Roll with “Ol’ Man River,” the mighty Mississippi, along the Great River Road on Fantasy’s Mississippi River Road in September. This flowing icon of the American spirit dances its way down the country embracing diverse people and customs along the way. Live the colorful river life the way Mark Twain wrote it – the culture, cuisine and character – as you go with the flow for 1,637 miles from north to south.
Follow the Mississippi River Road on Fantasy’s comprehensive itinerary and enhance your experience by heading off the beaten path to explore the many en-route options Fantasy suggests along the way. The adventure begins in Bemidji, Minnesota where American Folk heroes, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox once lumbered out of the dense north woods and into modern day legend. The tour ends where the best stories start: in the crazy-great Crescent City of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The day after an Orientation, Get Acquainted Party and Welcome Dinner, we’re on a guided Bemidji area bus tour – to the Paul Bunyan statues, Bemidji Woolen Factory and Itasca State Park crossing the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi. Time out for a lunch cruise on Lake Itasca. On to Brainerd, and the fraternal Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. En-route options are the Forest History Center and Paul Bunyan statue. In Minneapolis, we visit Minnehaha Falls and St. Paul Cathedral as a group. Get your gangster on with the popular Crook’s tour of St. Paul. A guided bus tour of the twin cities reveals the secrets of the Wabasha Street sandstone caves, and the beauty of the Old Minnesota Post Office/Courthouse with its surprising Romanesque Revival architecture. Relax on a Mississippi Port lunch cruise!
En-route to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, the oldest community on the upper Mississippi River, we'll make a stop at the National Eagle Center. Next, Davenport, Iowa will dazzle us with hidden treasures revealed on a guided area bus tour: the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse, Amana Colonies lunch and tour, John Deere Pavilion/Historic Site and a peaceful fall foliage river cruise. En-route option is the National Mississippi River Museum.
Hannibal, Missouri still has that humble Main Street appeal that Mark Twain characterized in his stories. A Mark Twain Cave guided tour, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home Museum and popular “Mark Twain Himself” reenactment all pay homage to this great American storyteller.
Along the western banks of the Mississippi, over the bustling port city of St. Louis, Missouri, is the immense 630-foot arch known as the “Gateway to the West.” Fantasy treats you to the city landmarks starting with a Gateway to the West Arch tour and ride, the National Great Rivers Museum and a brewery tour. The 1904 World’s Fair site and Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis are highlights of a guided area bus tour. We stop briefly in Cape Girardeau, Missouri for some sweeping Mississippi river views at Cape Rock Scenic Overlook, followed by a campground cookout. Optional activities here: Bollinger Mill State Historic Site, Mississippi River Tales Mural and the Crisp Museum.
Meet Memphis, birthplace of blues, sound, and rock ‘n’ roll! The tour pace is fast and furious in just four days: Sun City Studio where Elvis made his first recording, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Beale Street and lunch at B.B. King’s Blues Club. We make an important historical stop at the National Civil Rights Museum and Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Finally, we’ll celebrate the Mississippi River with the locals at Mud Island River Park before a campground cookout.
Go with the flow into the “Pelican State”, Natchez Trace, Louisiana stopping for an old country store lunch en-route. Stanton Hall and guided carriage tours are on the itinerary here, along with Bluff Park Mississippi River Vista.Drive deep into the soul of the Mississippi Delta, to Vicksburg, Mississippi, the “Key to the South,” for some sweet Southern hospitality. Visit Vicksburg National Park, a hallowed Civil War battle site, and the Riverfront Murals. Enjoy a tour and lunch at an antebellum mansion before exploring the exhibits at the Lower Mississippi River Museum.
Last stop is New Orleans, Louisiana, the beguiling “Big Easy!” Discover where all the city’s skeletons are buried before the mayhem of Mardi Gras season. Time flies here with River Road, Oak Alley and Laura’s Creole plantation tours; a Cajun lunch buffet; visits to the mysterious French Quarter and New Orleans School of Cooking; swamp boat tour and lunch; and a Steamboat Natchez dinner cruise. Bid a poignant farewell to Ol’ Miss on a seaplane flight over the expansive Mississippi River Delta.
Feel the power and the glory of “Big Muddy” as you celebrate the glorious fall season on Fantasy’s fabulous Mississippi River Road trip.