The Illinois & Mississippi River Confluence | Quimby's Cruising Guide

Looking for a great spot to stop for a few days on the Great Loop? Look no farther than the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. This area makes for a perfect layover point between the two waterways — hosting two world-class marinas, outdoor recreation, wineries, boutiques and local fare.

Whether you are headed upstream or downstream, an overnight stay at both the Alton Marina and Grafton Harbor Marina are worth every foot of the slip fee.

Grafton Harbor

Located a mile marker 0 of the Illinois River, Grafton Harbor is situated directly at the confluence of the Mississippi & Illinois Rivers. The marina has been a mainstay in the quaint town of Grafton, Ill. for over 30 years. As they are well connected to the other local businesses, they provide excellent hospitality and concierge services for extending your stay beyond the slip. The floating marina has an on-site pool, winery tastings, a fully stocked ship store and a one-of-a-kind oyster bar on the second level.

Grafton Harbor Marina, Photo:

Venturing into town allows for you to access land based recreation, such as the Aerie’s Zipline Tour, bike rentals along the great river road, camping options at nearby Pere Marquette State Park and a recently opened sky tour that makes a steep cable car climb into the bluffs for scenic views of the entire confluence.

Grafton Zipline, Photo:

Mississippi River Bluffs

And, if you are looking for a small day trip by boat, the nearby Pool 26 offers some of the best recreational boating in the area, with a calm stretch ideal for tubing and water skiing.  Furthermore, if you are missing a bit of the Caribbean vibe, Mike’s LaRosa Cabana Bar at Longshot Marina — across the river on the Missouri side — offers riverside concerts and outdoor dining under a cabana type setting.  The bar and restaurant are accessible through their courtesy dock.

Transient slip fees are offered on daily and monthly basis at $1.30 per foot

Navigation notes: Illinois River | 0.0 LDB

The Alton Marina

Located a bit farther south than Grafton Harbor on the Mississippi River, the five star Alton Marina sits on the edge of town in Alton, Ill. — just beyond the Clark Bridge that crosses over into Missouri. The marina offers a fully stocked ship store, cab service, an on-site pool, showers and laundry. Once home to one of the busiest ports in America, Alton provides a historic setting with a collection of old time ice cream shops and re-imagined eateries in what were once offices that housed merchant companies during the peak of steamboat traffic on the Mississippi.

The Alton Marina and The Clark Bridge Photo: Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau

A trip through town is easily accessible through the river road bike path and offers a plethora of dining and drinking options, including fine dining at Gentelin’s on Broadway, hot chicken and cheap beer at the legendary Fast Eddie’s Bon Air Pub & Grill, or one-of-a-kind brews and burgers at The Old Bakery Brewery.  And, if you are looking for a bit more of a town tour experience, Alton is said to be home to some of the most haunted historic mansions in the country.  Tours are offered year round but tend to be best during the Fall.

Old Bakery Beer Co., Photo:

Old Bakery Beer Co., Photo:

Transient slip fees are offered on daily and monthly basis at $1.30 per foot

Navigation notes: Mississippi River | 202.9 LDB

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