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  1. #1

    Default Minnesota to Indiana Girls Trip

    Four of us are going from Northfield, Mn to Angola, Indiana.
    We want to avoid Chicago and see some interesting & fun sights along the way.
    We are thinking of taking the Great River Road part of the way - do you recommend Mn side or Wis. side ?? Any great stios along the way ??
    And for sure a stop at Starved Rock Park in Illinois. Anything else along our route in Illinois or Indiana we should do ?
    We would love to hear about any local/small town stops would would be enjoyable. Things that we can't find in the usual state "tourism" books. We like off free way driving to "see the sights" and plan our route as we go along.
    Thanks !!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default No Need to Choose One or the Other

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First and foremost, there is absolutely no need to choose between the Minnesota/Iowa side OR the Wisconsin/Illinois side. You can switch back and forth at various points as you work your way south along the Great River Road which, after all, is a collection of highways on both sides of the river. The main attractions along the upper Mississippi are state parks, such as Great River Bluffs State Park and Effigy Mounds National Monument in Minnesota, Wyalusing State Park in Wisconsin, Palisades State Park in Illinois, and national wildlife refuges.

    You will have to plan ahead a bit as there are only half a dozen or so bridges across the river on the stretch you'll be traveling and I'd recommend that you try to include the Cassville Car Ferry as one of your river crossings so as to actually get down on the river.

    If Starved Rock is on your itinerary, then you'll probably want to leave the Great River Road around the Quad Cities, and you might want to visit La Claire IA and its Buffalo Bill Museum (He was born there.) and, if you are a fan of the TV show American Pickers, Antique Archaeology.

    From Starved Rock it's relatively easy, but not straightforward, to swing well south of Chicago using US and state highways through farm country and by out-of-the-way attractions such as Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and the Tri-County Fish and Wildlife Area, as well as many small towns, on your way to Angola.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-25-2018 at 08:27 AM. Reason: Fixed Link

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    This sounds like a great trip, how much time do you have?

    Quote Originally Posted by nlw33052 View Post
    We are thinking of taking the Great River Road part of the way - do you recommend Mn side or Wis. side ?? Any great stios along the way ??
    There are great things to see on both sides of the river, one thing I would say is that in different areas, the road itself runs a lot closer to the river. The river itself has a main channel, but then on at least one side, there usually is marsh/floodplain that makes it hard to see open water. For example, from Winona to LaCrosse, the river runs much closer to the Minnesota side, whereas from Lansing (IA) to Prairie du Chien, you probably want to stay on the Wisconsin side to see a lot of the river (the Iowa side there has to climb over some bluffs, before it comes back down to the river near Effigy Mounds). You can usually get a pretty good idea just by looking at a map.

    We would love to hear about any local/small town stops would would be enjoyable.
    Some other small towns you might think about stopping would include Alma, WI, which I always find to a surprisingly nice little town that doesn't get a lot of attention. Just up the river is also Pepin, which is one of Laura Ingles Wilder's hometowns, with a museum about her families time there.

    I'll also mention that once you get to Dubuque (a very nice town in it's own right, and the Mississippi River museum there is a nice stop), you might find that's a good place to start heading east, which would take you through Galena - which is another nice historic town, with good restaurants and small store shopping that is a very popular "girls trip" getaway place, especially for those from the Chicago area.

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