen upon Pikes Peak State Park and don’t even consider passing it by. The park has a 500-foot bluff that overlooks the Upper Mississippi River where it meets the Wisconsin River. The views are spectacular and I plan to go back in fall to see what beauty the season holds for Pikes Peak State Park.
Continue along The Great River Road and you’ll pass through a true small town, USA – McGregor, Iowa which was founded in 1847 as MacGregor’s Landing by Alexander MacGregor. Travel down the road just a bit and you’ll run into Lady Luck Casino, a riverboat casino in Marquette, just outside of town. You can hop on the boat to throw some quarters in the slot machines, then take the sky walk over the road and rest in the hotel for the evening.
Head across the river, into Prairie du Chein and stop for a quick bite atThe Depot Bar & Grill. The food is inexpensive and tastes great, plus you’ll enjoy a gorgeous sunset view overlooking the Mississippi while eating dinner from the patio.
While in Prairie du Chein, I definitely recommend taking the time to stop at the The Veterans Memorial, which is also home to the M6A03 and Old Rock School.
There are many other nearby attractions including the Effigy Mounds National Monument. Next time we visit, we plan to check out the Villa Louis Historical Site which is the estate of one of Wisconsin’s most prosperous families. If you visit between Memorial Day and labor Day, there are many more attractions open so plan accordingly if you’d like to take in everything that the area has to offer.
You could definitely make a weekend getaway out of this road trip, rather than just a day trip and that might be something to consider if you’d like to take in all of the sites. There are plenty of campgrounds and hotels to choose from in the area. We stayed at the Microtel Inn & Suites, which offers comfortable rooms and an indoor swimming pool.
Our road trip along The Great River Road Dubuque to Prairie du Chein was pretty amazing and we plan to start the journey again this summer, going North from Prairie du Chein; so be sure to watch for that trip on my social channels later this summer.