#RAGBRAI · Southeast Iowa · The Mud Belt-Traveling the Mississippi

Scouting RAGBRAI-2019: Keokuk KarboLoad-Part 2 of 2

Cloudy, sunshiny, hazy, foggy, humid or extremely awesome summertime weather, Keokuk is getting ready for your second river run on the route!

Keokuk, IA: Lee County

The Iowa Gallivant adventures in Keokuk go way back and we’re not about to ease up on them. So we were elated to see RAGBRAI-2019 call out this town’s name back in January on the good’ole polar vortex days. That was sarcasm. That last winter is all the reason why thousands more of us should enjoy every beautiful second of this warm front and Keokuk is just the overnight you need on, before, and beyond RAGBRAI!

Party-Up, Carb-Up, & Protein-Up


The next few places will have a lively bar along with great food and this includes Doctor Getwell’s Bar & Grill on Main Street! Made fresh in their own kitchen and breaded to order is their country fried steak. The last day of the route needs this classic stick-to-your-ribs meal and more pies to round out that ride and belly.


Ever party at an old telephone company? You can in Keokuk and eat a lot of pizza while you do it! Lucky’s Irish Pub & Grub is uniquely located in Iowa’s first telephone company and it’s just off Main Street by the historic Grand Theater. Kiss me….I’m in Keokuk! And I’m Irish!



IMG_2226 (1)

Rascals Pub & Grub has great variety of their menu and they are located on Main Street! From grilled chicken salad to cheese steak and, gyros, pizza and a lot more to go with another cold beverage or two. Or another round of sandwiches, too. Live it up!


The holy trinity when it comes to RAGBRAI… meat, carbs, and beer! Beef, Bread, And Brew has a rotating buffet menu and it won’t matter what day you stroll in, they have a great one ready with fresh and hot food. I know for a fact that many of you reading this could get down with a lineup like this!


When the tide is right, head to the banks of Keokuk and the Southside Boat Club! Great patio seating and very energetic bartenders waiting to keep your hands occupied with your favorite drinks. The night is always young here and this boat club knows how to turn it up to 11 when it comes to good times on the Mississippi!

Green Frog Distillery is a must see and sip if you love whiskey. Get to know these people early and often because they know what true Iowa corn whiskey should taste like. That’s a smooth take on overnight #8!



Remember that Annual Crazy Days talk in Part 1 of the Keokuk scouting mission? Here’s a reminder….Crazy Days are happening in Keokuk while you’re in town! Save some cash and room on your way home because you can get great deals on A LOT of shopping while you’re here so supply up and get some new kicks at Younggren Shoes!


Keokuk has plenty of options when it comes to taking advantage of your last minute shopping and deals galore while you’re getting ready from the trip home. Like those RAGBRAI shirts we’ve been wearing in this post? You can buy them at the local Hy-Vee, Unity Point Hospital, Chamber of Commerce office, and Visitors Center. Now, that’s a souvenir you shouldn’t leave Iowa without!

Rest-Up & Cool Down


Rand Park will be one of the most amazing public parks you will see anywhere on the Great River Road. High above the Mississippi River and overlooking one of the most beautiful scenes in the entire Midwest. Take a nap here and drift away into the afternoon.


Are you seeing the prices! If you need to cool down, then make it happen at the local movie theater and get your big screen action at Plaza Cinema! Ticket, popcorn, and drink all for $8.00!!!! And they have air conditioning!

*Our stay at the General Samuel Curtis House was complimentary. Our views in this blog post are of our own. Let’s get back to gallivanting!


Resting up is made easy when Richard West invites you into his AirBnB home. The historic General Samuel Curtis House is filled with charming, decorative, and, above all, comfortable rooms. Very soft sheets, quality mattresses and much of Richard’s artwork being displayed through the whole house. Located on High Street in one of the many historic neighborhoods throughout Keokuk. General Curtis was one of Lincoln’s most important generals and it is said that Honest Abe may have stayed here during his time in Iowa with his old friend Sam.

Come Back! 

We always say there should never be goodbyes during RAGBRAI. There’s plenty of reasons to make another trip back to Keokuk especially for you outdoorsy types.

IMG-3417IMG-3416IMG-3413IMG-3407IMG-3434IMG-3440 (1)

One of the best places to find Iowa’s state rock is right across the river in Hamilton, Illinois. Geode hunting is huge around here and Kirk at the Keokuk Area Visitors center is happy to cut open what you found in the creeks. Get after it, rock hounds!


I know the winters are cold, but Keokuk has some of the best Bald Eagle sites in Iowa. Our National Bird calls Southeast Iowa home during the frigid temps and the old bridge in Keokuk is the ideal place to observe them. So, pack your big coat and mittens and get that raptor instinct going and head back to Keokuk!

Be sure to like the Keokuk-RAGBRAI Facebook page and stay up to date with all the great things happen in overnight #8!
Like the RAGBRAI Facebook page to see all the info and news for this year’s route across Southern Iowa!
Another giant thank you to Shelley Oltmans and Kira Kruszynski of the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce for providing some great ideas to make our trip another memorable one to Southeast Iowa. And a big shout out to Kirk Brandenberger of the Keokuk Area Tourism Bureau for showing us around town and where to hunt for amazing geodes. There’s another teaser for part two!

Be sure to click here and see all the coverage we’ve written about on this year’s route!

Leave a Reply