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Grafton, Illinois

Updated on September 9, 2014

Mississippi River Town

Grafton is a wonderful small town along the Great River Road near the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. During the Great Flood of 1993 the town was nearly lost, but it has reinvented itself to become a thriving river town and a great place for a visit.

On a recent holiday weekend some friends and I took a drive from St. Louis, along the Great River Road and one of our stops was Grafton. I hadn't been there in years and was delighted to see all the shops, wineries and restaurants that doted the main street of the town.

At the Port of Grafton we were greeted with this delightful faux lighthouse. The lighthouse was dedicated in 2007 to symbolically mark the rise of Grafton after the Great Flood of 1993.

photo by mbgphoto

Grafton is a great place to spend an afternoon. Enjoy visiting the shops, tasting some new wines at one of the several wineries in town or enjoy a great crabcake sandwich while watching the boats leave the marina!

Big Kahuna - right on the riverfront


Relax in Quiet River Town

We enjoyed a delightful lunch at the Big Kahuna, which is located above the marina at the Port of Grafton. The food was good, the waitresses were friendly and on this beautiful September day we ate on the deck and had a wonderful view of the marina and the river.

When you go to Grafton this is a must stop. It is fun to sit on their deck and watch the barges and boats motor down the river. You will also see lots of birds. Fishing is also a popular sport from nearby decks.

Grafton Ferry


As we ate our lunch we enjoyed watching the ferry leave the Illinois side and head across the river to St. Charles county.

The Grafton ferry is located on the Illinois side at the foot of Illinois Route 3, just upriver of the Grafton public boat ramp. On the Missouri side, it terminates just off of Grafton Ferry Road alongside the St. Charles County Airport. From there it is a short ride to highway 94 and about 10 miles to the St. Charles city line.

I have taken the ferry on previous trips and it is always a fun ride...along with saving some time. The ferry trip takes about 10 minutes and the drive around to St. Charles county would take nearly an hour.

Driving directions

Grafton, IL 62037:
Grafton, IL 62037

get directions

More Grafton Activities

If you a e an adventurous type of person there are several activities that might interest you. The Raging Rivers Water Park is full of fun slides and all types of water activities or you might want to try the Zipline Adventure in Grafton.

For those of you who enjoy wine Grafton has several different wineries to try. Pick up a bottle of wine some cheese and enjoy a pleasant day in this river town.

There are several shops along the main street including the Fudge Store Country Corner and a wonderful little ice cream shop where we stopped to have a cone on our way out of town.

Just a couple of miles up the road from Grafton you will come to Pere Marquette State park. If you enjoy hiking this is a great place to visit. You can also drive up to the top of the park where there is a great lookout where you can see across the river. I enjoyed stopping at the lookout and photographing a large group of butterflies that were lighting on the wildflowers.

Have you ever been to Grafton? - stop by and leave me a note

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    • annieangel1 profile image


      5 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      I haven't but your photos always make me want to jump on a plane and get over to the US.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      5 years ago

      I don't, but I have to tell that I admire people of towns which had a calamity, and they have the tenacity to came back and make it better. It is a character strength which is rare. I hope we will do the same with south of NJ which was devastated by Sandy storm. Great lens, and example which speak by itself.

      Angel Dust in your way.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      No, but it looks like a beautiful place to visit! : )

    • KOrazem profile image

      Seeking Pearls 

      8 years ago from Pueblo West

      I haven't ~ but I love exploring with you. It looks like a lot of fun!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      One more thing about Grafton ... I'd add the Loading Dock to favorite stops there, great place to watch the boats and live music on weekends, flea markets monthly, too!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I was in Grafton in August, also love that sweet little town. I found it amazing that given the many times that town has been flooded out by the Mississippi, it not only continues to thrive but to actually GROW! Thumbs up and lensrolled. :-)

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      8 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Illinois is a beautiful state! I don't think I've been to Grafton. Actually, I haven't been to Illinois since 1971!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      no, never been there but it sure looks like a pleasant town to visit.

      Thanks for sharing your pictures.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It's never been my pleasure...maybe someday when I am in the area.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 

      8 years ago

      I've never been there but it looks like a charming little place to visit on a road trip - I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I head that way.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 

      8 years ago from Idaho

      I haven't but it sure sounds and looks like a great place to visit!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Grafton is one of my all-time favorite towns and you delivered a wonderful tribute here. Love the Big Kahuna and also The Loading Dock. The Great River Road is the closest thing St. Louis has to a BEACH, a wonderful drive along the bluffs and the Mississippi. Love your photos! 5*s!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      This sounds like a wonderful place to spend the day, or maybe a few relaxing days! Yeah, I could use a mini vacation. Thanks for the suggestion.


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