The "Mighty Mississippi" is the sturdy backbone and vigorous lifeblood of the region, forming the entire northern and western boundary of Rock Island County. Rich with activity and history, the Mississippi River is a magnet that draws business, industry, and tourism to surrounding communities. It has played a central role in the exploration and economic development of the land, and is the vital artery for bulk freight, carrying more than any other inland waterway in North America. The Mississippi Valley's rich alluvial soils have created one of the most fertile and productive agricultural areas in the world, particularly for corn and soybeans. Abundant in fish, the river is known especially for several varieties of catfish, some of which are harvested commercially. Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular along the river, where the Mississippi flows east to west one of the few times over its entire length.
The Mississippi River offers an extraordinary quality of life with a wide variety of recreational activities. Bike, rollerblade, jog or walk along the many miles of riverfront trails. Take a scenic cruise on its waves aboard the Channel Cat Water Taxi or Celebration Cruise Line. Visit, eat or shop at the many riverfront restaurants, shops and historical sites. Walking Along the River
Boating, skiing, fishing, camping and hunting are also popular water activities enjoyed on both the Mississippi and the Rock River, the region's second-largest waterway. Several marinas and boat ramps provide quick and convenient access to both rivers throughout the county.
What is a river without riverboats and gambling? Reminiscent of the days of Mark Twain, riverboats once again dock along America's most famous river and play a critical role in attracting residents and visitors. Riverboat gaming on the Rock Island riverfront has been instrumental in bringing life back to downtown Rock Island. It has stimulated development of the Arts and Entertainment District and a loft housing district.