At the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, experience life in a real river town - Grafton, Illinois. The early settlers of Grafton saw the potential of this plat of land at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. It was not long before this little river town became a center for riverboat traffic, and the riverfront was packed with manufacturing companies, mills wharfs, loading docks and riverboat traffic.
The once thriving riverboat industry in Grafton has become a thing of the past, but you can still see the towboats and barges pushing their way along the Mississippi. For 150 years, the "river rats" of Grafton have battled the swelling waters of the rivers with numerous floods. Lines on the sides of buildings along Main Street mark where the rising waters consumed the community during the flood of 1993.
The resilience of the town is evident in the bustling tourist community that Grafton has become. People from all over are welcome to celebrate the hometown flavor and down-to-earth qualities of this river town. Gift shops, antique stores, wineries, guest houses, "hot fish" sandwich stands and the famous Ruebel Hotel line the Main Street and riverfront.
If you are looking for outdoor recreation, look no further than Grafton. The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail runs through the heart of downtown with views of the river. Canoe, kayak, boat and bike rentals can all be found on the riverfront. Nearby, splash the summer heat away on the bluffs at Raging Rivers WaterPark. Unique festivals add to the flair of this river town. Plan to be in Grafton each June and celebrate life on the river at the Great Rivers Towboat Festival. Treasure hunters will not want to miss out on the Riverside Flea Market held in the Historic Boatworks the fourth weekend of the month from April through October.