Cozy, scenic Marquette, Iowa, on the shores of the Mississippi River, is surrounded by beautiful forests. Spring brings warmer weather, beautiful flowers, birds, and fun activities that give tourists and residents plenty of reasons to love the season.
1. Beautiful Days at Pikes Peak State Park
At Pikes Peak State Park, visitors can enjoy a leisurely picnic, along with some of the best views in the Midwest. Reserve a rustic stone open picnic shelter with a playground nearby, or choose from two gazebo-style shelters. There are also lots of overlooks and viewing platforms at Pike's Peak, the highest bluff on the Mississippi River.
Make sure to check the weather before a trip to the park, since some spring days may not break 40 degrees, and snow occasionally falls as late as April. If it does snow, you can always go cross country skiing. However, there are plenty of warm, pleasant days good for hiking, biking, and even camping, as well as picnicking. On many trails, sheer walls of limestone nearby have fossil remains imbedded in them, including brachiopods, gastropods, and cephalopods. The campground has 77 campsites, showers and restrooms. Half of the campsites must be reserved, and the other half are available to anyone. Nights are chilly, so wear warm clothing and use a sleeping bag that's rated for colder temperatures. The park concession near the campground offers refreshments, ice and souvenirs to all park visitors.
2. Effigy Mounds National Monument
Native Americans who lived in the Upper Mississippi River area between 400 and 800 years ago built effigy mounds from soil in the shapes of animals for religious purposes. Conical mounds were for burials, and archaeologists are still not sure why the mound builders also built long rectangular mounds. The most popular animal shapes in the northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin area were the bear and the bird. The Monument includes hundreds of mounds. It's open from dawn to dusk, but the visitor center's hours vary depending on the season and the weather. Cars aren't allowed near the mounds, but you can hike through up to 14 miles of trails. There's also a disabled-accessible boardwalk over wetlands on the coast of the Mississippi River. It showcases several more effigy mounds. You can also watch a 15-minute video and view a collection of ancient Native American artifacts at the visitor center. Guided tours by rangers are available on some days. Late winter and early spring is bald eagle nesting season. In some places, crowds of these normally solitary birds perch in the trees, making the spectacular views even better.
3. Spring Flavors at Eagles Landing Winery
This small family winery planted its first grapes in 1999, and it's been making its popular Marquette Maid wine since 2003. Eagles Landing offers free wine tasting every day, with over two dozen wines to choose from, including seasonal spring wines. The tasting room and gift shop is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The winery's grapevine-covered Wine Garden is a perfect place to sample wine with friends, especially on a warm spring day.
4. The Garden at Villa Louis
A short trip across the Mississippi River in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, Villa Louis is the former estate of Hercules Louis Dousman, a fur trader, lumberman, and land speculator who lived from 1800 to 1868. Dousman's granddaughters donated the property to the city in 1935, and it was opened to the public in 1952. After a two million dollar restoration that began in 1994, it's one of the best examples of a rural, upper-class Victorian mansion in the United States. The authentic Victorian garden is beautiful in spring, and there's a duck pond with an artesian well. Next door to Villa Louis, the Dousman Office Building houses the Estate Office and Billiard Room on the first floor and guest rooms on the second floor. The first floor has been restored, and it's included in guided tours. Make an appointment to be sure that a guide is available.
5. The Scenery by the River
Go for a walk along the mighty Mississippi and enjoy the serene, peaceful view. It's a perfect place to relax on a sunny spring day. You can also enjoy the river on the Lady Luck® River Boat Casino. Games include slots, video poker, craps, blackjack, Mississippi Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold'em, and more. If you're hungry, try the home-style buffet or get a sandwich at O&H Express®. On April 16 and 17, enjoy a tribute to Kenny Rogers by the Ultimate Legends Showband, with Ronny Craig as emcee. Shows will be at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm.
Lady Luck® Casino invites you come spend the spring season with us here in Marquette! Already in the area? Then make sure to take advantage of all the great activities this season has to offer!