The 33-mile Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway connects Pere Marquette State Park to river ports such as Grafton and Alton. Museums, antiquing, birding and ziplining fill a getaway.
San Vadalabene Great River Road Bike Trail, Grafton
San Vadalabene Great River Road Bike Trail
| Credit: Ryan Donnell


Alton Stained Glass Works

Colorful art glass includes windows and wall hangings, beads, and jewelry. Fuel your creative side with classes teaching stained-glass techniques or glass-bead creation.

Audubon Center at Riverlands

Scope out some of the nearly 300 bird species that have been spotted at this center near the confluence of the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers in West Alton, Missouri (just across the border from Alton, Illinois).

Grafton Winery and Brewhaus

Try samples from a family- owned winery that produces 20 wines (and six beers). The patio provides river views.

Grafton Zipline, Grafton
Credit: Ryan Donnell

Grafton Zipline and Sky Tour at Aerie's Resort

Admire the forest canopy from above when you're on the nine-line, two-hour tour. Or float through the air on the Grafton Sky Tour "chondola," an open-air chairlift and enclosed gondola on the same lift linking Main Street with Aerie's Resort and Winery.

Lincoln and Civil War Legacy Trail
Credit: Jay Wilde

Lincoln and Civil War Legacy Trail 

Take a self-guided tour to statues, cemeteries and other sites that reflect life here in the mid-1800s. Pick up a brochure at the Alton Visitor Center.

Handmade pieces tempt at Mississippi Mud Pottery.
Credit: Jay Wilde

Mississippi Mud Pottery

We love the locally made stoneware—and the affordable prices—at this Alton shop.

National Great Rivers Museum

Try to steer a barge down the Mississippi or control the flow of water in a lock at the museum's interactive exhibits, then take a guided tour of the lock and dam.

Pere Marquette State Park
Credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

Pere Marquette State Park

Twelve miles of easy trails lead to Illinois River views in the 8,000-acre park, 6 miles west of Grafton. The park's 1930s wood-and-stone lodge serves specialties like fried chicken and catfish; stay in a remodeled room.

Prairie Peddler Antiques

Browse 18th- and 19th- century antiques both large (case clocks) and small (spatterware cups) in Alton.

Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail

The 20-mile paved trail between Alton and Pere Marquette offers views of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers as it parallels the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway.

World's Tallest Man Statue 

See how you measure up to the life-size statue of Alton native Robert Pershing Wadlow, who was 8 feet 11.1 inches tall.

Eat and Drink

Fast Eddie's Bon Air

Live music draws fans to this beer-and-burgers Alton spot built in 1921. 

Gentelin's on Broadway

Visit Alton's fine-dining restaurant for dinners like black-bean cakes and tempura lobster.

The Loading Dock

Grafton's open-air bar along the Mississippi offers a place to unwind and enjoy catfish fritters along with live music.

My Just Desserts 

Keep an eye on the chalkboard at this Alton gem, where servers erase each sweet as it runs out. Mrs. Ledbetter's German Chocolate Pie goes fast. ​

State Street Market

Try European-influenced salads, soups and sandwiches in a brick Alton building.


Beall Mansion
Beall Mansion
| Credit: Jay Wilde

Beall Mansion

Chocolates delivered to your room are part of the pampering experience at this turn-of-the-19th-century mansion in Alton.

Tara Point Inn and Cottages

The views alone are worth a stay at this property on a high bluff in Grafton. Choose main-house rooms or a cottage suite.

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Day trip


Architecture and history lure visitors here (115 miles north of Alton). Tour Gov. John Wood's Mansion, a Greek Revival home with period furniture and art. Find contemporary fine art at Gallery Solaro in a renovated 1857 brewery. A self-guided driving tour shows off buildings of different eras.