Close this search box.

8 Most Charming Small Towns by the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River passes through 10 states along with little magical towns and each of them has its history, unique beauty, and attractions. Let’s see together the most beautiful river towns!

Nauvoo, Illinois

A wide bend of the river brings out the beauty of Nauvoo town. It was founded by Mormons in the early 19th century. Nauvoo literally means “they are beautiful,” and it’s a Hebrew phrase. The population here consists of a modest number of 950 inhabitants. The place has a high significance for its founders, being signed on the National Register of Historic Places as a center for the Mormon faith.

You will be mesmerized by the different styles of design here. Nauvoo Temple, for example, is built in an exquisite Greek Revival style. Taking a walk in the Historic District will bring you valuable information or simply the joy of splendid surroundings. You can visit this charming little town and join a wagon tour of the banks and historic buildings.

Galena, a town in Illinois

Located along the Galena River, one of the Mississippi River’s tributaries, this small town in Illinois was founded by French colonists in the 1690s. Galena is home to around 3,000 residents. If you visit this place, you will instantly be transported into the 18th- or 19th-century atmosphere.

You will surely get a sense of nostalgia by stopping through Main Street or passing the nicely preserved buildings. You can get a real trolley ride, like in the early 20th century, and try local foods in restaurants traditionally owned by the residents. Discovering the region’s history and museums can be an astonishing adventure. If you want to hold memories from this place, you will need a camera to capture all the stunning beauty and the unique vibration of the place. One of the best you can get is this Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR that you can order via Amazon.

Photo by David S Swierczek from Shutterstock

Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, a historic town, is a fascinating place to explore. It was founded by French explorers in 1716, and it was taken away by Spanish colonists. However, since the end of the 18th century, it has been under American control.

With a population of under 15,000 residents that maintains its historic vibrance, it’s an amazing place if you want to enjoy the beauty of the waterfront. Here, the winters are warm and the summers are hot. Another interesting fact about this place is that it was a prominent center of cotton production. In the pre-Civil War South era, people saw it as a major center of trade along the Mississippi River.
You can explore historic buildings and sites, and each element has a story to tell.

Something worthy to see is the antebellum-style mansions, the Selma plantation, and other touristic subjects that bring out the complex past of America. You can take a steamboat ride along the river, which is a fun activity to do if you want to see how an authentic Southern citizen was living a day of his life. Here you have the opportunity to get filled with the authentic Southern charm.

Davenport, Iowa

Davenport is the largest of the famous Quad Cities, ranked in 3rd place as the largest in Iowa. It was founded in 1836, and presently, it’s home to a population of 101,724 individuals. This makes it one of the largest urban centers around the river. Davenport is known for its warm summers and mild winters, which makes it the perfect place to explore and boast year-round about all the surroundings, historic attractions, museums, and galleries.

You can experience local food packed with local hospitality and get the most out of the riverside fun. More than 50 parks, recreational areas, and trails can be found here, perfect for enjoying the magical beauty of the Mississippi River. Davenport has developed a reputation for holding various festivals throughout the year, and if you’re lucky enough to visit at the right time, you can also attend festivals such as the Mississippi Valley Fair or the Blues Festival.

Photo by Sam Wagner from Shutterstock

Greenville, Mississippi

The heart of the Mississippi Delta is Greenville. This is an amazing historical town that seems to be a marvelous delight for tourists coming in huge numbers to unveil its beauty. It was founded in 1870, and today it has a population of 30,000 residents. Here you can experience the hot southern summers, while the winters are gently warm.

If you visit this city, you will hear fascinating stories, and you will blend into the place’s history quickly. It has a rich plantation history, and it’s filled with several well-preserved antebellum buildings. The sights and sounds of the Blues on Nelson Street will transport you to other times by stepping into clubs from the 1940s that continue to be alive and vibrant. If you’re a nature lover, you will be enchanted by all the activities you can join outside, such as boating in the river, jogging, biking, or having brunch in nature.

Dubuque, Iowa

Dubuque is located in the Tri-State Area, at the borders of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Here we can find this river town, founded in 1833, that dwells in history. The current population of Dubuque is under 60,000, making it a very peaceful and serene place to be in. There is plenty of charm and fun to discover in this town.

More than the natural beauty and the waterside activities, you can reach its sites. An example is the funicular that brings tourists to the bluffs overlooking the city, called the Fenelon Place Elevator. Other attractions are Eagle Point Park, Mathias Ham House, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Mines of Spain recreation area.

Alton, Illinois

Alton is a fascinating town that combines nature, human history, and indigenous art. You’ll find a great part of history and a natural wonder ready to mix and hypnotize you. It was once the site of the State Penitentiary, and it held 12,000 Confederate soldiers as prisoners during the Civil War. The exquisite limestone bluffs, which made the place isolated enough to be a fitting place for a prison, are currently the tremendous visual treat that tourists are coming for.

You can travel along the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route, a 53-km-long trail through the path of the confluence of the Illinois Rivers and Mississippi. Another great attraction is the Piasa Bird mural, a restored mural depicted on the limestone cliffside that brings together indigenous style and nature, creating a new form of art.

Ottawa, Illinois

At the confluence of Illinois and Fox Rivers, you can find this place that is a reflection of history and natural beauty. It doesn’t have anything to do with Ottawa, as the Canadian capital and it has a population of 18,840 residents. It’s located about 79.5 miles from Chicago, and it’s known as the middle of everywhere.

Ottawa brings a lot of attractions, such as green spaces, riverbanks, excellent hiking trails, and leisure spots. What makes it an incredible hub destination is the easy access to several state parks. You will discover a large sphere of historic landmarks and buildings tracking the growth of the river town along with the whole Midwestern US.

Photo by Eddie J. Rodriquez from Shutterstock

If you liked our article, you can read this one next: 7 Beautiful European-Inspired Places in Florida You MUST SEE



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts