Find the Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial, a shrine, Tower Rock, and an historic 1897 truss bridge as you drive your way on the Southern River Road. Save time for the Tractor Museum. Refuel with a fantastic burger and a craft beer.

Courtesy of Perry County Heritage Tourism

DEEPLY ROOTED IN HISTORY, natural beauty, and culture, Perry County boasts nearly two hundred years of rich German heritage. Experience it for yourself—the food, the beer, the wine, and the history—on this river-road getaway. 

Your adventure begins in Perryville, off Interstate 55. Fill up on award-winning meats, delicious doughnuts, amazing barbecue, craft beers, and burgers extraordinaire. Before you head out, stop at Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial, the only exact replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Washington D.C. It’s a special place of healing, reflection, and honor dedicated to our military veterans. There is also the American Tractor Museum. Celebrate the evolution of the iconic machine and backbone of America that plowed, planted, and harvested the American dream with these rare and unique machines.

Courtesy of Perry County Heritage Tourism

From Perryville, ride north on the Great River Road to St. Mary. A turn southward will drop you down into the Bois Brule Bottom, where you will find a sea of lush green fields and flat roads winding their way through rural communities and century farms along the Mississippi River. The Seventy-Six Conservation Area features several sinkholes and springs and offers scenic vistas overlooking the river valley. Look to the east to catch a view of Tower Rock, a geological remnant of the Mississippi River’s shifting channel.

A loop through Apple Creek Conservation Area takes you through upland forests, cropland, and wetlands. Stop in Old Appleton to visit the historic 1879 truss bridge that crosses Apple Creek, the last iron bridge of its kind that is still in its original location. After the flood took out the original bridge in 1982, the community restored it in 2006. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge is open to pedestrian traffic and is a recreational spot for locals and visitors.

Courtesy of Perry County Heritage Tourism

Let the Great River Road carry you back to Perryville. Include a stop at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. A one-half mile walking trail called the Rosary Walk, features bronze and marble statues from Italy, stone bridges, a WWI grotto, flowers, and reflection areas.


1. Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial
2. Mary Jane Burgers & Brew/Jackson Street Eats
3. American Tractor Museum
4. Park-Et Restaurant
5. Seventy-Six Conservation Area
6. Hemman Winery, Brazeau
7. Saxon Lutheran Memorial, Frohna
8. River Access at Wittenberg
9. Tower Rock, Mississippi River
10. Saxony Hill Brewery, Altenburg
11. Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum, Altenburg
12. Apple Creek Conservation Area
13. Old Appleton Bridge, Old Appleton
14. National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Plan your trip at

Article originally published in Missouri Life’s Scenic Rides and Drive Guide 2023.