Spend a three-day weekend taking in the sights along the Mississippi River - your family will love this action-packed itinerary in Dubuque.
Day One: Classic Dubuque
Check in at the kid-friendly Grand Harbor Resort & Waterpark, located on the banks of the Mississippi River. The indoor waterpark is fun for all ages, featuring a four-story treehouse that soaks swimmers in buckets of water every eight minutes, a lazy river, waterslides, tube rides, activity pools and water cannons.
The resort is within walking distance to the popular National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. The museum campus features interactive exhibits (try your hand at piloting a river barge) and aquariums full of fish and other wildlife found in the Mississippi. After the museum, relax on a cruise aboard the American Lady, offering happy hour and dinner cruises every day from May through October.
Enjoy dinner in beautiful downtown Dubuque at one of the many locally-owned restaurants like L. May Eatery, Brazen Open Kitchen & Bar or Vinny Vanucchi’s Little Italy.
Day Two: Great River Road Adventure
Get ready for an outdoor adventure! After breakfast, head north along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway for more beautiful views of the Mighty Mississippi. Make sure to stop and explore the charming river town of Guttenberg. Downtown is packed with cute gift shops and locally-owned restaurants. For lunch, try the Picket Fence Café or Sodes Green Acre Country Market & Cafe.
Continue on to Pikes Peak State Park near the towns of Marquette and McGregor. Iconic Mississippi River views are an easy walk from the parking lot, but more than 11 miles of trails will take hikers past limestone cliffs, a waterfall and breathtaking views.
Seven miles north, another excellent park awaits – Effigy Mounds National Monument. The mounds are a sacred burial ground of several American Indian tribes and visitors can hike among the mounds and learn about the history and culture of the area.
On your way back to Dubuque, enjoy dinner at Breitbach’s Country Dining, Iowa’s oldest continuously operating restaurant, located near Balltown.
Day Three: Dubuque Adventures
You can’t leave Dubuque without taking a ride on the Fenelon Place Elevator, the shortest and steepest railway in the world. Soak in one last sweeping view of downtown Dubuque before making your way to one (or both!) of Dubuque’s most breathtaking attractions.
Sky Tours at Union Park takes visitors on a two-hour journey among the treetops via zipline. There are nine ziplines to experience on each guided tour, starting with easy “Bunny Rides” and ending with an exhilarating ride 75 feet above the park. (Kids must be at least 10 years old and 70 pounds; tours must be booked in advance.)
If Sky Tours sounds a bit too daring or if you have younger kids, go underground instead! Crystal Lake Cave features 3,000 feet of well-lit passageways where you can view mineral formations more than two million years old.
Finally, make your way to Dyersville and visit one of Iowa’s most iconic attractions – the Field of Dreams Movie Site. Step up to the plate or just play catch where the line “Is this heaven?” was first asked. The field holds special “Ghost Player” games and Field of Dreams movie viewings throughout the summer. You can also tour the first floor of the house that was featured in the movie.