The Mississippi River, which originates in Minnesota, flows for 2,320 miles until it reaches Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. While there are numerous locations to enjoy along the river, several beach cities stand out as some of the most amazing spots along the river’s coast.

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, boasting over 50 mammal species in the Upper Mississippi and 145 reptile and amphibian species. Its 260 fish species make up 25% of all fish species in North America. This natural bounty benefits both the flora and fauna of the area, as well as humans who appreciate its offerings.

If you’re looking for a new stateside beach experience, consider visiting one of these beach cities along the Mississippi River.

Chewalla Lake Recreation Area – Holly Springs, Mississippi

The Chewalla Lake Recreation Area, situated 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 the Chewalla Lake Recreation Area is its sandy beach. Visitors can spend a warm summer day lounging on the beach, swimming, kayaking, fishing, or canoeing. The calm waters of the lake provide great conditions for water activities and relaxation. The lake’s beautiful setting and stunning views offer a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Apart from the beach and lake, the recreation area also offers several other facilities for visitors to enjoy. There are 40 picnic sites, 36 campsites, a mooring dock, a boat ramp, and a fishing pier. Children can have fun at the playground, while groups can make use of the group picnic pavilion. Restrooms with showers and drinking water are also available on-site.

For those who enjoy walking or hiking, the Chewalla Lake Recreation Area has a one-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 call the area home.

Reelfoot Lake – Tiptonville, Tennessee

The story of Reelfoot Lake is a fascinating one that speaks to the power of nature and the resilience of the human spirit. Once a dense cypress woodland, 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 disrupted the landscape dramatically. The tremors were so intense that the Mississippi River flowed backward for a whole day, and the quake was felt as far away 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, renowned for its stunning cypress trees and bald eagle nesting pairs. The Reelfoot Lake State Park that surrounds it offers an array of activities that cater to different interests. Here, visitors can enjoy hunting, bird watching, 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 bask in the sun on the lake’s shores.

Crowley’s Ridge State Park and Beachfront – Paragould, Arkansas

Crowley’s Ridge State Park boasts a unique feature that sets it apart from other parks in the region. The park’s ridge is actually an island that was formed by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and spans over 200 miles from Missouri to Arkansas. One side of the ridge is covered with hickory and oak trees that resemble the Ozarks, while the other side is home to cherry, maple, and beech trees. Visitors will also find a diverse range of tulip trees that create a patchwork of broadleaf specimens not found anywhere else in Arkansas.

One highlight of Crowley’s Ridge State Park is Lake Ponder, which features an amazing sandy beach along the Mississippi River. The lake is a popular place to cool off in the waters fed by springs or for lounging on its warm beach. The lake also offers a range of activities such as kayaking, pedal boating, and volleyball.

For those who enjoy fishing, there is another lake in Crowley’s Ridge State Park that is an ideal spot. Though it may be small, the lake offers big catches, including catfish and largemouth bass. Visitors can rent kayaks or fishing boats, or cast from the barrier-free pier.

Lake Storey Beach – Galesburg, Illinois

The city of Galesburg in Illinois is full of entertainment options, including 23 city parks, wooded trails for biking, horse riding, hiking, a water park, and a public beach. However, among all of 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 by adding playgrounds for children as well as paddleboarding and fishing.

If you don’t have your own equipment, you can rent paddleboats, kayaks, or John boats to enjoy the water. For those who prefer to stay on land, there are plenty of walking, biking, and hiking trails available. Additionally, Bunker Links Golf Course is an 18-hole golf course that can be found in the park. For those looking to cool down, the waterpark has a splash pad and several wading pools.

The surrounding area also has plenty of other options for things to do. The Byrsey Williams Area in Lake Storey offers horse riding, while Lincoln Park is great for fishing. The Monarch Migration Festival, which takes place in early summer, is fun for the whole family. History enthusiasts can enjoy Galesburg’s Heritage Day, which hosts one of the best Civil War reenactments in the area.

Point Douglas Beach – Hastings, Minnesota

Point Douglas Park, located just a few miles from the Carpenter Nature Center, is a small and unguarded beach that offers visitors a peaceful retreat. With a sandy shoreline that spans 510 feet, the park is situated on the banks of the St. Croix River near the point where it meets the Mississippi River.

While the park doesn’t have any playgrounds for children, it does offer other family-friendly activities. Fishing piers and picnic areas offer opportunities for quality family time in nature. Visitors can also watch trains pass by from across the highway, as the park is located next to an active train track. Despite this, the noise from the trains is not bothersome.

In addition, the park is situated next to a lift bridge that provides visitors with a fantastic view of the boats on the lake. Children can keep themselves entertained by climbing along the rocky shoreline or combing through the sand on the beach for treasure.

Fishing is also a popular activity at Point Douglas, as the park boasts a concrete fishing pier and hosts over 60 species of fish. The park’s trails have recently been upgraded for cyclists and pedestrians, making it easy to cycle or walk along 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 to enjoy. Although the sandy beach is a top attraction, it is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. However, visitors can enjoy other activities year-round.

One popular activity is walking across the dam, which also provides an opportunity for fishing. Hikers can explore various 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 looking to enjoy aquatic activities can go kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, or rent pedal boats.

Pennyrile Forest State Park offers a variety of accommodation options. Its lodge provides 24 rooms that overlook Pennyrile Lake. There are also 13 cottages available to rent. Some cottages are located right on the lake and offer private docks. Visitors can bring their 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 at this lake, and fishing gear can be borrowed from the reception area. Visitors can also rent row boats, kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats from the boat dock. Although motorboats are not allowed on this lake, Lake Beshear, located just four miles north of the lodge, allows them.

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