|It is here, where the Master paints America's Heartland with brilliant & vibrant colors
As the clean crisp days and cooler nights of the season provide you with a brand new cruising experience that welcomes
all Loopers into the heartland. The locals will start noticing fewer summer vacation crowds, as milder temperatures bring
on the discounts. It's here you will realize how lucky you are to be at this place at this exact time of year. It is beyond
doubt the most vividly colorful reason to cruise the Loop by the seasons.
Whether you enjoy the timeless sites of history, the excitement of cityscapes or the solitude of natural sanctuaries;
wonderful venues like a Pirate’s treasure, await your arrival on these majestic waterways.
From the Mississippi, to the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, to Barkley and Kentucky Lake, you‘ll love it
here. It is in these waters you will find North America's only Fresh Water Pearl Farm.
|Louisville, Kentucky (side trip on the Ohio)
There’s a variety of things to see and do at this interesting port along the Ohio River. Waterfront Park, located downtown and adjacent to the
Louisville Wharf and Riverfront Plaza/Belvedere, provides boaters with at-your-own-risk dockage at the Wharf from June 1 to November 1.
The complex is center stage for outdoor concerts and festivals, including the annual Birthday Bash for the Belle of Louisville, the Belle, built in
1914 and moored at the Wharf, is the oldest operating Mississippi-style sternwheeler steamboat in operation — so book your passage for back-in-
When taking in the downtown sights, the Brown Hotel (another Historic Hotels of America, built in 1923 at a cost of $4 million dollars) offers an
amazing stop with its impressive English Renaissance architecture. Baseball aficionados will be mesmerized with a visit to the Louisville Slugger
Museum & Factory.
The city boasts two annual happenings: The Kentucky Bluegrass Music Festival, one of Louisville’s oldest music events at the Water Tower and
the Jeffersontown Gaslight Festival, which kicks off with a motorcycle rally. This fifth largest festival in the region features a car show, live
entertainment and more than 140 arts and crafts booths during its nine days.
|St. Louis, Missouri
The Gateway City to the West is also the Looper's getaway to America's Heartland', with a downtown comprised of historical and modern day
attractions. Alton Marina (adjacent to Riverfront Park) and the St. Louis Yacht Club afford easy accessibility for cruising this city along the mighty
St. Louis’ famed riverfront complex, Laclede’s Landing, is housed in century-old buildings and cobblestone streets dating back to the early days of
explorers, traders and settlers. The Landing boasts an array of restaurants, shops, theaters and is a short distance from the Gateway Arch. A 630-
foot ride to the top of the stainless-steel monument leads to an outrageous view of the city and Mississippi River. Make sure your sightseeing list
includes a trip to the Museum of Westward Expansion and a stroll down the St. Louis Riverfront Trail. One of season’s biggest events, the Big
Muddy Blues Festival, takes place Labor Day Weekend and features legendary at Laclede’s Landing.
Talk to any of the locals the conversation will sooner or later get to the subject of music and barbeque. Well, we’re here to tell you that boating
should be added to the dialog. Beginning with St Louis and continuing south, from the river banks to the shores of the lakes, America's Heartland
delivers onboard opportunities to all mariners. The quality of fishing, cruising and camping in this area rivals that you will find anywhere in the
world. Factor in the rejuvenated waterfronts found in many of the cities, and you will see what we mean when we say the Heartland is tailor-made
for fun and excitement on and off the shoreline.
|Cincinnati, Ohio (side trip on the Ohio)
Mariner’s Landing, a full-service facility 14 miles west from downtown, provides in-water slips directly on the Ohio River and easy
access to Cincinnati. Whether the game plan calls for a day of Bengals football at Paul Brown Stadium or a city getaway, there’s
something exciting to do, including some mega events during Septemberfest, Oktoberfest, and Novermberfest. From Zinzinnati USA in
September (a world-renowned German celebration that’s second only to Munich) to the Cincinnati Mid-Point Music Festival with some
250 national and international bands. It’s almost impossible to find nothing wonderful to do.
A unique departure from Cincinnati’s bright lights is the Little Miami River, a Class I tributary of the Ohio River flowing some 111 miles
through five counties in southwestern Ohio. Designated as a National Scenic River, it joins the Ohio River just east of Cincinnati and
invites boaters to discover timeless natural and historical treasures: abundant aquatic life, lush foliage and relics from the past.
The Tennessee River winds its way towards the Ohio River, flows into a portion of the stunning region known as Kentucky’s Western Waterlands
and makes its way to Kentucky Lake — home to the quaint town of Grand Rivers, a village dotted with antique shops and restaurants. The natural
beauty of the area is truly an outdoor recreational destination all its own. Nicknamed the Village Between the Lakes, Grand Rivers boasts a
spectacular lake view from the jetty (especially at sunset) and a wonderful two-mile trek along its walking trail. Lighthouse Landing, a picturesque
resort and full-service marina, affords those with an appreciation of the outdoors a secluded yet convenient locale tucked along the Kentucky Lake
shoreline that’s a mile north of the entrance to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and three blocks to area landmark, Patti’s 1880s
Settlement & Restaurant.
|CHATTANOOGA (side trip on the Tennessee river)
Not only has this scenic town tucked between the mountains of southeast Tennessee and the beautiful Tennessee River been named Best Town
Ever, it’s also been voted one of the "Top 45 Places to Go in the U.S." by both the New York Times and National Geographic.
You can’t miss the Riverwalk, It covers 13 miles along the Tennessee River from end to end. The Southern Belle riverboat not only gives you a
chance to let someone else do the driving, it invites you for some great lunch and dinner cruises. Tie up at one of the marinas on either side of the
Chickamauga Dam to be within walking distance of downtown. Marine-Max is located at Ross’s Landing and has a transient dock, gas and diesel,
restrooms, groceries and lodging. Erwin Marine operates Chickamauga Marina, off the main channel in an embayment just upstream of the lock, and
Gold Point Yacht Harbor, a little east of downtown in a picturesque cove. Both offer showers, stores and other services for visiting cruisers.
About five miles downriver, Harrison Bay is home to Island Cove Marina & Resort and Chattanooga Yacht Club (private) and is adjacent to Harrison
Bay State Park, one of the area’s top spots for hiking, fishing and mountain biking. Mark your calendars for the RiverRocks, a free outdoor festival. It
spans 10 days with more than 120 activities including hot air balloon rides. (and if you have never down that - we highly recommend the experience).
|KNOXVILLE (side trip on the Tennessee river)
This northeast Tennessee River town made a splash as host of the 1982 World’s Fair, and World’s Fair Park remains a major gathering place for
local festivals and performances, but Knoxville was a commercial and cultural draw long before that. The surrounding peaks provided attractive
minerals and timber, which lured early entrepreneurs. Today, these same resources bring visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Knoxville
is also home to the University of Tennessee and its formidable Volunteer Navy, but more on that later.
You can’t miss Volunteer Landing, a one-mile promenade scattered with waterfalls and fountains, historical markers and three locally owned
restaurants. It’s also the location of the Star of Knoxville riverboat, offering lunch, dinner and specialty cruises, and the Three Rivers Rambler
Railroad, providing scenic train rides along the Tennessee River. Downtown Knoxville is within walking distance of Volunteer Landing, and the tourist
options here are almost overwhelming. There’s the 18th century Blount Mansion, Civil War Gateway, Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville Visitor
Center, World’s Fair Sunsphere (now free and open to the public) and Market Square, offering an eclectic blend of open-air dining, shopping and
Tie up at Volunteer Landing Marina to be right in the middle of the action. It carries gas and diesel, and is equipped with electric and water hook-ups,
transient slips, pump-out, a store and more. About 25 miles downriver is Louisville Landing Marina, a Tennessee Valley Authority Clean Marina just a
quarter-mile off the main channel in Lackey Creek. Ten miles further south is Sinking Creek, home to Fox Road Marina and Concord Marina, both of
which provide full amenities and services.
However. . . The very most amazing "DON'T MISS - MUST SEE" aspect of cruising to Knoxville is that you are now only 40 miles (a 1 hour rental car
drive) from Gatlinburg and the heart of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Both Gatlinburg & Clingmans Dome (the highest Peak in
Tennessee and 2nd highest east of the Mississippi), make this "side trip" worth renting a car and staying a few nights in a motel. Gatlinburg itself is a
great place to visit with more to do than you can possibly see and do in a month much less a long weekend. You will enjoy downtown Gatlinburg at all
times during the day or night. The Smoky Mountains in Fall, is one beautiful sight to behold. Much like the Grand Canyon, everyone should see this
place at least once in their life!
I highly recommend you make this side trip to Knoxville, Gatlinburg, and the Great Smoky Mountains!
|NASHVILLE (side trip on the Cumberland)
Country music put Nashville on the map, but it’s not this northwestern Tennessee city’s only talent. A wide assortment of attractions paint a
different picture of this destination from what you might expect — stately Southern mansions, vibrant shopping and cuisine, exciting outdoor
activities, inviting museums, galleries and performing arts institutions. But, of course, if country music is your thing, УMusic CityФ will not
disappoint with its unequaled venues and events.
You can’t miss Riverfront Park, which connects the Cumberland River with the city’s bustling downtown area. The Nashville waterfront is wrapping
up a decade-long restructure and expansion project, and Riverfront Park reaps the benefits with increased green space, boardwalks, overlooks
and plazas. Already arguably Nashville’s favorite outdoor entertainment venue, Riverfront Park now offers more acreage for festivals, concerts,
fireworks and other special events. In addition, new docking facilities for the General Jackson showboat mean its daytime country music shows and
elegant three-course dinner cruises are here to stay.
Tie up at the Nashville Municipal Dock in the shadow of the Shelby Avenue Bridge, which ties the Coliseum side of the Cumberland River with
downtown. There’s electric and water on the west bank dock; electric only on the east bank. Step off the boat here and the Hard Rock Café is just
up Broadway. About 15 miles downriver, in an old quarry, Rock Harbor Marine offers gas and diesel, electric, water, pump-out, guest restroom and
laundry, and a season restaurant.
Visit nearby Nashville Shores, a first-class waterpark with a 310-slip marina, mini golf, boat and Jet Ski rentals, campsites and lake-view cabins.
Sounds like the great place for a vacation from your vacation!
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|Cruising the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway - click next.
|Fall Colors on Kentucky Lake
America's Great Loop