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Wisconsin & Miss. River drive in RV, needing "must see" suggestions

Wisconsin & Miss. River drive in RV, needing "must see" suggestions

Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 03:33 PM
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Wisconsin & Miss. River drive in RV, needing "must see" suggestions

My husband, 89 year old mother & I are planning a trip to visit Wisconsin the latter part of July & first half of August. We'll be in an RV but towing a car. Mom wants to see the shoreline from above Chicago going North & drive along side the Mississippi River going South. For the most part, she prefers to just "ride" and enjoy the scenery but we'd prefer to find several spots along the way that we can stay for a couple a days and see the sights in each area. Our RV is fairly large and I'll have do some research into RV Campgrounds. I've heard Door County was a must see. We love small quaint towns, scenic drives, flea markets, good craft shows, covered bridges, lighthouses and staying off the beaten path. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Specific highway numbers, town names and as much detail as possible would be terrific. Thanks in advance for you help
Marmoye is offline  
Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 10:42 PM
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We just drove the Great River Road from Prairie du Chien to Stockton last week. It was rainy, but still lovely.

If you or your mother ever read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books, Pepin is the location of Little House in the Big Woods. There isn't a lot to see, but it was still a must stop for me.

Be sure to stop in Stockton and visit the Stockton Pie Company. http://www.thestockholmpiecompany.com

Here's a link for more information: http://wigrr.com/

We also drove from Spring Green (Frank Lloyd Wright's home, Taliesin, is here) to Prairie du Chien along Highway 60. It is next to the Wisconsin River and is a lovely scenic drive.

If you're interested, I have a copy of Wisconsin: Off the Beaten Path for sale. It's the most recent edition and is in great shape. We used it to plan our trip and found it to be really helpful. You can email me at this screen name at gmail dot com if you like.

Lee Ann
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Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 08:59 AM
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This is from a post I did earlier in the year about the Southwestern portion of Wisconsin.

We like to explore back roads so this is just a rough guideline. One of our “routes” takes us
West out of Madison on Hwy 14, past Spring Green (also a very scenic area with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin http://www.taliesinpreservation.org/ a slight jog down Hwy 23 south of Spring Green).
Continue on 14 to Gotham and turn south onto Hwy 60 to travel along the Wisconsin River.
Hyw 60 eventually merges with Hwy 61 and crosses south into Boscobel to Hyw 133 west. Watch for the small County Road C that eventually wiggles west right next to the Wisconsin River. This is really off the beaten path but parts of it are picturesque.
Hwy C takes you just about to Wyalusing State Park and glorious views of the Rivers below. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/wyalusing/
After the park, head north to Prairie du Chien. It is one of the oldest towns in the state and was a fur trading center. The historic Villa Louis mansion at the site of an old fortress right on the banks of the Mississippi River. http://villalouis.wisconsinhistory.org/
Along the River just a few blocks south is a pretty little Lawler Park. From this park there is a boat that provides wildlife eco tours in the backwaters of the Mississippi River that are not accessible without a boat. http://www.mississippiexplorer.com/home.php ( I don’t believe it is a daily event.)
Head north out of Prairie du Chien to La Crosse along the Wisconsin side of the Great River Road (Hwy 35). http://www.explorelacrosse.com/
At La Crosse go across the bridge into Minnesota and continue north along the Mississippi River to Wabasha. It has a cute downtown and The National Eagle Center is there. Continue north to Lake City on the shores of Lake Pepin (actually just a widening of the Mississippi). Just about 15 miles north is Red Wing with a lot of small shops and the historic St James Hotel on the River. We often stop there lobby, tour their shops and have coffee or a meal before starting back south.
Head back south to La Crosse. You may want to cross over into Wisconsin and proceed south along Hwy 35. Personally I don’t find it as scenic as the Minnesota side during this stretch of road but we always stop in the little town of Nelson because of the charming Nelson Creamery. They have wine and cheese but ice cream seems to be the biggest draw.
From La Crosse take Hwy 33 east, through the Amish community of Cashton, past Wildcat Mountain State park and all the way to Hwy 12 near Baraboo. Just south of Baraboo you find Devil Lake State Park that is one of the busiest and prettiest in the state. It is a mecca for rock climbers and hikers. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/devilslake/
Take Hwy 12 back to Madison.
As I said, we tend to wander so this is just a rough outline of places we enjoy. There are many more lovely areas in between just waiting for me to explore. If you try some of these places or find others, I hope you’ll let me know what you think. Enjoy your trip.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 10:30 AM
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We used to live in the Middle West (now in Boston area) and have vacationed here and there. Yes, Door County is pleasant with an emphasis on arts and crafts so you may stop off here and there. Hard to beat the beauty of the Wisconsin Dells and I would think boat trip possible (I'm not quite as old as Mom). Also Lake Geneva was a special place for us.

mdwest has shared a nice little trip including Taliesin. We loved Madison where son got PhD. I should add we once camped with folddowns and trailers so wish you well. That means just enjoying some relaxing in state park...I take it your RV is more of a Mobile home size.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 04:20 AM
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Thank you for your post and great information. Knowing which side of the Mississippi River to drive was particularly informative. Establishing a home base for 2 - 3 days has been difficult to decide. Hopefully someone will share more specifics about the Dells, Apostle Islands & scenic Mississippi drives..........
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 12:12 PM
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Two good websites I highly recommend for RV specific info are: www.irv2.com and www.rv.net I've used both to help us plan trips in our RV and have found the people on their forums to be friendly, helpful, and very knowledgeable. You can search for advice on routes, campgrounds, and things to do in the various forums and ask questions specific to your trip.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 02:07 PM
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Just returned from the Dells. The entire downtown area is one big amusment park and water park. We did enjoy the Dell boat tour. It is divided between the upper and the lower dells. I suggest taking the upper dell tour. There wasn't much to see on the lower dell tour. We also enjoyed the Circus Museum in Baraboo. It is right along the Wisconsin River. I was traveling with my Dad that is 85. Everything is easily accessable.

We stayed at Christmas Mountain Resort which was about 5 miles from the downtown area. They did have RV accomodations. I am not sure if anyone could rent a site or if it was a part of the timeshare concept. The resort was beautiful and very quite. We did enjoy are stay.
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