Le Claire… Another Cool Town

Budget Travel continues to amaze readers by selecting small towns under 10,000 population and highlighting each one.  Le Claire is another Budget Travel Choice and for good reason. Being from Iowa myself, I found this one particularly attractive. I had a fraternity brother in college from Le Claire.  There is long history along the Mississippi River towns and along with the Buffalo Bill Museum, the city has much to offer senior visitors. There are only 3,800+ inhabitants in Le Claire and it is one of the fastest growing communities in the Quad Cities.

I grew up in eastern Iowa not all that far from the Mississippi River. I knew some river rats personally. That’s not much of a complement, but they themselves use the term.  When you cross the Mighty Miss into Iowa from Illinois on Interstate 80 you will pass by Le Claire just to the north on the Great River Road.  As one of the oldest, longest and most unique scenic byways in North America, the Great River Road offers respite to millions of senior travelers seeking a getaway – from a leisurely day’s drive to an extended vacation.

And there’s plenty of Great River Road to see. Through its charming river towns and metropolitan cities, historic sites and cultural artifacts, today’s Great River Road still links resources, people, and history. Nearly 3,000 miles long and running through 10 states along the Mississippi River, the Great River Road offers a gateway to the river valley’s great history, the blending of cultures and a host of recreational options to all senior travelers who journey it.

The O’l Mississippi Beacons Senior Travelers

Le Claire has always had a close relationship with the Mississippi River. In the 19th century, the town was home to the river pilots who navigated through the dangerous Upper Rapids. Nowadays, the pilots are commemorated by the Mississippi River Distilling Company, which crafts concoctions such as River Baron Artisan Spirit and Cody Road Bourbon, named for the city’s most famous native son, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody.

Senior visitors can best explore the waterway with an overnight cruise on the elegant Riverboat Twilight. While onboard, make sure to keep an eye out for the river’s most celebrated residents, bald eagles and white pelicans. The Mighty Mississippi even plays a starring role in the town’s coolest annual celebration: Tugfest, a cross-river tug-of-war with Port Byron, IL.

Small as it is, LeClaire seems to always have something going on all year long and plenty of antiques to look over.  Le Claire offers some of the best Bald Eagle Photography opportunities in the continental US from December to March each year at Lock and Dam 14 on the Mississippi River. You’ll enjoy your time in Le Claire.  jeb



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