Ready for an epic road trip?

How about spending time on “The Best Drive in America?”

That’s what many people call the Great River Road, which is a National Scenic Byway stretching from Minnesota to Louisana. It’s also known as Highway 61. 

While most people imagine long term road trips as those going cross country, this one is truly unique because most of Highway 61’s 1,4000 miles was built right alongside the Mississippi River. 

So in this post, we’re going to highlight some of the most unique attractions to see along Highway 61 from Louisana to Minnesota. 

Pack your bags and get ready for this road trip!

Lake Itasca State Park

Very few people can say they have seen the very spot where the Mighty Mississippi starts. Well, Lake Itasca State Park is the place. This small glacial lake is less than 2 square miles but is still a sight to see and you can learn a bit about the Mississippi River and its history. 

National Eagle Center

View of the Mississippi River during sunset

In Wabasha, Minnesota you’ll find the National Eagle Center. Here, you can get up close and personal with Bald Eagles, check out their nests, and have a great view overlooking the Mississippi River.

National Brewery Museum

Want to check ‘taking a picture with the world’s largest beer bottle’ off your bucket list? The National Brewery Museum is the place! You can learn about the history of brewing and see some cool artifacts too.


Ulysses S. Grant statue in Galena, Illinois

Galena, Illinois was known as a big hub for steamboats in the 1800s. It’s also home to former President Ulysses S Grant. Today, this sleepy town has tons of well-preserved historic sites from the 1800s, tours, and hot air balloon rides. 

Sainte Genevieve

If you want to check out another historic town on the other end of the spectrum, stop in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri. This area was originally a historic French colonial village. Today, the area is well preserved and you can tour historic sites and check out the local wineries. 

Trail of Tears State Park

The Trail of Tears State Park is a memorial dedicated to one of the darkest chapters of American history. It was in this area where thousands of Native American members of the Cherokee tribe died during a forced relocation. Learn about the history of the march at the visitors center.

Beale Street

Memphis is known as the birthplace of rock n’ roll so there’s no better place to go to experience live music than Beale Street. This iconic street is home to a number of famous bars, boutiques, and live music establishments.

Vicksburg National Military Park

Canon in field at Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi

Civil War buffs will know that one of the biggest battles of the entire war took place in Vicksburg, Mississippi. After a 47 day siege, Union General Ulysses S Grant was able to gain control of the Confederate stronghold and secure a Union victory. 

New Orleans

Cafe Du Mond in New Orleans

What better way to finish your Highway 61 road trip than to end in the Big Easy? New Orleans has got it all, amazing food, an awesome music scene, and tons of history. Take a few days to explore the city, and leave with a full belly and some great memories!

Start Planning 

When you’re ready to start planning your road trip, head over to our sister site,, for help finding affordable hotel deals in each city.