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Traveling through 10 states for nearly 3,000 miles, The Great River Road is the Gateway to the wonders of the Mississippi River Valley. The Great River Road was the Nation’s first designated scenic byway.

The Ojibwa Indians are credited for naming the Mississippi River. They called it Missi sepi meaning a great river. It is the longest river in North America and one of the world’s greatest rivers noted for its beauty, grandeur, and diversity. A journey along this meandering historical treasure has been enjoyed on stream and on land. Since 1938 travelers and adventurers have experienced the wonders of the Mississippi River Valley on what has become The Great River Road Scenic Byway of the Mississippi River. 

Day 1 – Twin Cities to La Crosse, WI

Our first stop on our backroads, river road adventure is across the St. Croix River to the Great River Road Welcome Center in Prescott WI. Our road winds south on Hwy-35 across a portion of the glacial plain, whose rolling hills sown in corn, account for an important part of the nation’s breadbasket. We will then cross back over the river to beautiful Red Wing with its lovely hanging flower baskets. We have a treat awaiting us at the very historic St. James Hotel, an included lunch! After lunch, we leave Red Wing and again travel along the Great River Road to The National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN. We will be guests at the Eagle Center and enjoy a very educational and interesting demonstration with the eagles. Wabasha is also home to the filming of “Grumpy Old Men.” We find ourselves crossing once again to the Wisconsin side as we amble our way along the mighty Mississippi with its beautiful vistas and river bluffs. Our home for the night is the very cozy and comfy Stony Creek Inn in La Crosse. Once we get settled into our room we will board the coach and head out for our wonderful included dinner at the Freighthouse, a historic shipping depot in downtown La Crosse, located at the confluence of three rivers.

Included Meals: Lunch, Dinner 

Hotel: Stoney Creek Inn 


Day 2 – La Crosse to Dubuque, IA

We enjoy breakfast before we head off and experience the stunning views as we skirt along the banks of the river to Dubuque. But first we will visit Guttenberg for a stop at the Lock and Dam and pick up our picnic lunch at The Picket Fence Café before enjoying a relaxing picnic in the park alongside the river. Once in Dubuque, we will experience the Fenelon Place Elevator, a 3 ft. narrow gauge funicular railway. It is claimed to be the shortest and steepest railroad in the world! We will then enjoy a tour of Dubuque with a local step-on guide, which includes a visit to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, which is home to the 5th largest collection of Tiffany Windows in the U.S. Then for a unique dining experience complete with entertainment, we head to Steeple Square, which was originally built between 1864-1867 as St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Since the church’s closing in 2010, this towering landmark has now been reestablished as a center for culture, community, and education. After an evening well spent, we will be guests at the historic Hotel Julien with its magnificent Victorian décor.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Hotel: Hotel Julien 


Day 3 – Dubuque to Moline, IL

After breakfast we tour the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, one of the two best and biggest dedicated to the history and culture of “Old Muddy.” A large collection of historic riverboats is highlighted by the steamboat, William M. Black, an official National Landmark, while other galleries include a National Rivers Hall of Fame, which tells the stories of explorers and adventurers like Lewis and Clark and John Wesley Powell. The museum will show an introductory film “River of Dreams.” Follow the path of the Mississippi from Minnesota to the Gulf. It is the best place in the country to explore the culture and natural history of the river. Departing the museum, we cross the River to search out the quaint and charming village of Galena, one of the most preserved historic towns in America. Step back in time to the 1800’s as we experience this unique community. We will have lunch on our own and then make our way aboard the Galena Trolley. Our ride takes us to the home of President Grant, nestled in the hills & valleys of this former lead mining community and major port city. We will follow the Mississippi River to Moline and check into our lovely riverfront hotel. Tonight we are dinner guests at the Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse, featuring “Mama Won’t Fly.” We’ll be laughing our way across the USA in this comedy!

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 

Hotel: Stoney Creek Hotel (2 Nights) 


Day 4 – Moline

We will enjoy breakfast at the hotel before starting out on our way to the Lock and Dam #15 in Rock Island, IL. After visiting the Dam, we’ll board the Celebration Belle for a glorious trip along the Mississippi! We will enjoy the fall foliage, live music entertainment, and a great lunch.  Tonight dinner is served at our hotel as we recall a great day on the river.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 


Day 5 – Moline to Home

We start out with breakfast at the hotel before heading out on our last leg of the journey. We stop for a dining experience you’ll not soon forget before arriving back home in the Twin Cities and the conclusion of another great R&J Backroads Tour.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Motorcoach Per Person Pricing Information

Double: $1,299
Single: $1,549
Triple: $1,239
Quad: $1,189

Motorcoach Travel Protection Per Person

Double: $85
Single: $116

Travel Bucks

$25 Travel Bucks per person earned with this tour

Deposit Due

$100 deposit per person due at time of reservation. Full payment due 30 days prior to depart.

Passport Needed


Tour Pace

Moderate Walking

Price Includes

12 Meals, Hotels & Activities as stated in brochure, Luxury Motorcoach

The average temperature while R&J is visiting is 62°
Travel with R & J Tours to a warm destination where it is...
Minneapolis, Mn
The Great River Road
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Tour Highlights

Great River Road Welcome Center
Lunch at Historic St. James Hotel
The National Eagle Center
Unique Dining Experience with
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
Dubuque Tour & Fenelon Place Elevator
Village of Galena & Trolley Tour
Lock & Dam #15
Celebration Belle Lunch Cruise
“Mama Won’t Fly” at Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse

Travel with R & J Tours to a warm destination where it is...
Minneapolis, Mn
The Great River Road
The average temperature while R&J is visiting is 62°
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