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Mississippi River History and Travel

The Mississippi River cuts a 2,300-mile path through the heart and imagination of the United States. I’ve been getting to know this river and its people for the past decade. I read about it; I listen to stories; and I experience it for myself from the tops of bluffs and the seats of canoes.

It’s an immense river, with a history to match. Much of the lore is about the big events—the Civil War, steamboat races, epic floods—but the lure is the little things: the tundra swan migration, mist rising from the backwaters in fall, thick carpets of lotus and lilies, a summer sunset of pale golden light spilling across the faces of yellow limestone bluffs.

Whether you live next to the river or are visiting, the Mississippi has much to offer. Along the river, you’ll find friendly small towns and big city culture. The Mississippi is great for boating of all kinds, including paddling with canoes and kayaks. The fishing and hunting is good, and there are plenty of parks and quiet places to hike and camp or just to watch the sunset.

Above all, the Mississippi is your river, whoever you are and wherever you live. Come along with me and get to know your river a little better.

So fire up your Harley, drop the top on your convertible, lace up your hiking boots, push your kayak into the water, or hop on your bicycle. Let’s get going.

You’ll find a lot about the river on this site, including facts about the Mississippi (like its length and depth and major floods), river town histories with tips for visitorsphoto galleries, and music inspired by the Mississippi. If you want to go deeper, you can browse feature articles or buy books about the river. Just follow the links below or use the search box above to go directly to what you’re looking for. Enjoy!


Community-supported writing

If you like the content at the Mississippi Valley Traveler, please consider showing your support by making a one-time contribution or by subscribing through Patreon. Book sales don’t fully cover my costs, and I don’t have deep corporate pockets bankrolling my work. I’m a freelance writer bringing you stories about life along the Mississippi River. I need your help to keep this going. Every dollar you contribute makes it possible for me to continue sharing stories about America’s Greatest River!

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Discover a River Town

Mississippi River towns aren’t like other places. Read through these profiles and discover what makes them unique.

Frank Dodge Mysteries

Writer Frank Dodge for a gift for getting in trouble.

Mississippi River Guide Books

Whether your’re traveling by car or by armchair, a Mississippi Valley Traveler guide book shows you the river like no other guide.

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Mississippi River Music

How many songs are there about the Mississippi River? Check out the list and listen to some river tunes.

Talks about the River

Bring the Mississippi Valley Traveler to your community for talks about river music, history, and getting to know the river.

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Photo Galleries

Photos of pretty places, fascinating people, and unique festivals along the Mississippi River.

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Facts About the Mississippi River

How much do you know about the Mississippi River?

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Feature Articles

In-depth stories about the people and places of the Mississippi River Valley.

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Blogs

Stories about the joys (and embarrassments) of life on the road and the river.

Mississippi Valley Traveler

Who is this guy and why does he spend so much time along the Mississippi River?

Community-supported writing

If you like the content at the Mississippi Valley Traveler, please consider showing your support by making a one-time contribution or by subscribing through Patreon. Book sales don’t fully cover my costs, and I don’t have deep corporate pockets bankrolling my work. I’m a freelance writer bringing you stories about life along the Mississippi River. I need your help to keep this going. Every dollar you contribute makes it possible for me to continue sharing stories about America’s Greatest River!

Become a Patron

Recent Posts

Thomas Paquette’s Visions of the Mississippi River

April 18th, 2018|0 Comments

Like many of us, painter Thomas Paquette had a simple idea that quickly grew out of control. His plan to paint the 72-mile stretch of the Mississippi River through the Twin Cities morphed into

Guest Post: Love Note to a City

April 13th, 2018|0 Comments

Today I'm featuring a guest post from G. F. Gallagher, who writes fondly about the years he lived in and got to know friendly St. Paul, Minnesota. If you have a piece you'd like me

These Are the Most Important Books about the Mississippi River

March 13th, 2018|0 Comments

The Mississippi River has a long and complicated history. If you are like me and enjoy reading about different aspects of the river's history, you might wonder which books you should read to get

How to Support Writing about the Mississippi River (Hint: Visit Patreon)

February 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

Ten years ago, I began writing about the Mississippi River. Yes, it’s been ten years! As you may or may not have followed every step I have taken in the past ten years, here are

  • Steam and ice surround the Chain of Rocks rapids on the Mississippi River above St. Louis

Ice on the Mississippi River

January 14th, 2018|0 Comments

We’ve had a run of cold weather in St. Louis for a couple of weeks now, so ice floes are a common sight on the Mississippi River. I took advantage of the cold weather

The Eight Most Interesting Books I Read in 2017

December 30th, 2017|2 Comments

My personal library has about 250 books that are directly about the Mississippi River and the communities along its banks. I’ve read most of them, even though my to-read list seems to get longer

Ah, geez. Another pop-up? Yep! But if you sign up for updates, I’ll send you a free, full-color PDF of Small Town Pleasures, your guide to the most interesting small Mississippi River towns. You’ll save five bucks!

This is a limited time offer, so sign up today.

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