The Best Time to Cruise the Mississippi River
The best time to cruise the Mississippi River is during the months of spring (March, April, May) or fall (September, October, November) to avoid the extreme hot and cold temperatures in summer and winter. The Mississippi is so long that giving overall advice can be difficult, as the temperatures in Minnesota are much colder than those in Louisiana on the same day. Additionally, there is a higher chance of flooding in the spring and a potential need to reroute or reschedule.
The Upper Mississippi refers to the portion of the river upstream/roughly north of St. Louis, Missouri. In this region, the summer heat is not as intense as further south, while early spring and late fall bring cooler temperatures. Winter is most definitely not advised, since the temperatures will reach extreme lows and there may be snow. Autumn tends to be a travelers' favorite, not only because of the great temperatures and low likelihood of rain, but also for the beautiful colors that paint the shores and bluffs of the Mississippi. If you are hoping to take a family vacation during summer when the kids are on a break from school, the upper Mississippi is a better option than the lower, since the temperatures will not be as extreme as in the south.
The Lower Mississippi refers to the portion downstream/roughly south of the confluence of the Ohio River and Upper Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois. While cruising this part of the river, you can expect higher temperatures, so winter and even a holiday cruise are popular times to visit. Summertime is only for those who love the heat, since the temperatures will linger over 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day with high humidity. Spring and fall both provide more enjoyable temperatures and offer different scenery. The spring provides new life and flowers blooming across the fields as they get ready for summer, and during autumn, the leaves will begin to fall and change to beautiful colors.