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Fly fishing in Arkansas’ Buffalo National River
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Mississippi River Country

Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism
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Admiring the Chicago, Illinois, skyline on a Chicago River cruise
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Mississippi River Country

Daniel Bartolo
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Canoeing on Lake Martin in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
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Mississippi River Country

Jamie Orillion
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An aerial view of the Mississippi Riverfront in Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Mississippi River Country

Nicole Geri
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A couple walking on the beach in Biloxi, Mississippi
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Mississippi River Country

Neon signs illuminate Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee
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Mississippi River Country

Craig Thompson
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Six U.S. states connected by one iconic waterway: This is Mississippi River Country.

The Mississippi River runs through the heart of the USA from the glacial lakes of northern Minnesota all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Its flowing waters support communities, industries and natural wonders, anchoring a culture-rich region known as Mississippi River Country.

Encompassing Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi and Tennessee, Mississippi River Country is home to bustling cities and charming towns interspersed with points of interest in in culture; food and agriculture; iconic America; music; science and history; and outdoors and recreation. The region’s marvels range from the skyscrapers of Chicago, Illinois, to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. With so much to see and do across the area, Mississippi River Country makes an ideal destination for a driving tour. On an epic road trip or multiple excursions, discover the people, places and stories that make up Mississippi River Country.

A panoramic view of the Mississippi riverfront in Vicksburg, Mississippi
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Explore Mississippi River Country States

Photographing Window Rock in Ouachita National Forest
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Blues, barbecue and the great outdoors

An ideal spot for a selfie with the Chicago skyline
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Chicago, Route 66 and the Land of Lincoln

Couple canoeing alongside cypress trees on Lake Martin
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See Louisiana your way, from bayous to Big Easy thrills

Hiking to the top of Honeymoon Bluff near Grand Marais
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Calling all nature-loving outdoor explorers

Longwood, one of many National Historic Landmarks in architecture-rich Natchez
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A bit of the blues? That’s a good thing.

Bustling crowd enjoying the evening on Memphis' neon-lit Beale Street


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The soundtrack of America – made in Tennessee

Must-see Places

A fall scene along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway in Minnesota
Explore Minnesota

The Great River Road

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the Mississippi River through 10 states. Beginning in Minnesota near the Mississippi River’s headwaters in Lake Itasca, it runs south through small towns and big cities offering stunning views and access to exciting attractions. Explore downtown Minneapolis and magnificent St. Anthony Falls. Part of the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, this eye-catching cascade is the Upper Mississippi River’s only major natural waterfall. Take a self-guided tour along the Heritage Trail and snap a photo from the Stone Arch Bridge.

The Little Rock, Arkansas, skyline at dusk
Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism

Little Rock, Arkansas

The capital of Arkansas, Little Rock is a waterfront city with a thriving cultural scene. Little Rock’s vibrant downtown features enticing restaurants and a range of indoor and outdoor attractions on the banks of the Arkansas River. The River Market District is a walkable hub of shops, museums, pubs and hotels. It’s also home to the Clinton Presidential Center and Park, a multifaceted educational venue dedicated to the USA’s 42nd president, Bill Clinton. History buffs can find further inspiration at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and the Historic Arkansas Museum.

Admiring the architecture on Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Nestled in the southwestern corner of Arkansas, about an hour’s drive from Little Rock, Hot Springs National Park is a historic destination known for its geothermal springs. The park boasts peaceful hiking trails, mountain vistas and a block of ornate buildings known as Bathhouse Row. Wellness destinations here have been welcoming visitors since the early 20th century. Plunge into mineral rich waters at the Quapaw or Buckstaff bathhouses, where traditional hydrotherapies are offered alongside modern spa services. The Buckstaff, a gem in Roman Gothic style, has been in continuous operation since 1912.

Charming 19th century architecture lines downtown Galena, Illinois
Illinois Office of Tourism

Galena, Illinois

Head for the western edge of Illinois to explore a village often hailed as one of the USA’s best small towns. Galena is as rich in history as it is in charm. Its array of 19th century buildings includes the one-time home of former U.S. president Ulysses S. Grant. Main Street houses more than 125 storefronts. Gaze at the town’s original structures on a self-guided walking tour or hop aboard a trolley to take it all in. Cozy local restaurants welcome you to wind down after a day of exploring.

Sunset over the Garden of the Gods in Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest
Illinois Office of Tourism

Shawnee National Forest, Illinois

Scenic views and outdoor adventures abound in Illinois’ expansive Shawnee National Forest. Bordered by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in southern Illinois, the forest protects over 121,000 hectares of rolling hills, wetlands and waterways. Camping, hiking and horseback riding are top activities here, where nearly 650 kilometers of mixed-use trails reveal photo-worthy wonders like the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area: a crop of ancient sandstone cliffs and unique rock formations. Hike the hour-long Observation Trail for panoramic views of the cliffs and surrounding wilderness.

A dusky scene at the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana
Louisiana Office of Tourism

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the USA’s oldest and most distinctive cities. You may know it for its Mardi Gras festivities, but there’s more to love about this cultural capital. Its African, Caribbean, French and Spanish influences flavor everything from cuisine and music to the French Quarter’s impressive architecture. Among the neighborhood’s landmarks is St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. Walk to nearby Café du Monde for beignets and café au lait. No matter the day or season, you can find live jazz filling streets and venues throughout the city.

Taking an airboat tour of the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana
Louisiana Office of Tourism

Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, Louisiana

Hop aboard a boat and embark on an exhilarating tour of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, a wildlife-filled region of rivers, swamps, prairies and marshes in south-central Louisiana. Transportation options include canoes, kayaks, and captained tour boats and airboats, on which seasoned guides detail the diverse cultures and ecosystems of the area. Coast beneath ancient oak and cypress trees and look out for the many species of birds, fish and reptiles native to the wetlands. Egrets, herons, turtles and alligators are just a few of the creatures you might spot along the water.

The Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Twin Cities, Minnesota

Minnesota’s Twin Cities are Minneapolis, the state’s largest city, and St. Paul, the state capital. These neighboring Mississippi riverfront locales are teeming with entertainment in every season. From arts and theater to festivals and professional sports, there’s always something happening here. Families love the museums and zoos, and foodies flock to the many eclectic restaurants. Diverse communities, including large Hmong, Mexican and Somali populations, influence cuisine, music and celebrations across the area, making the Twin Cities distinctive and welcoming destinations.

Exploring Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe theme park in Bloomington, Minnesota
Explore Minnesota

Mall of America, Minnesota

Shoppers, delight: The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, is the largest mall in the USA. The indoor shopping and amusement center houses more than 500 stores and 60 food features plus dozens of family-friendly attractions. At Mall of America, you can browse exclusive collections from famous designers, dine in celebrity restaurants and soar on speeding thrill rides without ever setting foot outside the complex. On-site lodging options make it easy to extend your visit and explore everything this entertainment paradise has to offer.

Live entertainment at Red’s in Clarksdale, Mississippi
Visit Mississippi

Clarksdale, Mississippi

Blues fans know the significance of Clarksdale in Mississippi’s Delta Region. Soulful sounds ring out every night of the year from juke joints and landmark clubs, paying tribute to hometown heroes like Muddy Waters and Sam Cooke. Their stories are told in the Delta Blues Museum not far from the “Crossroads” of Highways 61 and 49, where local lore says Robert Johnson sold his soul for musical prowess. Cultural and historical markers abound in Clarksdale. The Mississippi Blues Trail, Freedom Trail, Mound Trail, Writers Trail and Country Music Trail all run through or near the town.

Sunset on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi
Visit Mississippi

Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi

Explore historic sites and sacred places in a corridor that dates back thousands of years. The Natchez Trace Parkway spans nearly 720 kilometers between Natchez in southwest Mississippi and Nashville in central Tennessee. It loosely follows the “Old Natchez Trace,” a route used for centuries by Indigenous communities, soldiers and traders. Today, the Natchez Trace Parkway is overseen by the National Park Service, connecting travelers to the region’s cultural tapestry. Six American Indian mound sites are preserved along the route. Emerald Mound near Natchez is the second largest site of its kind in the USA.

Rocking out to live music in Memphis, Tennessee
Craig Thompson

Memphis, Tennessee

Music is the heartbeat of Memphis, Tennessee. Soul, blues and rock ’n’ roll roots run deep in this riverside city, where you’ll find landmarks including Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate. Neon-clad clubs on Beale Street host entertainment every night, but there’s more to Memphis than music. Its proximity to the Mississippi River enables outdoor adventures with skyline views. Go kayaking or bike the Shelby Farms Greenline. It connects to Shelby Farms Park, one of the largest urban parks in the USA. No Memphis trip is complete without sampling the city’s famous barbecue, available at over 100 restaurants.

Neon signs light up Lower Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee’s lively capital is known as Music City. It’s a haven for creatives, and some of the USA’s biggest stars have launched careers from its neighborhood honky-tonks. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum features films, exhibitions and performances highlighting the genre’s evolution and regional ties. Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium is another famous stage. Find it downtown near restaurants, historic sites and museums. Entertainment in Nashville extends beyond music to include sports, festivals and shopping. Pick up a cowboy hat to commemorate your visit to this Mississippi River Country hot spot.

Exploring downtown Memphis, Tennessee
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Local Cultures

Illinois Great River Road: Charming Towns Along the Mississippi River

Wind down the Great River Road in Illinois and discover quaint river towns with vineyards, steamboat river cruises and historic sites.

Nashville, Tennessee: Fabulous Music, Nightlife and Unique Attractions

Nashville, Tennessee offers more than 120 venues where you can listen to jazz, country, bluegrass, rock, pop or classical music.

The Top Museums from Minnesota to Louisiana

There’s plenty to see at these can’t-miss museums, from stunning works of art to the world’s biggest Tyrannosaurus rex.

See Some of the South’s Most Iconic Architecture

From a stunning chapel in the Ozarks to estates along the Mississippi, the South is home to historical, awe-inspiring works of architecture.

Outdoor dining in Little Rock, Arkansas
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Regional Food and Agriculture

Foodie Favorites Along Illinois’ Great River Road

Make a pit stop on your road trip for unforgettable meals along the Mississippi River in Illinois.

A Taste of Missouri Barbecue

The slow-smoked barbecue of Kansas City, known for being very saucy, tends to get the most attention – and rightfully so: Kansas City has more than 100 barbecue restaurants.

Mississippi River Country’s Best Food and Drinks

On your trip through the heart of the USA, you’ll find food and drinks to satisfy any appetite – here are some of the iconic dishes you'll discover.

Drive and Dine: A Southern Mississippi River Sampler

Catfish, po’ boys and barbecue – you’ll find plenty of flavorful dishes on this foodie tour of four Southern states.

Fireworks over Lake Michigan and the Chicago, Illinois, skyline
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Iconic America

The Great River Road in Illinois: Off-the-Beaten-Path Americana

For an unforgettable stay in Illinois, explore diverse landscapes and rich history in beautiful Great Rivers Country.

Memphis, Tennessee: A Rock ’n’ Roll City for Music, History and Food

The largest city in Tennessee, Memphis is a must-see destination for lovers of Elvis, music, history and barbecue.

What to See Along Arkansas’s Great River Road in Spring

There’s so much to see along Arkansas’s section of the Great River Road. Discover historical sites, national forests, state parks and more.

Graceland: The Legacy of Elvis Lives on in Memphis

When you think of Elvis Presley, your mind will wander to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, the King of Rock 'n' Roll’s home for 20 years.

Cruising Missouri’s Route 66: Classic Sites and Family Adventure

Missouri is located in the heart of the midwestern USA and boasts tons of memorable attractions including historic sites, iconic landmarks and beautiful countryside.

Watching a blues performance at Red’s in Clarksdale, Mississippi
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Historic Music Hubs

Chicago, Illinois: Inside the City’s Diverse Music Culture

Immerse yourself in Chicago’s music scene, and come face-to-face with both emerging artists and established legends.

The Mississippi Delta: Birthplace of the Blues

From the Blues to a steak big enough for an entire family, this trip to the Mississippi Delta will not be forgotten.

Louisiana’s Music Scene: Feel the Rhythms of 3 Colorful Cities

There’s a vivid tapestry that runs through the country roads and city streets of Louisiana – the music.

Discover Arkansas’ Land of Legends

From famed entertainers and musicians to unique historical attractions, these four counties in Arkansas' Delta offer a world of exploration.

Hiking in Louisiana’s Kisatchie National Forest
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Outdoors and Recreation

Lafayette, Louisiana: Discovering Cajun Country in the Great Outdoors

As the heart of the French Acadian region of Louisiana, Lafayette is the center of Cajun and Creole music, dance and food, all surrounded by pristine swampland.

Memphis: Why You Want to Get Outdoors Here

Memphis is known for its soulful blues and rock ‘n’ roll heritage. And you can’t forget the dry rub ribs – barbecue at its best. But between the music and cuisine, you might be missing out on another part of Memphis – the great outdoors.

Little Rock, Arkansas: 4 Outdoor Adventures, plus Local Beer Stops

If you crave urban culture balanced with outdoor recreation amid pristine nature, then this Southern city will resonate with you.

The Best Hiking, Rivers & Lakes in the Ozark Mountains

There are many ways to discover the natural beauty and wonderful recreational opportunities of the Ozark Mountains.

Blanchard Springs Caverns in Fifty-Six, Arkansas
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Science and History Landmarks