This may come as a surprise to some, but there quite a few worthwhile things to do in the Midwest — especially on scenic Highway 61, a designated Great River Road for much of its 1,400-mile stretch. For a spot with a view and a dip in the Mississippi River, stop at Lake City, Minn. This sleepy Midwestern town has a lot to boast about, including that it’s the proud birthplace of waterskiing and was briefly the home of renowned author Laura Ingalls Wilder.
But perhaps what is most alluring about Lake City is its close proximity to the Mississippi River. The town is located along Lake Pepin, the river’s largest naturally occurring lake, and, needless to say, boating is big here. You’ll find picture-perfect sailboats and speedboats dotting the shoreline during the summer months, populating the charming Lake City Marina.
The town has a historic, small-town feel. Near the marina, you will find quaint shops and plenty of activities for the whole family. Go camping in one of several scenic parks in the area or take a cruise on Pearl of the Lake, an 1800s paddleboat replica that offers 90-minute cruises from May through October. Travelers can also browse antique shops before making their way toward Washington Street, one block east of the marina and home to Papa Tronnio’s Pizza, famous for their hand-tossed pies.