Mississippi River Fun Facts

The Mississippi River is full of intriguing history and fascinating scenery from end-to-end. Touching ten states from its beginning in Minnesota to its end in Louisiana, it touches a wide variety of cultures and heritages, but also has many impressive characteristics that are as unique as the communities through which it flows. It’s one of our most popular sailings with UK guests of American Queen Voyages, so let’s take a look at some Mississippi River fun facts…

  • The word Mississippi comes from Messipi, the French rendering of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name for the river, Misi-ziibi (Great River).
  • The Mississippi River water source is fed by Lake Itasca in Northern Minnesota and flows all the way down into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The Mississippi River is best divided into three sections: the Upper Mississippi, from its headwaters at Lake Itasca to the confluence with the Missouri River; the Middle Mississippi, downriver from the Missouri to the Ohio River; and the Lower Mississippi, flowing from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The Mississippi River either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
  • The Mississippi River is the third longest river in North America and flows 2,340 miles from beginning to end.
  • It takes 90 days for a single drop of water to travel the Mississippi River’s entire length.
  • From its source, Lake Itasca, to its end, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River drops 1,475 feet.
  • The deepest point on the Mississippi River is located near Algiers Point in New Orleans and is 200 feet in depth.
  • The Mississippi River is home to 360 species of fish, 326 species of birds, 145 species of amphibians and 50 species of mammals.

Mississippi River Top 10 Facts

  1. How did the Mississippi River get its name?
    The word Mississippi comes from Messipi, the French rendering of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name for the river, Misi-ziibi (Great River).
  2. Where does the Mississippi River begin?
    The Mississippi River water source is fed by Lake Itasca in Northern Minnesota and flows all the way down into the Gulf of Mexico.
  3. What are the Mississippi River regions?
    The Mississippi River is best divided into three sections: The first is the Upper Mississippi, from its headwaters at Lake Itasca to the confluence with the Missouri River – cities that border this region include: Minneapolis, MN and Dubuque, IAThe Middle Mississippi flows downriver from the Missouri to the Ohio River, and passes by the Gateway Arch in Louis.
    And the Lower Mississippi begins at the Ohio River mark and stretches to the Gulf of Mexico.
  4. What states does the Mississippi River touch?
    The Mississippi River either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.
  5. How does the Mississippi River rank with others in the world?
    The Mississippi River is the third longest river in North America and flows 2,340 miles from beginning to end.
  6. What is the depth of the Mississippi River?
    The depth of the Mississippi River varies depending on which point you find yourself at. The deepest point on the Mississippi River is located near Algiers Point in New Orleans and is 200 feet in depth. So next time you wonder “how deep is the Mississippi River” now you know!
  7. What kind of animals live in the Mississippi River?
    The Mississippi River is home to 360 species of fish, 326 species of birds, 145 species of amphibians and 50 species of mammals.
  8. How fast does the Mississippi River flow?
    A raindrop deposited at the headwaters of the Mississippi River would take almost 82 days to meet the Gulf of Mexico at the river’s average speed of 1.2 miles per hour. That is, of course, without stops for sightseeing.
  9. How wide is the Mississippi River?
    At its skinniest point, the river is between 20 and 30 feet wide, but at its largest, the Mississippi River is more than 11 miles wide! The widest area of the shipping channel is Lake Pepin which is a couple miles long in itself.
  10. How long is the Mississippi River?
    The Mississippi River is approximately 2,381 miles long. It is the second longest river in all of North America!

 

The Mississippi River Aboard American Queen

If you’re interested in experiencing the wonder of a Mississippi River cruise, join us for a voyage on the American Queen. Christened in Memphis in 2012 by Godmother Priscilla Presley with a bottle of champagne, the American Queen is the largest steamboat ever built. She is a gracious and elegant triumph of American ingenuity and although filled with today’s modern amenities, her rooms and accommodations display all the opulence of the American Victorian era. In short, she’s one-of-a-kind and all her river cruises are on a all-inclusive basis.

lower mississippi sailings with american queen

The Mississippi River

The Mississippi River has stories to share – a legacy that flows from its headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico in New Orleans. On our Mississippi river cruises, you’ll watch landscapes, cultures and even language transform – each new experience equally as rare and beautiful as the last.

Word of our passage spreads through the towns that await, and local residents rush to one of the many locks we traverse to wave hello and greet us along the way. Much like Mark Twain would have experienced on his many trips along the river, you’ll be captivated by the people you meet, cultures you discover and bounty that awaits.

A new chapter awaits around each river bend.

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