|:: Capt John's America's Great Loop ::
|© 1993 - 2013 CaptainJohn.org
|"The Water World of America's Heartland"
( Why cruising the Great Loop is much-much more than just a great loop. )
|Cruising the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway - click next.
|cruising experience that welcomes all Loopers into America's
heartland, the locals will start noticing fewer summer vacation crowds,
as milder temperatures bring on the discounts.
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
From the Mississippi, to the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland
rivers, to Barkley and Kentucky Lake, you‘ll love it here.
|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-time voyage.
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 Mississippi.
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.
|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
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 entertainment.
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.
Visit nearby Lake Tellico, about 30 miles southwest of Knoxville. An extension of Fort Loudon Lake — the two are joined by a
canal — it establishes a navigational waterway up the Little Tennessee River and creates the potential for non-stop cruising.
Tellico Lake consists of 373 miles of shoreline and features a number of premier golf courses and resorts. You might even see
the newest of the new Sea Ray, Bayliner and MasterCraft models buzzing around, as the lake is home to manufacturing facilities
for these boat builders, among others.
|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!