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Journey Along the Upper Mississippi


America’s Heartland is the backdrop of this 10-day rail-river cruise vacation that includes visits to Chicago, St. Louis, Hannibal, Dubuque, La Crosse, Red Wing, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

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10 days Sold out

2021 Tour code: MW-JUMN-21

About the tour

Journey through America's Heartland on a rail-river cruise vacation that takes you from Chicago to St. Louis by train and along the Upper Mississippi by steamboat. On your voyage, discover the true inspiration behind Mark Twain's beloved American classics and the river lore that's woven around famous Midwest cities in Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Midwest travelers may omit the Chicago city stay and sightseeing. Speak with a rail specialist for details.

American Queen Steamboat Company requires a COVID-19 vaccination for all guests and crew for all sailings beginning July 1, 2021


What’s included


Day 1 - Arrive in Chicago

Arrive in Chicago and transfer on your own to your centrally-located hotel. Take the day to explore the city at your own pace on a hop-on/hop-off sightseeing tour that takes you to Chicago's famous sights and attractions including the historic Water Tower, Willis Tower for unprecedented views from the observation deck, Navy Pier for dining and entertainment along the lake, museums and more! Overnight Chicago.

Day 2 - Train to St. Louis

Transfer on your own to Union Station and board your Amtrak train for your 9:25 am departure to St. Louis. Sit back and relax as you travel through the state capital of Springfield and into Missouri. You're scheduled to arrive in St. Louis at 3:00 pm. Transfer on your own to your hotel with the remainder of the day at your leisure. Overnight St. Louis.

Day 3 - Alton, IL

This adventurist's oasis is always welcoming to our guests - as dewdrops of watercraft greet them from the shorelines. Founded in 1837, Alton has preserved its small-town aesthetic, but mated it with the modern industry and art that birthed its contemporary ambiance. Cafés overlook limestone bluffs draped in greenery as breezes and birds alike whistle through the trees. Enjoy both the indoor and outdoor treasures that showcase the enchantment that this river town has to offer. Overnight vessel. 

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Hannibal, MO

We arrive at our first port of call, Hannibal, today. Board the Twainland Express for a sightseeing journey enlivened by the spirit of Samuel Clemens, who authored American classics under the pen name of Mark Twain. Experience the stories created by Twain through the power of a youthful imagination and experience the real-life "Adventures of Tom Sawyer." We'll begin with a journey back in time to the Golden Age of railroading at the Big River Train Town. Then, we'll visit the place where the stories all started. Discover how a young boy growing up in this small village along the banks of the Mississippi would become the world's most beloved author. At The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, we'll learn everything that we need to know about this literary icon. After a stop at the Sanctuary of the Trinity Episcopal Church, we will visit The Cave Hollow Complex. Here you can indulge in a tasting at the winery or explore the cave where Tom and Becky were lost in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Last but not least, we'll stop at Historic Main Street which offers over 50 shopping stores, restaurants, historic buildings and finally, a stop at the Hannibal History Museum. Overnight vessel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Scenic River Cruising

Enjoy the sights and sounds of river cruising as you spend a leisurely day onboard the steamboat. Overnight vessel. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Clinton, IA

The city of Clinton has much to offer, all with the beautiful backdrop of the Mississippi River. Situated at the crossroads of the Lincoln Highway and the Great River Road, Clinton is the Eastern-most point in the State of Iowa. At the height of its local economy during the late 19th Century, Clinton was regarded as the lumber capital of the nation; a history that is reflected as visitors pass many old sawmills. Today, agriculture plays a big part in Clinton's economy, which is visible in the beautiful rolling fields filled with luscious, fresh harvest crops. Explore the history of this fascinating river town and discover a lifestyle that will stand out from today's norm!

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Dubuque, IA

The flags of five nations have flown over Dubuque, a city that lives and breathes river lore. Take in its diverse flavors from Cable Car Square to the Smithsonian-affiliated National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium on today's sightseeing tour. We'll begin with a drive by the Shot Tower, a seven-story structure built to produce lead shots for the Civil War. Then, we will bask in the beauty of light filtered through 101 Tiffany stained glass windows at St. Luke's United Methodist Church. Next on the tour is Dubuque's Museum of Art, where we will discover the third largest collections of Grant Wood art in Iowa. We'll stop at The Fenelon Place Elevator where we can enjoy a bluff-top view of the Mississippi River and downtown Dubuque. Hop-off at 2nd & Main Street at The Hotel Julien for some shopping, spas, and beauty salons before we visit the oldest and most "grand" of more than 16 legitimate theaters which served the community; the Grand Opera House. Lastly, we will visit the Dubuque County Jail, which once housed the Notorious Butch Cassidy who was detained there as a suspect in a local bank robbery. The Old Jail Museum & Dubuque County Courthouse is an example of Egyptian Revival style and is only one of three of its kind still standing today. Overnight vessel. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - La Crosse, WI

This gem of Victorian and Art Deco architecture with an inviting Riverwalk is your gateway to local culture and today's port of call. Board a motorcoach at the Riverside Park dock and enjoy a narrated tour of charming downtown La Crosse. Your first stop is the Dahl Auto Museum where we can view antique cars and learn about the Ford Motor Company and its five generations of history through their automotive journey since 1911. Then we will visit the Chapels of St. Rose. Next, discover a variety of exhibits, from Prehistoric times to the 20th century, surrounding the history of La Crosse at the Swarthout Museum. Enjoy a view of the Hixon House, a Victorian style home beautifully restored from the late 1850's. The last stop is the Riverside Museum and Riverside International Friendship Garden. Visit the Riverside Museum to enjoy exhibits that explore the chronological history of La Crosse and the Riverside International Friendship Garden; a place of beauty that reflects an appreciation for the diverse cultures that share the earth. Here, you'll find gardens to represent six different nations from around the world. Overnight vessel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Red Wing, MN

Red Wing is home to a variety of shops, including arts, antiques, pottery and one-of-a kind boutiques. It ranks as one of Minnesota's leading manufacturing cities. Historically, it is known as home to products including shoes, pottery and linseed oil. Today it also produces safety and robotic products. Start your narrated tour of Minnesota's favorite destination at the Pottery Place District. Here guests will find antiques, gift shops, and eateries. Watch and interact with potters at work in the pottery studio of the Red Wing Pottery Salesroom as they wheel-throw and decorate their own pottery. Then we will visit the Sheldon Theatre, the country's first city-owned theater, which showcases the best in arts and entertainment from Minnesota's heartland and beyond. Continue to Bush & Main Street's Shopping District, the perfect area for some last minute shopping or to grab a snack. Some must-see places at this stop include the St. James Hotel, the Native-American Store, UFFDA shops, and more. Our last stop at Red Wing Visitor Center and Art Association exhibits local artwork and shops. Overnight vessel. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Disembark in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

Disembark the American Queen in Twin Cities surrounded by skyscrapers, bridges, and the first of many Mississippi River locks and dams.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Hotel Accommodations

Hotels are centrally located, 3.5 to 4-star properties, selected based on quality and availability.

Pricing Plans
Amtrak accommodations are in Coach class.

Accommodations onboard the American Queen range from Inside Cabins featuring single beds and bathroom with shower to Luxury Suites with Private Verandas. See a rail specialist for details.

Accommodations onboard the American Countess range from Inside Staterooms with one Queen or two single beds to Deluxe Outside Staterooms with Private Verandas.
Please note

Port taxes are not included. Travelers from the Midwest may exclude the Chicago city stay and sightseeing at the beginning of this vacation. Ask a rail specialist for details. Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station. Rail from Minneapolis to your closest Amtrak Station is also available. The July 17 Departure will travel on the American Queen. The August 20 departure will travel on the American Countess.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


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