10 Excellent Campgrounds for Exploring the Mighty Mississippi

Photo Credit: Spook Cave & Campground

Photo Credit: Camelot KOA

The mighty Mississippi River has played a significant role in culture, the economy, and recreation for centuries. Whether you're a history buff wanting to explore the river's rich culture, a child out for fun, or an adult just looking to kick back, relax, and enjoy the scenic views, the mighty Mississippi-which is over 2,300 miles long and flows through 10 states-offers something for everyone.

Here are 10 campgrounds on or very close to the Mississippi River:

1. Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, Bagley, Wis.

This award-winning park is nestled in the Mississippi River Valley, with tall bluffs on one side and the mighty river about 100 yards across the road. It has campsites and cabins and offers a variety of family activities from wagon rides, miniature golf and pedal carts to Yogi Bear cartoons at an outdoor theater, nature hikes, and story time with Boo-Boo Bear.

2. Pettibone RV Park & Campground, LaCrosse, Wis.

Pettibone RV Park and Campground is surrounded by the Mississippi River and has grassy areas for camping, lots of trees, and waterfront sites where you can enjoy the river festivities. The park is close to bike trails, golf courses, a public beach, and Mississippi River boat tours. At Pettibone, you can enjoy great fishing in Blue Gill Bay or rent a canoe and row it down the backwaters of the river. Also popular is its friendly bar, where you can enjoy a drink (or two) and play darts!

3. Great River Harbor Campgrounds and Marina, Alma, Wis.

Great River Harbor is a natural harbor located about a mile off the Mississippi River, nestled at the foot of the great river bluffs where you can experience beautiful scenery, sandy beaches, fantastic fishing, and frequent glimpses of soaring bald eagles. The campground includes camp trailer spots, tent camping sites, an exercise room, an 18-hole mini-golf course, pontoon rentals, outdoor games and more.

4. Spook Cave & Campground, McGregor, Iowa

Spook Cave & Campground is located in the scenic buffs of northeast Iowa, approximately 15 minutes from the Mississippi River, and has spacious primitive to full hook up campsites and fully furnished log cabins. The campground has fishing, a sand beach, hiking trails and other fun family activities. Its most unique attraction, however, is its underground, guided boat tour through Spook Cave where you can view stalactites and other natural formations.

5. Palace Campground, Galena, Ill.

Founded in 1848, the Palace Campgrounds is the oldest campground in Illinois and sits on 50 quiet, wooded acres just two miles from historic downtown Galena. The campground has a pool, miniature golf, hayrides, and outdoor movies and is also close to the town of Dubuque, where you can experience the Mississippi River on an authentic paddlewheeler or take a stroll along the river walk. Palace Campground accommodates campers in tents, campers, RVs, and rustic cabins.

6. Rock Island Quad Cities KOA at Camelot, Rock Island, Ill.

Located in the Quad Cities area, this family-friendly campground has grain silos that have been converted into a castle called Camelot, as well as an outdoor pool and hot tub, miniature golf, canoe/bike rentals, and a waterpark. The campground offers RV sites, tent sites and cabins and is close to Davenport, where you can take a historic riverboat cruise along the picturesque Mississippi River.

7. Sundermeier RV Park, St. Charles, Mo.

This five-star, award-winning RV park, which has both RV sites and cottages, is minutes from St. Charles, Mo., a historic city with brick paved streets buildings that date back to the 1800s. It's also just 20 miles west of St. Louis and the Gateway Arch, where you can take a riverboat cruise on replicas of 19th century steamboats named the Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher.

8. Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River Park, West Memphis, Ark.

This peaceful RV park offers both tent sites and easy access pull-thru sites in the shade of the woods or on the edge of the river. In fact, the riverfront section is so close to the Mississippi River, you can sit under your awning and throw a rock in the water! The park's main attraction is the endless river traffic. It also offers sunrise views, nature trails, mowed fields, a lake, and two stocked ponds.

9. Riverview RV Park & Resort, Videlia, La.

The name says it all. Riverview RV Park and Resort is located along the Mississippi River, overlooking the historic city of Natchez (well-known for its antebellum mansions and estates), and features serene views of the river and the historic paddleboats. Riverview is big rig friendly, with large pull-thru, riverfront sites and primitive tent camping. It includes a clubhouse, a shuttle to the Isle of Capri Casino in Natchez and a three-mile river walk.

10. Poche Plantation, Convent, La.

Poche Plantation is a full-service, cajun-country camping RV park and resort located close to scenic river road, which follows along the banks of the Mississippi River. It's less than an hour from New Orleans and Baton Rouge, located on 18 acres of groomed, manicured lawns and gardens. The resort has an enclosed pool and 12-person hot tub, and welcomes big rigs, fifth wheels and pull behinds. It also has bed and breakfast suites and cottages nearby for more accommodations.