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Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway
Cruise along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, where the Mighty Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers converge. The 33-mile byway begins in Hartford, leading you through Alton and bends along the forested river bluffs to its end point in Grafton, at Pere Marquette State Park.
Grafton Zipline Adventures
Looking for a jaw dropping, heart racing experience? Try Grafton’s newest attraction – a zip line that affords those brave enough a stunning river view and hours of fun. The nine zip lines total 1.75 miles, which should take approximately two hours to complete. The first of nine zip lines is nicknamed the Baby Bear – the shortest measuring only 300 feet in length. The longest, at 2,000 feet, is the Soaring Eagle, which has breathtaking views during its 250-foot descent. The Deer Hollow (3rd zip) and the Barn Burner (the final zip) are both 1,500 feet. The Limestone Leap (7th zip) is 1,300 feet, the River Run (5th zip) is 1,200 feet, the Gobblers Knob (6th zip) is 1,000 feet and the Road Runner (2nd zip) at 700 feet.
Pere Marquette State Park
At 8,000 acres, Pere Marquette State Park is the largest state park in Illinois. Go hiking on wooded trails, biking along scenic bluffs, fishing and boating on the Illinois River, or horseback riding through the forest. The park is also known for its guided fall color drives and eagle-watching tours in the winter. The rustic stone-and-timber Pere Marquette Lodge makes a great base for exploring the area.
Alton Hauntings Tours
Based on the book Haunted Alton by Troy Taylor, Alton Hauntings Tours offers an entertaining and spine-tingling trip into the unknown, taking visitors to the most authentic haunted places in Alton. Uncover the eerie folklore, ghostly tales and documented haunted spots on a three-hour walking tour of the city’s most haunted sites. Visitors will see sites that have become nationally known, like the old Alton penitentiary, First Unitarian Church, Enos Sanitarium and many others. The tours have been proven to be popular with ghost enthusiasts and history buffs alike, and nowhere else can you learn as much about the real, haunted history of Alton. Walking tours and bus tours are offered during two touring seasons – Spring & Summer and the Haunted Fall Season. Private tours are also available for groups of 20 or more. Reservations must be made in advance for all tours.
Tara Point Inn and Cottages
Noted in Midwest Living magazine as "a riverside retreat for the romantic," Tara Point Inn is known for its incredible accommodations and breathtaking views of the Mississippi River. Atop the palisades bluffs above Grafton, visitors can choose either the main inn or a secluded cozy cabin escape to what some call the most pleasantly memorable getaway experiences in the Midwest.
The River House
Relax, reflect and unwind in this private guest house that is a turn-of-the-century cottage completely restored with modern amenities. Located high above the confluence of the Mississippi & Illinois Rivers, it offers a quiet retreat with a spectacular view, yet it is only one block from village shops, marina, restaurants, bike trails and the scenic byway.
National Great Rivers Museum
Located adjacent to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, this museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Mississippi River, from its colorful history to its modern-day role as a major transportation corridor. The museum features kid-friendly, interactive and computer animated exhibits. Steer a towboat through the locks and dam via simulator, measure your water consumption or come face-to-face with river fish in the aquarium.
Raging Rivers WaterPark
Choose from four winding waterslides, brave the waves at the Breaker Beach wave pool or just spend the afternoon floating along the Lazy River. Located just outside Grafton on the Great River Road.
J.E. Robinson Underground Railroad Tours
In the early 1800s, Alton became a safe haven for slaves escaping from the bonds of slavery. Because of the area's neighboring slave state of Missouri, runaways found refuge in the free land surrounding Alton. The tunnels of the Underground Railroad run deep beneath the streets along the "Alton Route." The area was a major stop along the Underground Railroad, hiding slaves in caves, barns and basements throughout Alton, Otterville and Jerseyville. Hear the slave's tales, feel their fear and learn about Alton's remarkable past on an Underground Railroad Tour. Tours available by appointment only.
Melvin Price Locks & Dam
Get the best view of Alton and the Mississippi River from eight stories in the air atop the Melvin Price Locks & Dam. Take a free guided tour and see towboats and barges as they push their way through this incredible structure. It's also a great spot to eagle watch in the winter.
Riverside Flea Market
You won't want to miss this fabulous flea market on the river! Over 50 dealers with all types of goods, antiques glassware, tools, candles, furniture and good old-fashioned junk! Located in the historic boatworks building located right on the Mississippi River. It is held the fourth weekend of the month May through October.
Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge
Near the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers lies a veritable bird-watching utopia. Visitors to Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge can expect to see a variety of migratory birds, from waterfowl and warblers to Acadian Flycatchers and American Bald Eagles. In fact, Two Rivers is the winter home to one the largest Bald Eagle populations in the continental United States.
Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center
As a centerpeice of Pere Marquette State Park, the lodge and restaurant are an attraction for visitors from miles around. Visitors can spend a day at the park and explore the Great Room of the lodge, dine in the restaurant or even spend a night in a cozy lodge room or cabin. The centerpeice of the rustic timber 1930s Great Room is the 700 ton stone fireplace and life-size chess set. The Great Rooms beckons visitors to pull up a chair and a glass of wine with a view of the Illinois River. The Lodge restaurant is known for its family-style chicken dinner and season Sunday brunch buffets. Spend the afternoon or a weekend for an unforgettable experience.
Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater
The 4,000 seat Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater hosts a variety of events from community festivals to live concerts throughout the summer months. With the Mighty Mississippi River as a backdrop, bring your blanket and spread out for an evening under the stars. Check out our website for a list of upcoming events.
Ruebel Hotel & Restaurant
Located near the convergence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, Grafton, Illinois is a little town steeped in history. In the heart of that history is the Ruebel Hotel. The Ruebel was built in 1884, caught fire in 1912 and was rebuilt and completely renovated in 1997. In 2008, it was upgraded to modern standards - all rooms have new beds and are equipped with hair dryers, refrigerators and 26" flat screen TVs with satellite. To ensure your stay is a pleasant one, we've supplied free wireless internet to the lobby, saloon and all rooms. The Ruebel Hotel has a magnificently restored bar from the 1904 Worlds Fair in St. Louis. The Ruebel Saloon offers excellent food and a great variety of beer and wines.
Grafton Winery & Brewhaus
Located in the quaint river town of Grafton Illinois along the Great River Road Scenic Byway, the Grafton Winery and Brewhaus overlooks the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. Nestled among the river bluffs, our winery offers great views of the river for every season. Come join us for dinner with soup, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and pasta dishes. Private parties & banquets are welcome.
Enjoy three levels of action on the first riverboat casino in Illinois, with more than 1,000 of the most popular machines, from penny to $25 slots. Try your luck at the tables with blackjack, roulette, Caribbean stud poker, pai gow poker and craps.
Confederate Prison Site
Built in 1833, Alton houses Illinois' first state penitentiary. During the Civil War, the facility imprisoned thousands of Confederate soldiers. Partial remains of the structure can still be observed today.
The Fish Market - A Loading Dock Guest House
This upscale cottage was designed with comfort and fun in mind. Perfect for families or singles, the Guest House sleeps up to 6 with one king size bed and four twin size bunks. A full kitchen and large living room makes for a most relaxing stay. Two televisions and wireless internet access keep you in touch. The Guest House is small-pet friendly with a fenced-in side garden.
Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail
Walk in the footsteps of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Civil War soldiers from both North and South. Experience the life of young Lincoln as a lawyer, duelist and orator. It was here that the final Lincoln-Douglas Debate took place, with the issue of slavery on the minds of spectators. It was here that Confederate soldiers were held captive, died and were buried. It was here that Alton resident and U.S. Senator Lyman Trumbull authored the 13th Amendment, putting an end to slavery in the United States. Experience the 11 historic sites interpreted along the Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail.
Jeni J's Guest House
Stroll the streets of Grafton with the great rivers at your doorstep. From a stone terrace overlooking the junction of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, Jeni J's offers the choice of 3 cottages with 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms. Built in the early 1800's, the cottages are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Situated between the two cottages, take the time to stop into Jeni J's gift shop for a memento of your trip.
Begin your holiday celebration escaping from the chaos of the season and experiencing the enchantment of Christmas at the "Christmas Wonderland" holiday light display. The "Grandpa Gang" has been at it again transforming Rock Springs Park in Alton, Illinois into a Winter Wonderland. Visitors can drive through the park to view more than 2 million lights, cascading waterfalls of lights, lighted trees and displays, and visit Santa Claus in the Enchanted Forest. Christmas Wonderland 2009 will be open from November 27th through December 27th. The suggested donation is $7 for cars and small vans or $1 per person for vehicles holding more than 10 people. Carriage rides will be available first come first serve on weekends. For more information about Christmas Wonderland, call 1-800-258-6645.
Comfort, convenience and beautiful surroundings await you in this 1870's guest house located in the historic Christian Hill District. Enjoy private one or two bedroom units with secluded brick courtyards and cozy gas fireplaces. Located on State Street, the Haagen Haus is within walking distance to downtown shops, restaurants, the scenic byway, biking and walking trails, and the Argosy Casino.
Mineral Springs Haunted Tours
Take an eight-block tour of some of the haunted locations in downtown Alton, investigate the four floors of the Mineral Springs Hotel, be part of a seance and top the evening off with a tarot card reading. All tours begin and end at the Mineral Springs Mall. Tour options include New Moon Haunted Tours, Waking the Dead Walking Tours, Cemetery Tours and Haunted Overnights.