Road Trip to Three States in One Day
Take a drive through small towns, countrysides, and one-of-a-kind locations for the perfect fall road trip.
Let's plan a road trip through Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois!
Hit the road!
IA > WI > IL > IA
Looking to explore the areas around Dubuque and #WhereIowaStarted? How about a jam-packed road trip with stops in three states in just one day? Do as much or as little of this itinerary as you can and snap photos along the way tagging @traveldubuque and #WhereIowaStarted.
Leave Dubuque and head towards Balltown, Iowa where you’ll see rolling hills, farmland, and the heart of the Midwest. When in Balltown check out Breitbach’s Country Dining (Iowa’s Oldest Restaurant), the Scenic overlook just outside of Breitbach’s, or Promiseland Winery (just 15 minutes from Balltown).
Want to take a ferry across the Mississippi? Continue north from Balltown on the Great River Road to Millville where you will drive to the ferry pick up. Weather and water levels change often and can affect ferry operation. Call ahead for a current schedule. Also good to know…pets are allowed and they only accept cash.
Nelson Dewey State Park
Once you cross the mighty Miss’, you can head to Nelson Dewey State Park outside of Cassville, WI. This area overlooks the Mississippi River from a 500’ bluff. Camping, hiking, or picnicking are all welcome - so are pets. Spend time exploring this park named after Wisconsin’s first Governor and if you have time visit the nearby Stonefield Historic Site.
From Cassville, continue east on the Great River Road to Potosi, WI. Here you will find the historic Potosi Brewing Company. Originally founded in 1852, the brewery today features an on-site restaurant, the National Brewery Museum, and offers brewery tours to the public. Explore the rest of Potosi’s main street including Whispering Bluffs Winery just across the street.
(Before getting to Potosi, head to Potosi Point. There you’ll find a quiet viewing area of the Mississippi River where wildlife and nature are in full sight.)
After adventures in Potosi are through, take a drive southeast to Dickeyville and see the famous Dickeyville Grotto. Father Matthias Wernerus, a Catholic Priest spent 5 years (from 1925-1930) building and collecting the bright-colored objects, materials, and stones set in the mortar that can still be seen today. While in Dickeyville, stop at local favorite, Hauber Brand Meats, and fuel up on locally sourced goodies for the rest of the trip.
(Continuing to head north? Check out Platteville, WI, the Mining & Rollo Jamison Museums, hike to the world’s largest M, and more.)
Elizabeth Grand Antique Co.
From Dickeyville, head south to Galena, IL. Here you can explore quaint shops, historic sites, and delicious eats. Nearby Galena, is Elizabeth, IL. Here you will find Elizabeth’s Grant Antique Company, a historic school building turned into three floors of antiques!
Once explorations in the Galena area are through, continue driving south towards Savanna, IL. Here you’ll find Mississippi Palisades State Park, Iron Horse Social Club, and Manny’s Pizza. This local favorite is known far and wide for their delicious pizza and tacos that are ordered self-serve style. You won’t want to miss this stop on the road trip!
From Savanna, cross over into Iowa. As you make your way west over the Mississippi, you’ll see Iowa’s only Island city - Sabula. Continue driving north and make a pit stop in Bellevue, Iowa. Stop by the Bellevue State Park, watch barge traffic at Lock and Dam 12, or enjoy a beer at River Ridge Brewing (recently voted the #1 patio in the Dubuque area.) This brewery is family-owned, located right on the river, and home to tasty craft beer and locally-sourced snacks. Hungry for a meal? Check out Flatted Fifth at Potter’s Mill.
Continue north towards Dubuque to end your day of adventures. Along the way, you’ll pass through St. Donatus, a tiny Luxembourg village that is home to Kalmes Restaurant & Catering, as well as Iowa’s oldest barn. As you wrap up the road trip, make a stop for apple cider donuts at Czipar’s Apple Orchard, pick pumpkins at Schuster’s Pumpkin Patch, or stop by Crystal Lake Cave, all three are located along the highway just south of Dubuque.