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Jessica Poitevien

For centuries, the Mississippi River, which snakes its way 2,500 miles through ten states, from Minnesota to Louisiana, has inspired the American imagination. A trip on the fourth-longest river in the world offers a range of experiences, from canoeing to spotting bald eagles. As Mark Twain once said, “It is not a commonplace river, but on the contrary is in all ways remarkable.” With a stay on one of these houseboats, you can enjoy this classic American experience.

Credit: vrbo.com

Gordy Miller Houseboat
St. Paul, Minnesota
Originally built in 1949, this recently remodeled houseboat offers a peaceful stay on the river, with the entertainment hubs of the Twin Cities just minutes away. A bright red exterior welcomes guests, while hardwood floors and wood paneling make for a cozy interior. The upper deck is perfect for taking in views of the river, but in case of rain, this houseboat also comes equipped with a TV and a stockpile of DVDs.

Credit: ssboatrentals.com

S&S Boat Rentals
Lansing, Iowa
Located just 40 miles south of La Crosse, Wisconsin, S&S Boat Rentals offers a selection of seven houseboat models for short-term rentals. Two- and four-bedroom options can accommodate six to ten people comfortably as they float down the Mississippi River. Designed with families and friend groups in mind, each S&S vessel has an entertainment system and a spacious upper deck with an outdoor bar area added on the larger houseboats.

Credit: boatelsmarina.com

Boatels Houseboat Rentals and Marina
McGregor, Iowa
In Iowa’s bluff country, about 50 miles north of Dubuque, the Boatels’ houseboat fleet consists of four, themed vessels. There’s the outdoors-inspired Backwater Lodge, the beach-themed Drunken Coconut, the river-themed Mississippi Pearl, and the fishing-themed Reel Inn. Each houseboat features all the amenities needed for entertaining: a covered front deck with seating and a propane grill; an upper deck with seating; a stereo system and DVDs. The crown jewel of each houseboat is the water slide with a drop straight into the Mississippi River.

Credit: glampingstl.com

Glamping St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
Houseboating meets glamping at this campsite just north of the Gateway City. While Glamping St. Louis offers cottages and vintage airstreams, those looking to wake up to the sounds of moving water can opt for the floating glamping tents. A King-size bed and a private deck overlooking the river set the mood for an outdoorsy romantic getaway, but if the kids must come along, the sofa also converts into a full-size bed. Guests can cook from an outdoor kitchen, use the onsite canoes and bicycles, and enjoy nightly campfires. Air conditioning and heating are also available inside the tents. This is a glamping experience, after all.

Credit: glampingstl.com

Great River Houseboats
Alma, Wisconsin
With its homeport about 50 miles northwest of La Crosse, Great River Houseboats allows guests to explore an area of the Mississippi River known for its sandy beaches, quaint river towns, and opportunities to spot wildlife such as the bald eagle. After a boating lesson, travelers can captain their own boats, charting a course along the river as they see fit. A range of vessels is available, from the 37-foot Days Away to the 59-foot Delite, accommodating up to 12 people. Amenities differ on each houseboat, but each includes a gas grill and outdoor seating to make the most of the idyllic setting.

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