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Your Mississippi River

The Mississippi River cuts a 2,300-mile path through the heart and imagination of the United States. It is the perfect natural treasure for the middle of the country: it’s subtle, understated beauty doesn’t lend itself to boasting. While the Rockies may inspire people to climb great heights, the Mississippi invites us to slow down and relax, to contemplate.

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.

The Mississippi, unlike many other national treasures, is fully integrated into the daily routines of the people who live along its banks, who visit the river to fish, boat, or just to hang out. You don’t just visit the river on a few special occasions in your life; it is PART of your life.

You don’t have to live next to the river to be part of it, though. The Mississippi is your river, wherever you live. Come along with me and get to know your river a little better.

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!


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.


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.


Photo Galleries

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


Facts About the Mississippi River

How much do you know about the Mississippi River?


Feature Articles

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



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?

Recent Posts

  • 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

In Search of Justice and Redemption

December 5th, 2017|0 Comments

In 1964 Mississippi, civil rights activists were fighting to dismantle deeply entrenched legal segregation and racism and the defenders of segregation were fighting back. On April 24, the Ku Klux Klan flexed its muscles by

Quit Telling Me to “Be Safe”

November 9th, 2017|6 Comments

I was sitting at a table a while back, talking about travel with friends and a couple of people I didn’t know. At one point, I mentioned that I had traveled around Guatemala a few

Small Towns That Shine

October 21st, 2017|0 Comments

Looking for a change of pace? Check out these 27 small towns along the Mississippi River.

Growing Small Economies in Dubuque

August 29th, 2017|0 Comments

One of the things I like about traveling is getting to try new things. One of the joys of revisiting familiar places is gauging how much has changed. Dubuque is one of the places that

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