Fall Colors on the Mississippi
Combine the leisure of a river cruise with the wistfulness of train travel and as a result create this fantastic 10-day seasonal rail-cruise vacation.
Combine the leisure of a river cruise with the wistfulness of train travel and as a result create this fantastic 10-day seasonal rail-cruise vacation. Begin your journey in Chicago as you spend the first few days exploring the Windy City. Take a boat tour to witness some of the spectacular architecture in the city, or view the city from up above when you go to the Willis Tower Observation Deck. From Chicago board Amtrak's iconic Southwest Chief bound for St. Louis.
Upon your arrival in St. Louis, you will board the famed American Queen for your river-cruise up the Mississippi. Your first destination is the town of Hannibal, Missouri. The ideal port of call on a classic steamboat journey, Hannibal is the home of author Mark Twain, and you have the opportunity to visit sites that inspired Twain's Tom Sawyer.
From Hannibal continue north to Dubuque, Iowa. You have ample time to explore this river town, as you can visit its several antique shops. A special excursion to Galena, Illinois, a short distance from Dubuque, is a popular highlight of the trip year after year. Continue on the American Queen to your next port of call, La Crosse, Wisconsin. Full of pre-Civil Car architecture and interesting museums, your day spent in La Crosse will be a truly unique experience.
Continue your seasonal journey as you make your way up the Mississippi, surrounded by the fiery red and burning oranges of the autumn leaves as you head for Red Wing, Minnesota. Originally the site of a Sioux Indian Village, this is the perfect final port of call on your river-cruise adventure. Walk the gorgeous waterfront and take in the numerous historic buildings that occupy the city.
Conclude your journey as you travel north to St. Paul, where you will disembark the American Queen. You may either decide to extend your journey and spend a few days in the Twin Cities, or return to Chicago by rail.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Free train travel from any Midwestern or Eastern city to Chicago at the start of the tour. For guests living on the West Coast, we offer special reduced rates for roundtrip rail to Chicago
- Train travel from Chicago to St. Louis over the Union Pacific Railroad
- 7-night American Queen river cruise from St. Louis to St. Paul with stops en route and all meals and entertainment onboard the ship
- Two-night stay in the heart of downtown Chicago at the Palmer House Hilton
- Sightseeing in Chicago and St. Louis as well as a special excursion to Galena, IL
- Services of a professional tour manager
- St. Louis Arch
- Mississippi River
- Famous caves in Hannibal, MO
- Antique stores in Dubuque, IA
- Curio shops in LaCrosse, WI
- Historic buildings of Red Wing, MN
- Minneapolis/St. Paul
Day 1 - Arrival in Chicago
Guests arrive in Chicago by train and transfer to the Palmer House Hilton in the heart of downtown to begin a two-night stay in the Windy City. All evening is at leisure tonight.
Day 2 - Overnight Chicago
A special treat today with a sightseeing boat cruise around Chicago via the Chicago River, the best way to see some of the architecture that makes Chicago so impressive. We have left of the day 'free' for you to spend as you like, sightseeing, shopping, exploring 'The Magnificent Mile' or one of Chicago's great museums. Tonight, is a special treat, dinner at Lawry's- The Prime Rib for the very best prime rib in the country along with the famous spinning salad bowl and, of course, a rich desert. Overnight at the Palmer House Hilton. (D)
Day 3 - Train to St. Louis
A morning train ride over the Union Pacific Railroad brings us to St. Louis. Upon arrival, enjoy a tour of the historic city. Later today board the American Queen, docked in the shadow of the famous Arch. The steam whistle this evening announces your departure along the Mississippi River. Overnight onboard vessel. (D)
Day 4 - Hannibal, Missouri
Today finds us in Hannibal, Missouri, made famous by Mark Twain as the home of Tom Sawyer. You will have an entire day to enjoy this historic town with time to see the famous Cave visited by Tom Sawyer. Tonight, enjoy the Captain's Welcome Aboard Dinner. Overnight onboard vessel. (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Burlington, Iowa
The ancestral home of the Sauk Indians, Burlington resounds with the myths and memories of their past. Enjoy a tour of Historic Fort Madison, where you'll learn about life at the first military fort built on the Upper Mississippi from costumed interpreters. Explore Historical Nauvoo, an early Mormon settlement. (B,L,D)
Day 6- Davenport, Iowa
Voted one of the Most Livable Small Cities in America, Davenport is often described by newcomers and life-long residents alike as a lively, active city with a hometown feel. This vibrant city features of John Deer, the largest agricultural exhibit in the world. Music enthusiasts will enjoy Davenport's many music festivals, including the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. The Mississippi Valley Fair, and the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, which is dedicated to native jass musician Bix Beiderbecke. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - Dubuque, Iowa
This morning finds the American Queen in Dubuque, Iowa with ample time to explore the antique stores, Victorian buildings and quaint shops in this important 19th century river town. Today's special excursion is a visit to Galena, Illinois, a town of great charm and rated as highlight of the voyage year over year. Tonight you may wish to see a movie in the onboard cinema, enjoy Big Band music in the Main Lounge or enjoy a quiet drink in the Antlers Bar as the steamboat paddles north. Overnight onboard vessel. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - LaCrosse, Wisconsin
Picturesque LaCrosse, Wisconsin is your port of call today. A town of great charm resembling a piece by Norman Rockwell, LaCrosse features great pre-Civil War architecture, a fine museum and interesting curio shops. Later today is the steamboat's justly named Southern picnic lunch with platters of fried chicken, baked ham, gumbo, mud pie and other great southern specialties. Overnight onboard vessel. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Red Wing, Minnesota
Another historic river town awaits today. Red Wing, Minnesota-originally the site of a Sioux Indian village and now the largest wheat market in the world-has a beautiful waterfront, friendly residents who come out to welcome the steamboat and hundreds of historic buildings. Overnight onboard vessel. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - St. Paul, Minnesota
Breakfast finds the American Queen docked in St. Paul as guests disembark and travel home. Travelers may extend their stay in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul and take advantage of special hotel rates. Or, travelers may elect to return to Chicago by rail. Ask a Vacations By Rail travel specialist for details about special train fares. (B)
Rail Your Way
Add more flexibility to your rail vacation by choosing when and where to begin and end your vacation. Whether you want to go east to west, west to east, north to south, south to north, start at the beginning, travel the reverse itinerary or begin in the middle, Rail Your Way allows you to tailor make your rail vacation so you can have the experience you want.
Look for the Rail Your Way icon to identify those vacations that offer customized rail connections or joining points. Ask your rail specialist how you can have Rail Your Way!
Train and Hotel Accommodations
I, H, G, F Inside Stateroom These comfortable staterooms feature two single beds and a private bathroom with shower. Some also have an additional single upper bunk.
E Outside Stateroom These cozy staterooms feature two lower single beds, a large window, large mirror, storage space, wall-to-wall carpeting and a private bathroom with shower.
D Outside Deluxe Staterooms feature marvelous views of the river from beautiful floor-to-ceiling bay windows. All offer private bathroom with tub and shower and have either two single beds or one queen-size bed.
C, B, C Deluxe Verandah Staterooms feature a marvelous view of the river from a bay window or windowed French doors that open onto the deck. All feature private bathrooms with tub and shower and offer either two single beds or one queen-size bed.
AA Superior Outside Outstanding staterooms with two single beds or one queen-size bed open onto the deck or verandah by way of windowed French doors and include private bath with tub and shower.
AAA Suite Features a full-size antique bed, sofa bed conversational group, private bathroom with tub and shower and French doors leading to deck or verandah.
Dates & Prices
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Outside A: Departs
Private Balcony AAR: Departs
Private Balcony AAL: Departs
Private Balcony AAC: Departs
Owners Suite: Departs
to change. Port fees of $109 per person are not included in the above fares. It
is recommended to plan for a daily gratuity of $14.50 per person, per day
onboard the Steamboat American Queen,