When you travel along the Mississippi River, it doesn’t take long to figure out that part of the charm is the small towns and big cities of the river valley. The Mississippi Valley Traveler guidebooks cover those river towns from Hastings, Minnesota to the Quad Cities, with comprehensive coverage of each community’s history, and suggestions about what to do.

If you haven’t explored MississippiValleyTraveler.com in a while, though, you may not know that I created an on-line guide to river communities that covers more places than the guidebooks. With the posting of yesterday’s profile of Keokuk, Iowa, you can now read about all the communities along the Mississippi River in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the northern third of Illinois. I’ll be adding more Illinois communities in the next few months.

You’ll find all these profiles organized by state when you select the tab “River Town Profiles” and “Destinations.” You can also use the search box to go to a specific community. Each profile has a history of the community, plus a few ideas on things to do and where to eat. Check ‘em out, and feel free to let me know about your favorite places in these communities.

Even though the weather has turned colder, don’t rule out a trip to the Upper Mississippi this winter. There are a lot of big events coming up, including bald eagle watches, the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the ski jump contest in Westby (WI), Grumpy Old Men Days in Wabasha, plus opportunities to try out winter sports like cross-country skiing, curling, and ice fishing.

If you’re afraid of a little snow or sub-zero temperatures, Mardi Gras is just around the corner, blues history is alive year round in the Delta, and Natchez and Vicksburg offer warmer temperatures and a laid-back experience.

The Mississippi Valley is a four-season destination, so get out there and explore. Tell them the Mississippi Valley Traveler sent you.

© Dean Klinkenberg, 2014