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The city of La Crosse, Wisconsin, resting along the banks and amid the bluffs of the mighty Mississippi River, offers residents and visitors alike an incredible opportunity – delightful travel on one of the most famous rivers in all of America. Experience the Mighty Mississippi’s wild splendor and breathtaking beauty by taking a cruise aboard one of La Crosse's riverboat tour companies such as Mississippi Explorer Cruises or old-world paddleboat cruises aboard the La Crosse Queen.

The La Crosse Queen is a life-size replica of a 19th century riverboat that also happens to offer a number of essential, and not-necessarily essential, modern-day conveniences and services. This matriarchal riverboat (regularly inspected by the United States Coast Guard), is licensed to easily transport a maximum of 149 passengers.

There have actually been six previous vessels christened with the name ‘La Crosse Queen’ that have plied the pools and backwaters of the Mississippi River from the city of La Crosse's Riverside Park. So, it is aboard the La Crosse Queen VII, launched on its maiden voyage in 2008, where you will enjoy your sightseeing and excursion cruises today.

As indicated above, what you will see and do on these cruises depends on the specific type of cruise you decide to book. The first decision you will have to make is whether you want to take one of the various public cruises, or explore the option of chartering a much more intimate private cruise. Some packages include the following:

Public Cruises

Cocktail, Dinner and Sunday Brunch Cruises - These are typically two-hour tours where food, beverages and relaxation are the primary highlights - next to the mighty Mississippi River and surrounding scenery, of course.

Interactive Wildlife Eco-Tour and Sightseeing Cruises - These are typically laid back, casual, 90-minute affairs, on which you are given a guided tour up and down the river. Your guide will provide you with descriptions of some of the scenery and wildlife, as well as entertain you with interesting factual and trivial bits of information about the various points of interest.

Private Chartered Cruises

When you charter a Mississippi riverboat, you are often allowed to customize your experience to best suit your needs - within reason, of course. Departure times, river routes, and the length of time for your trip, are some of the common options available while planning your cruise. Food service, entertainment and cocktails are possible available amenities, if desired.

The weather is always a mercurial guest in this part of the country, and is the primary reason that most, if not all, riverboat cruises operate only from May to October.

It's rare to come across celebrations that are both deeply meaningful and also ridiculously fun. Freedom Fest is that celebration!

A day of biking and music, Freedom Fest has been held since 2008, specifically to honor U. S. Veterans and their inestimable contributions to our national security, our well-being and our way of life. Like a giant Veterans Day party, Freedom Fest involves motorcycles and rock music. Freedom Fest puts all the glory back into the very flag our veterans have so bravely defended, mixing sheer exhilaration with a worthy purpose and a healthy dose of gratitude.

This June 15th at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, enjoy the legendary music group Chicago, Daughtry and The Remainders. A whole day of festivities, beginning with a motorcycle rally, ends with an evening of amazing music beneath the pristine summer sky. There will be refreshments, friends and tons of thrills just outside the Veterans Memorial Field.

After the unlocking of the stadium gates, the army band will defend its reputation as the preeminent military band in the world. The Opening Ceremony is not to be missed - the Joint Forces color guard will lead the singing of the National Anthem. A “Fallen Heroes” Presentation will succeed sets from both The Remainders and Daughtry, and then the evening culminates with Chicago and a fireworks display.

This day is the ideal way to set aside time for reminding oneself of our millions of Service members. They defend our right to freedom and protect us while we enjoy those freedoms. Too often, freedom is taken for granted, or those who make it possible for the rest of us to be free feel forgotten or ignored. Part of freedom's promise is the right to celebrate as one sees fit, to assemble and cheer on any given cause.

What better cause could there be than our veterans and active-duty Service members? Without them we wouldn't be able to openly celebrate anything. For all patrons who love a great party, Freedom Fest is the ideal opportunity to come together, share, have fun and let veterans know how vital and appreciated their service is.

Stadium gates open at 3:00 p.m. Prerequisite activities abound in La Crosse. Enjoy a mini boat tour on the La Crosse Queen. Or whet your whistle properly before the evening's festivities at the Bodega Brew Pub. Kill time and prepare thrill-seeking bones at the Riverside Amusement Park. All attractions are located within La Crosse and are convenient to the Veterans Memorial Field.

Children’s Museum of La Crosse

by Judy Gull

Children are fascinated by the world and all the wonders it has to offer. From science to arts and crafts, kids are always eager to learn. The Children’s Museum of La Crosse is a place where these fascinations can take flight.

The Children’s Museum is a hands-on learning environment where kids can ask questions and have them answered by participating in experiments and activities. Knowledgeable staff members are also there to help and to answer any questions kids and parents alike may have.

The exhibits in the museum are constantly changing, bringing in new and exciting experiences for families to enjoy. Currently you can take your kids on a Mr. Potato Head journey. The classic, beloved toy takes children on adventures in space, under the sea, through the jungle and on an archeological dig. Special demonstrations and classes are given several times a week at the Children’s Museum. They cover a range of subjects from science experiments to pet therapy to simple hands-on fun.

While main attractions may vary from season to season, there are plenty of fun exhibits that remain at the museum to be loved again and again. Kids can try their hands at bridge building, or operate a “kid crane.” You will learn about airflow, dinosaurs, police officers, fire fighters and nature, all in one fantastic museum.

The Children’s Museum of La Crosse is open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5. Admission is only six dollars and the museum has a membership program where you can pay a low, yearly fee and get free entry for the rest of the year.

So what are you waiting for? Grab the kids and bring your curiosity, The Children’s Museum of La Crosse awaits your wide-eyed and smiling explorers for hours of educational fun.

Grandad Bluff

by Judy Gull

590 feet above the town of La Crosse, Wisconsin is a greenery-covered mesa. It stands to the East of the town, as though watching over its citizens, timeless and unchanging. Grandad Bluff has indeed stood over the La Crosse area through the ages as it’s almost as old as the Mississippi itself. In fact, its formation may have directly impacted the Mississippi’s course as we know it.

Any timeless monument makes a mark on the people who live around it, or who visit the area. Mark Twain, for one, thought the bluff significant enough to mention in Life on the Mississippi. Grandad Bluff is significant because it embodies both the stoic beauty of a mountain and the exotic visual appeal of a mesa.

Mesa formations are characterized by their flat, table-like tops. Sheer cliff walls reach skyward, ending abruptly at the tabletop. Atop Grandad Bluff are a multitude of trees, which gives the mesa a look befitting its namesake: a grizzled, noble grandad.

One of the best things about any mesa is the uninhibited view they afford those with the gumption to climb them. Atop Grandad Bluff you will enjoy views of La Crosse, the University of Wisconsin and the Mississippi River weaving through the land.

For the city of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Grandad bluff has become a beacon of community pride. Many of the area’s festivals and gatherings take place in its shadow. Through snow and sun and rain, Grandad Bluff stands, watching the life of the citizens of La Crosse decade after decade.

In 1912 they opened Grandad Bluff Park. Here you can enjoy covered picnic areas, hiking trails and, of course, the spectacular views.

La Crosse River State Trail

by Judy Gull

La Crosse River State TrailLa Crosse River State Trail is a 21.5 trail along the La Crosse River, a tributary of the Mississippi River here in the La Crosse area. It is one of four state trails; the other three are The Great River, Elroy-Sparta, and the “400” state trail. Together, the state trails cover more than 100 miles.

La Crosse River State Trail links the Great River State Trail with the Elroy-Sparta State Trail. An active rail line runs parallel to a portion of the trail. The river trail was developed from abandoned railroad lines from the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.

The trail’s countryside comprises prairies, wetlands, forests, streams, and farmlands. There are also a number of parks and campgrounds along the way. The trail itself is composed of packed limestone screenings and bridges. Bicyclists, hikers, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the river trail from spring through fall, with snowmobiling and cross-country skiing popular in winter months. Guided prairie tours are available, and begin in Rockland.

La Crosse River State Trail connects the villages of Sparta, Rockland, Bangor, West Salem, and Onalaska, from east to west.

Sparta is known as the “Bicycling Capital of America” and Rockland is a small agricultural community.

Bangor was home to Winnebago Indians and later to Welsh residents. An inscribed sandstone cliff runs along Dutch Creek south of Bangor park.

West Salem’s historic locations include the Hamlin Homestead, which belonged to Hamlin Garland, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and the architecturally-significant Palmer-Gullickson Octagon Home.

Onalaska is surrounded by wooded bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River Valley in the Coulee Region, which is known as a “driftless area” from the time when glaciers bypassed the region. Lake Onalaska is a four-mile wide reservoir on the Mississippi River.

The villages that lie along La Crosse River State Trail have a number of amenities for trail trekkers, including bed and breakfasts, motels, bike repair and service shops, and restaurants and cafés.

There are more than 100 camping sites along the La Crosse River State Trail which include shaded areas, electrical hookups, sanitary stations, drinking water, hot showers, a camp store, fishing pond, playground, and canoe landing. Veterans’ Memorial County Park & Campground is located between Medary and West Salem. State trail passes and camping permits are available through Wisconsin State Park System.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

Contact Information

Photo of Judy Gull Real Estate
Judy Gull
RE/MAX First Choice
757 Sand Lake Road
Onalaska WI 54650
Direct: 608-781-7714
Fax: 608-783-4263