La Crosse Queen Cruises

The La Crosse Queen has become a popular attraction in the La Crosse Area. It is a modern-day replica of the Grand River Boats that plied the Mississippi River in the late 19th Century. Offering a variety of cruise choices out of La Crosse, Wisconsin, she is one of the few authentic Mississippi River paddlewheel riverboats in operation in the United States today.

To honor early traditions, she is constructed with stern wheels that are the only means of propulsion. The La Crosse Queen features a split stern wheel, each driven by a twin diesel engine that powers the hydraulic motors, which turn the paddles of the stern wheels. What makes the La Crosse Queen special is that other Mississippi River paddlewheel boats have a “freewheeling” paddlewheel for a visual effect, but are propelled by traditional “screw” type engines.

History can be retold as passengers witness the paddlewheel hard at work through a large window on the first floor of the cabin and can also experience the power and sound from the second floor observation deck. The captain expertly navigates the 149 passenger riverboat on the mighty river, while the passengers relax and enjoy the narrative of the tour guide and the majestic beauty that surrounds them.

A special treat during a cruise is witnessing the operation of the “Swing Rail Bridge” that spans the Mississippi River between La Crescent, Minnesota and La Crosse, Wisconsin. The original bridge was one of the first 15 bridges across the Mississippi River. Designed and built in 1876 by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, the Swing Bridge operates daily to keep the river traffic flowing.

The cruise itself offers astonishing views of the Mississippi River Bluffs and the wildlife that calls the river their home. You will see turtles sunning themselves on the logs, long legged Blue Herons fishing along the riverbanks, and Eagles riding the wind and watching for prey in the water or on the sand bars.

Our Riverlorian will share the history of La Crosse from its beginnings as a fur-trading post to its present day reputation as a thriving River Town that serves as a hub for shopping, healthcare, technology, business services and education.

When you board the La Crosse Queen, our photographer takes photos of you that are available for purchase when you return. We have a nice collection of clothing, trinkets, and memorabilia for purchase in our Gift Shop.

Here is what some of our passengers have shared about our cruises:

“Relaxing tour on the Mississippi enjoying the fall colors. Interesting to see the swing bridge and
the homes.”

“My husband and I had planned a weekend getaway in the La Crosse area and the day before called to book a Saturday Dinner Cruise. This was one of the best decisions we made for the weekend! Be it be known, the weather was incredible " low 80’s and no humidity. Because we reserved so late, we were on the upper deck, but that was the best place to be " it was simply beautiful, comfortable and we could see the river so much better. The food was very good, the people we met at our table were wonderful and the live entertainment was great. The people serving were so nice and helpful the whole trip. Highly recommend this! The price was so reasonable for everything we ate, heard and saw.”

“The “Queen” left right on schedule and all seats presented a good view of the river and riverbank. I was most impressed by the young woman who narrated the tour. She was interesting, informed and at times humorous. She took two breaks during the 1.5 hour cruise which kept you from feeling “talked at” the entire time. We were fortunate to have lovely weather, but the lower (enclosed) deck appeared to have excellent views as well due to expansive windows. The tour was just the right amount of time to prevent one, such as I, from feeling restless. Can’t credit the company for providing the awesome views, but it was surely a great trip and worth the money.”
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