Wisconsin’s 250-mile stretch of the Great River Road leads to small Mississippi River towns with hiking, fishing, birding, shopping and dining with a view. Check out our guide for what to do, where to eat and where to stay along Wisconsin's Great River Road.
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Great River Road
Great River Road
| Credit: John Noltner

Do

Birding

The Wings Over Alma Nature Center and Prescott's Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center share info on the best viewing spots for bald eagles and other wildlife.

Great River Road getaway
Buena Vista Park
| Credit: John Noltner

Buena Vista Park

Follow signs from State-35 along County-E, or walk from Second Street to reach a park 500 feet above Alma for a great view of the Mississippi River.

Great Alma Fishing Float

Flip a sign to signal the fishing crew to pick you up and take you to this floating island of docks; there, go fishing and snack at The Float Cafe.

Great River Road Wine Trail

Visit one or more of eight wineries.

La Crosse Queen

The paddle-wheeler departs on narrated sight-seeing cruises from La Crosse.

La Crosse Queen Wisconsin
Credit: John Noltner

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum

Learn about the Little House in the Big Woods author and see a re-creation of the wooden cabin where she was born in Pepin.

Eat and Drink

Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery

The complex and surprising ciders include the sweet Honeycrisp Hard and robust Scrumpy.

The Monarch Public House

Wisconsin's oldest bar (open since 1894), the Monarch in Fountain City serves old Irish family recipes, such as potato soup.

Muddy Waters Restaurant and Bar Prescott Wisconsin
Muddy Waters
| Credit: John Noltner

Muddy Waters Bar and Grill 

Live blues and three decks overlooking the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers appeal to Prescott diners as much as the steaks, seafood, pasta or smoked ribs. 

Nelson Cheese Factory 

The 19th-century dairy building holds a modern shop with wine, cheeses and ice cream.

Pier 4 Cafe and Smokehouse

One step above a river shack, it serves the tangy sauces and smoky flavors of Memphis-style barbecue but overlooks Alma's Lock and Dam No. 4.

Great River Road getaway
Credit: John Noltner

The Stockholm Pie Company and General Store

The slices of peanut butter fudge, double lemon or apple pie are large enough to be lunch, but also try the hearty potpies and quiches at this Stockholm eatery.

The Stone Barn

The restored barn of a farm 10 miles northeast of Nelson is home to a seasonal pizzeria, serving thin-crust slices in a bucolic setting with indoor and outdoor seating.

Stay

Blue Door Inn

A sense of history settles around guests as solidly as original 1853 rock walls, carved into a Mississippi River bluff in Alma. 

The Charmant Hotel
The Charmant Hotel

The Charmant Hotel

Savor free truffles at check-in inside a retired 1898 candy factory in La Crosse. The Charmant embellishes its legacy with framed candy tins decorating guest rooms and an elevator shimmering like a golden Willy Wonka ticket.

For more information wigrr.com

Road Trip Tips

Combine your Wisconsin Great River Road trip with Minnesota destinations just a bridge away across the Mississippi, like Red Wing, Winona and Wabasha, where you can explore attractions such as the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, the Pottery Museum of Red Wing and the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona.