It’s a scene reminiscent of the Mark Twain era. The bright white riverboat, powered by cherry red paddlewheels, pushes upstream along the Mighty Mississippi. Blue heron or egrets may wade along the shoreline, while bald eagles perch high up in the trees. You can become part of this scene when you take a narrated sightseeing tour or a meal cruise on the La Crosse Queen, one of only a few authentic Mississippi River paddlewheel riverboats in operation today.
Board the boat at Riverside Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and take a seat either on the open-air upper deck or on the enclosed lower deck. The lower deck is where meals are served on the brunch, lunch and dinner cruises and where you can purchase beverages (including adult beverages) on the sightseeing tours.
Your tour guide narrates the sightseeing trip, explaining what makes the riverboat authentic, pointing out wildlife along the shore, explaining the river’s history and geography, and throwing in a few corny jokes.
As you cruise upstream, you’ll pass through a railroad swing bridge, most likely see barges navigating the river, and on the longer cruises, experience going through the locks. Depending on which meal cruise you choose, the trip may be narrated or you may be entertained with music.
Purchase tickets at the boat dock at the north end of Riverside Park next to the Hiawatha statue. Meal cruises require advance reservations. La Crosse Queen Cruises run from May through October. For further details, including schedule, visit the La Crosse Queen Cruises web site.
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