Visitors come from near and far to take a relaxing 20-mile drive on The Great River Road extending from Alton on Hwy 100 to Grafton and beyond to the State of Illinois' largest state park, Pere Marquette State Park, just six miles past down town Grafton. The view can definitely be breathtaking, and the quiet drive just may lower your blood pressure.
The fall is also a time when the sun sets further to the south resulting in incredible sunsets that reflect off the mirror-like surface of the IL and MS rivers. The colors are absolutely amazing and are best enjoyed when you sit on one of Grafton's many outside decks sipping a glass of your favorite wine with someone special. Later you can warm-up next to one of the many nice blazing fire pits around town.
Sunsets aren't the only amazing thing you'll see as the fall season also marks the arrival of White Pelicans that migrate from the north to winter in and around the Grafton area. You'll see dozens to hundreds of these large birds with up to 9-foot wing spans flying in a well-choreographed formation before they land to swim in flocks as they fish in the rivers for their next meal.
The Bald Eagles arrive, usually from December to
March. As winter sets in to our north, the rivers freeze
over making it impossible for the eagles to catch fish
in the frozen rivers and lakes. The year-round barge
traffic that ply the rivers in our area help to keep the
ice broken up so that the eagles and white pelicans
have a constant food source. Be sure to watch the large
chunks of ice that flow downstream as the eagles often
like to go for a free ride. Hint: the eagles like to sit in
trees on the mid-river islands or along the bluffs, so they
are close to their prey and can be identified by their white
heads and tails. Be sure to bring your binoculars and
maybe a camera.
No matter the season there is always something fun to see and do in Grafton. Be sure to check our Events page above. To stay well informed about what's happening in Grafton sign up for the free weekly email of events, bands and fun located on the home page. We hope to see you soon.