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Five Reasons to Vacation at the Ports of Discovery

Ready to plan your next vacation? Why not head to the Ports of Discovery? As a designated Iowa Great Places community, the Ports of Discovery is located in the heart of McGregor and Marquette, Iowa. Snuggled in between rolling bluffs along the Mississippi River, the Ports is the perfect getaway.

Whether you are looking for a family trip, a girls weekend, a chance to ruinite with your sweetheart or to rejuvinate all on your own, the Ports has an experience waiting for you.

Here is a list of the top five reasons to visit:


Known as the Driftless Region, the Ports of Discovery is home to windy roads that lead you to breathtaking views. Start your day with a hike at Pikes Peak State Park, a 500ft bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Travel the half-mile wooden boardwalk to the parks picturesque Bridal Veil Falls or just sit at the lookout and take in the sunrise. After that, make your way to Effigy Mounds National Monument to view 206 prehistoric mounds in the form of animal effigies created by early American Indians. While you are there hike to the top for another amazing view of the river.

Natural Resources:

The Ports of Discovery offers a wide range of outdoor acitivites. Enjoy boating the Mississippi River in search of supper or sit in the sun at a nearby sand bar. Rent a houseboat or jet ski from the Nauti Marina or take a ride on the Mississippi River Boat tour. Grab your pole and try your hand at trout fishing along Yellow River Forest. Walk public land to find Morel mushrooms (in the Spring) or shed antlers (in the Winter). Bird enthusiast can spend time watching the eagles or purple martins from the river front in Marquette. The Ports is truly natures playground and will surley please every outdoorsman.


The Ports is known for its historical mainstreets. From historical architecture to buildings on the historical register, we got it all. Not to mention McGregor is home to the Ringling Brothers Circus and the first female dentist. If you are a history buff, you will enjoy the self-guided history walking tour through town. Make sure to stop by the muesuem to learn more.


If you are in need of some retail therapy, then the Ports is the place to be. Immerse yourself in fine art, gourmet food, antiques, clothes, books and even handmade soaps as you stroll the streets of Marquette and McGregor.


After a long day of fun, wind down with some food and drinks. Taste local made wine and beer. Dine at the many cafe's or diners. Then dance the night away or just enjoy a drink at the local pubs. No matter what your taste buds desire, the Ports nightlife is sure to please.

We gave you lots of reasons to visit. Now its your turn to plan your next vacation to the Ports of Discovery. Find out more including lodging options at

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