The setting of many American novels and the muse for many works of art, Mississippi is the most iconic river in the US. Starting its journey in Minnesota. The Mississippi River flows along 2,340 miles and touches the shores of 10 different states before arriving at its final destination – the Gulf of Mexico. Paddlesteam the Mississippi is an ideal way to accompany the river along its journey. One of the longest rivers on the planet and the second-longest in the USA, Mississippi promises relaxing adventures and fascinating tales.
Unlike sea cruises, a Mississippi cruise has fewer waves, more small towns, and an abundance of historical stories. The atmosphere on the paddle steamer is much more laid back than on a big cruise ship involving more time spent on the deck admiring the views and less time spent inside playing games or attending parties.
Mississippi cruise itineraries
Considering its significant length, Mississippi river cruise itineraries include three routes. Travelers can choose the best itinerary depending on their interests, preferences, and weather, or they can opt for a complete Mississippi cruise. Either way, the simple fact that you’re going to paddlesteam the Mississippi and experience one of the most interesting and fun adventures in the country is reason enough to jump with joy, regardless of your age.
A week on the Lower Mississippi will take you from New Orleans to Memphis. You’ll also stop in ports like Baton Rouge and Vicksburg. While New Orleans charms visitors with its sublime French Quarter, outstanding jazz, and extraordinary Southern and Creole specialties, Vicksburg familiarizes guests with local history and offers them the opportunity to visit a Civil War battlefield, southern plantations, and lovely antebellum houses. Baton Rouge mesmerizes travelers with a fascinating blend of African-American and Caribbean cultures and lures them in with delicious Creole and Cajun delights, and Memphis… needs no presentation since Elvis’s home is famous all over the world.
The Middle Mississippi cruise takes passengers from Memphis to St. Louis or the other way around. If you’re visiting St Louis, stop for a refreshing beer at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and don’t miss the chance to tour the local botanical garden. The seven days spent on board the paddle steamer on the Mississippi will give you the chance to visit places like New Madrid, Paducah, and Chester. However, the best attraction of the Middle Mississippi is its superb scenery.
If you want to capture the most beautiful views, the Upper Mississippi cruise is definitely the best choice for you. You’ll get to paddlesteam the Mississippi from St. Louis to St. Paul, stopping along the way in Hannibal, the hometown of Mark Twain.
Davenport where you’ll discover the legacy of John Deere, and Dubuque for a chance to embrace the local Victorian-era sophistication. As you cruise toward the north, the beautiful forest and wildlife of Minnesota and Wisconsin will start to unveil, the scenery becoming more scenic as you move forward.
Each itinerary lasts around one week, so if you want to paddlesteam the Mississippi in all its glory, we recommend reserving around three weeks for the complete experience.
Best time to paddlesteam the Mississippi
Before planning your Mississippi river cruise keep in mind the river has a mind of its own. You can do the math and choose the best time to paddlesteam the Mississippi but if the weather invites too much rain or no rain into the waters of the Mississippi, you’ll be in for a surprise. For example, if the waters are too low because of a drought, it’s very possible for the riverboat to be unable to sail upriver, which means the itinerary might change and take you to the Ohio River for a part of your journey. If it rains too much, the riverboats might find it impossible to get under bridges and the itinerary would need adjusting.
The Lower Mississippi River is the most popular itinerary and creates the perfect setting for lovely paddle steamer cruises between November and December and April and June. This is the best time to paddlesteam the Mississippi from New Orleans to Memphis.
The paddle steam river cruises on the Upper Mississippi are available from July to October, when the waters aren’t too high for the paddle steamers. Summer brings extra humidity, thunderstorms, and tourist crowds, so if you prefer more reasonable weather and fewer passengers on board, you should plan to paddlesteam the Mississippi in the fall.
If Paddlesteaming is not really to your liking then you could always Canoe down the Grand Canyon, read more by clicking here.