Sponsored by American Cruise Lines
The best time to cruise the Mighty Mississippi River depends on the type of travel experience you are seeking.
Lower Mississippi River
If you are looking for a journey deeply rooted in Southern culture and tradition, Civil War history, and the origins of American Music including jazz, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll, then the Lower Mississippi River, which has the longest cruising season, is for you.
The best time to cruise the Lower Mississippi is in the spring from April to mid-June or the fall and holiday season, September through December, when the temperatures are mild and humidity is lower than in the summer months. American Cruise Lines has cruises in this region that run round-trip from New Orleans, as well as from New Orleans to Memphis and the reverse.
On these itineraries, guests explore the grand antebellum estates of Natchez and Baton Rouge, the somber battlefields of Vicksburg, and the musical meccas of New Orleans and Memphis. The unique flavors of the region are another high spot, including the best Cajun and Creole cuisine you’ve ever tasted.
If music is your mojo, summer is a great time to experience the Mid-Mississippi River region on our Music Cities cruise from Memphis to Nashville. July through September is a time when the weather is blissfully warm, but not as oppressive as summertime on the Lower Mississippi.
On this itinerary you can explore Memphis, birthplace of the blues and rock ’n’ roll, and be treated to fantastic onboard entertainment as you cruise the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, whose banks inspired the musical genres of bluegrass, country, and jazz. This toe-tapping itinerary also features an evening show at the iconic Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Upper Mississippi River
If breathtaking scenery and hometown Americana is for you, then you would be happy cruising the Upper Mississippi in the summer months through early fall. In general, temperatures on are slightly lower than they are on the Lower Mississippi, with less humidity.
Throughout this journey from St. Louis to St. Paul, be surrounded by the beauty that is the Heartland. Nature lovers will enjoy the wildlife found along the river farther north in Red Wing, including bald eagles, spot turtles, otters, and more. Admirers of modern engineering will appreciate the series of more than locks that only exist on the upper part of the river. History buffs will enjoy a visit to the boyhood home of Mark Twain in Hannibal. Other highlights of this itinerary include the idyllic small towns of Davenport, Dubuque, and Winona, as well as the bucolic landscapes of Fort Madison.