The Mississippi River, which originates in Minnesota, flows for 2,320 miles into Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. While there are numerous sites to enjoy along the river, several coastal towns stand out as some of the most amazing spots along the river's shoreline.
Bordering ten states, the Mississippi River winds through Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin. The river is abundant in wildlife, with over 50 species of mammals in the Upper Mississippi and 145 species of reptiles and amphibians. Its 260 species of fish represent 25% of all fish species in North America. This natural abundance benefits both the region's flora and fauna, as well as the humans who enjoy its offerings.
If you're looking for a new US beach experience, consider visiting one of these beach towns along the Mississippi River.
Lake Chewalla Recreation Area – Holly Springs, Mississippi
The Chewalla Lake Recreation Area, located in the Holly Springs Ranger District, is perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The 260-acre lake offers visitors a serene atmosphere to relax, unwind and soak in the beauty of nature.
One of the main attractions of Chewalla Lake Recreation Area is its sandy beach. Visitors can spend a hot summer day relaxing on the beach, swimming, kayaking, fishing or canoeing. The calm waters of the lagoon provide excellent conditions for water activities and relaxation. The beautiful lakeside setting and breathtaking views provide a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
In addition to the beach and the lake, the leisure area also offers several other facilities for visitors to enjoy. There are 40 picnic sites, 36 campsites, a dock, a boat ramp and a fishing pier. Children can have fun on the playground, while groups can make use of the group picnic pavilion. Bathrooms with showers and drinking water are also available on site.
For those who enjoy walking or hiking, Lake Chewalla Recreation Area has a 1 mile walking trail that takes visitors through the natural beauty of the surrounding area. The trail offers a great opportunity to observe the wildlife and plants that inhabit the region.
Lago Reelfoot – Tiptonville, Tennessee
The story of Reelfoot Lake is fascinating and speaks to the power of nature and the resilience of the human spirit. Once a dense cypress forest, the area around the lake was characterized by Native American trails and poorly constructed roads. However, in 1811 and 1812, a series of earthquakes caused by the New Madrid fault line drastically altered the landscape. The tremors were so intense that the Mississippi River flowed backwards for an entire day, and the earthquake was felt as far as Quebec.
The result was the creation of Reelfoot Lake. Spanning over 15,500 acres, the lake is twenty miles long and seven miles wide, with a maximum depth of 18 feet.
Today, Reelfoot Lake is a nature lover's paradise, known for its stunning cypress trees and nesting pairs of eagles. The surrounding Reelfoot Lake State Park offers a variety of activities that cater to different interests. Here, visitors can go hunting, birding, fishing, canoeing, hiking and kayaking. However, the lake's sandy beach is perhaps the most popular attraction, drawing visitors from far and wide who come to soak up the sun on the lake shores.
Crowley's Ridge State Park e Beachfront - Paragould, Arkansas
Crowley's Ridge State Park has a unique feature that sets it apart from other parks in the area. The park's summit is actually an island formed by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and stretches over 200 miles from Missouri to Arkansas. One side of the ridge is covered with hickory and oak trees reminiscent of the Ozarks, while the other side is home to cherry, maple and beech trees. Visitors will also find a diverse array of tulips that create a patchwork of broadleaf specimens found nowhere else in Arkansas.
A highlight of Crowley's Ridge State Park is Lake Ponder, which has an amazing sandy beach along the Mississippi River. The lake is a popular place to cool off in the spring-fed waters or relax on its warm beach. The lake also offers a variety of activities such as kayaking, pedal boats and volleyball.
For those who like to fish, there is another lake in Crowley's Ridge State Park that is the ideal spot. Although it may be small, the lake offers big catches including catfish and largemouth bass. Visitors can rent kayaks or fishing boats, or launch from the barrier-free pier.
Lake Storey Beach – Galesburg, Illinois
The city of Galesburg, Illinois is filled with entertainment options, including 23 city parks, tree-lined biking trails, horseback riding, hiking, a water park and a public beach. However, among all its attractions, Lake Storey Beach stands out the most.
This public beach has golden sand and is perfect for a relaxing day out with friends during the summer. The park has made an effort to attract visitors, adding playgrounds for children, as well as paddleboarding and fishing.
If you don't have your own equipment, you can rent pedal boats, kayaks or John boats to enjoy the water. For those who prefer to stay on land, there are many trails available for walking, biking and hiking. Additionally, the Bunker Links Golf Course is an 18-hole golf course that can be found in the park. For those looking to cool off, the water park has a splash pad and several wading pools.
The surrounding area also has many other options for things to do. The Byrsey Williams area of Lake Storey offers horseback riding, while Lincoln Park is great for fishing. The Monarch Migration Festival, held in early summer, is fun for the whole family. History buffs can enjoy Galesburg Heritage Day, which hosts one of the best Civil War reenactments in the region.
Point Douglas Beach – Hastings, Minnesota
Point Douglas Park, located just a few miles from the Carpenter Nature Center, is a small, unprotected beach that offers visitors a peaceful retreat. With a sandy shoreline stretching 510 feet, the park is situated on the banks of the St. Croix, near the point where it meets the Mississippi River.
Although the park does not have playgrounds for children, it does offer other activities for the whole family. Fishing piers and picnic areas provide opportunities for quality family time in nature. Visitors can also watch trains pass by on the highway, as the park is located next to an active rail line. Despite this, the noise of the trains is not bothersome.
In addition, the park is situated next to a lift bridge that gives visitors a fantastic view of the boats on the lake. Children can have fun climbing along the rocky shoreline or combing through the sand on the beach in search of treasure.
Fishing is also a popular activity in Point Douglas, as the park has a concrete fishing pier and is home to over 60 species of fish. The park's trails were recently updated for bicyclists and pedestrians, making it easy to bike or walk along the 2.5 miles of trail along the Mississippi River.
Pennyrile Forest State Park – Dawson Springs, Kentucky
Pennyrile Lake in Kentucky offers a variety of activities for visitors. Although the beach is one of the main attractions, it is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. However, visitors can enjoy other activities throughout the year.
A popular activity is walking around the dam, which also offers an opportunity for fishing. Hikers can explore several trails such as the Clifty Creek Trail, Lake Trail and Indian Bluff Trail. Visitors can also capture the park's natural beauty by photographing the stunning views from Fisherman's Rock. Those who enjoy water activities can practice kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle or rent pedal boats.
Pennyrile Forest State Park offers a variety of accommodation options. Your lodge offers 24 rooms overlooking Lake Pennyrile. There are also 13 chalets available for rent. Some cottages are located on the lake and offer private docks. Visitors canbring your pets, but only two per room or cottage.
Pennyrile Lake is a popular spot for fishing, with species such as bluegill, crappie, channel catfish and largemouth bass. A Kentucky fishing license is required to fish this lake, and fishing equipment can be borrowed from the reception area. Visitors can also rent rowboats, kayaks, canoes and pedal boats at the dock. Although motor boats are not permitted on this lake, Lake Beshear, located just four miles north of the lodge, does.
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