Make a Break for Dubuque

Travel DubuqueActive, Along the River, Arts + Culture, Explore, Family Fun, Groups, Nature + Outdoors, Nightlife, Sports & Recreation, Spring, Stay

Dubuque is your family-friendly spring break destination with museums, riverfront attractions, trails, parks, and more. Use the recommendations below and these five tips to plan your Destination Dubuque family spring break adventure!


Grand Harbor Resort & WaterparkLocated in the Port of Dubuque, the Grand Harbor is just a hop, skip and jump away from cosmic bowling, riverfront attractions, and downtown shops. The 25,000 square-foot indoor waterpark featuring waterslides, tube rides, a lazy river, activity pools, and two giant hot tub whirlpools!

Holiday Inn: Located on Main Street in downtown Dubuque and just eight miles from the Dubuque Regional Airport, the pet-friendly Holiday Inn® is near riverfront scenery and attractions. The Holiday Inn also offers an onsite restaurant, indoor pool and free shuttle service.

Hotel Julien Dubuque: Recently featured on ABC’s The Bachelor and also located in the delightful downtown district, Hotel Julien offers modern elegance and historic charm dating back the mid-1800s. There is complimentary Wi-Fi and shuttle service as well as an onsite restaurant, lounge, boutique, and full-service spa.


National Mississippi River Museum & AquariumAn affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum & Aquarium takes visitors on a journey along the Mighty Mississippi through its dynamic aquariums, historical exhibits, wetland, boatyard, plaza area, and state-of-the-art 3D/4D Immersion Theater.

Fenelon Place Elevator: Voted the #2 thing to do in Dubuque on TripAdvisor, the Fenelon Place Elevator is described as the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway. Ride up the bluff for amazing panoramic scenes of Dubuque and the Tri-State area.

Mines of Spain: The Mines of Spain Recreation Area and E.B. Lyons Interpretive Nature Center is one of Iowa’s Watchable Wildlife Areas—all you have to do is take the time to look and listen. There are nature walks, several hiking trails, and a large variety of songbirds and other wildlife, including rare species like the red-shouldered hawk and flying squirrel.


Catfish Charlie’s: Catfish Charlie’s opened in 2005 and has since become the Tri-State area’s premier waterfront restaurant. They offer casual dining in a spectacular riverfront setting, in fact, every seat in the house has a view of the Mississippi River. Seafood is their specialty, but the menu also features unique options like the buffalo burger and alligator nuggets.

Paul’s Tavern: Paul’s is the place to go for a quiet family lunch, because once your kids step inside, they’ll be in silent awe of the exotic animals displayed throughout the small tavern. In business for 65 years, Paul’s is known for its big game hunting trophies and its Broilerator-made burgers. You’ll have a one-of-a-kind eating experience at Paul’s and give the kids something they can go home and tell their friends about.

Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor: Happy Joe’s is all about creating a happy, kid-friendly environment—from the décor and the viewing window where kids can watch pizzas being made, to the placemats with crayons and Old-Time Candy Counter. Not to mention the delicious pizza and ice cream.

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