After you’ve lived in St. Louis for 25 years, sometimes things get boring and old.

We always do the traditional tourist spots when we visit home. However, it’s nice to do day trips to explore places outside the St. Louis area.

One place we visited this past trip home was Grafton, Ill. Although we visited as kids; we hadn’t brought our own kids here. So grandma and grandpa decided a trip was necessary. Especially since there was a winery to explore as well.

Taking highway 141 to 370 to 94 to Grafton Ferry Road; getting there was a simple stress-free drive.

Yup, we surprised the kids with a ferry ride. My first one too. Of course right when we pulled up the ferry was taking off. But we found plenty of rocks to skip into the river while we waited for its return.

Tip: As a warning to other parents; there is no bathrooms or places for water while you wait. There are plenty of woods for other bathroom “options” though.

The view is beautiful and with the summer breeze; the weather wasn’t too bad (even though we were under a heat advisory). We got to watch barges, yachts and boats coast by.

Tip: Wait until the last minute to get back in your vehicle at the end. You can’t turn your engines on until the ferry gate is open. So you’ll be sitting in a hot car with cranky kids if you get in too quick.

Right after you exit the ferry there are a few places to eat on the water. This trip we stopped at the oyster bar right to the left.

Honestly, if you have kids I wouldn’t go. There isn’t a dedicated kids menu and the prices are extremely high with no lunch menu or half portions. They do have 12 beers on draft and the staff did a great job trying to accommodate our party of 11 as best as possible.

So bottom line: The service was great, menu selection not so great for kids. But view is priceless. It’s a great little place to splurge on a day trip.

A better option for a meal with kids in tow is The Loading Dock. Although we didn’t get to eat there; everyone I talked to who has been says it’s great for kids and pets.


After lunch, in 109 degree heat, we walked down Main Street and grabbed a cup of ice cream and slushees. It was a great way to finish off the trip before we boarded back onto the ferry and sailed across state lines.

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