The "Quad Cities" is the name applied collectively to Moline and Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa. It is here where the Rock River flows into the Mississippi River, and where visitors feel like they can actually feel through the bottoms of their shoes the strong, steady beat of America's Heartland.
The Quad Cities boast a fascinating history and surprising diversity of family friendly activities, along with a collection of golf courses that could be argued to be some of the most accessible, affordable and enjoyable in the nation.
Here are the Top 10 reasons why a Midwestern staycation in the Quad Cities might just be your best option for some summer family fun.
10. Gambling: Three casinos -- Jumer's Casino and Hotel, Isle Casino Hotel and Conference Center, River City Casino -- and Trackside Quad Cities Downs await you and your hard-earned (but hopefully expendable) income.
9. Exotic animals and American history: The Niabi Zoo, in Coal City, Ill., is home to more than 400 animal species. With an intimate feel, it is perfect for families with small children. In LeClair, Iowa, there's a museum devoted to riverboat pilots and one focusing on Buffalo Bill Cody. Herbert Hoover's birth house is also near by.
8. Fishing: Naturally, the Rock River and Mississippi River are excellent options for dropping a line. Serious anglers should also be sure to test the waters in the newly formed Lost Grove Lake, which is a three-mile-long, no-wake fisherman's paradise, stocked with everything from bluegills to muskies.
7. John Deere Pavilion: Admire the ingenuity of century-old farm implements, and then marvel at the enormity of modern-day tractors and combines. Grab your kids and climb up into the cab of one of these behemoths -- none of you will soon forget it!
6. Science museums: The Family Museum in Bettendorf is ideal for kids and parents alike, and it features an interactive, 28-foot model of part of the Mississippi River and a workshop for visitors to create their own unique inventions. The Putnam Museum makes sophisticated science and technology accessible to all and features a giant, digital, 3D movie theater specially designed to play National Geographic films.
5. Modern Woodmen Minor League Baseball: If you've never been to a minor league baseball game, you cannot call yourself a baseball fan. Modern Woodmen Park was named the Best Minor League Park in America in 2013 and now features a 30-foot carousel, rock-climbing wall and bounce house, in case the game goes to extra innings.
4. Figge Art Museum: The Figge is a 100,000-square-foot museum of modern art, with nine permanent collections, traveling collections, and an art studio for children and adults.
3. Fyre Lake Golf Club: Plenty of golf courses dot the landscape surrounding the Quad Cities already, but a brand new Jack Nicklaus-designed track is always an exciting addition. The 6,600-yard Fyre Lake Golf Club is woven through rolling hills and wetlands, incorporating stunning elevation changes and a memorable island hole.
2. TPC at Deere Run: Do you want to play golf where the PGA Tour pros tee it up each year? The TPC at Deere Run is the most affordable Tour venue course in America -- and it's a blast to play. Overlooking the Rock River, the course flows through woods and valleys until you arrive at the 18th green, where you can imagine the Sunday afternoon crowd roaring for you as you lock up your first PGA Tour title.
1. Affordable, accessible, enjoyable public golf: The previous two courses might threaten to monopolize golf conversations in the Quad Cities, but there are enough quality courses in the area to fill a weeklong golf trip without even trying hard.
Emeis Golf Course, Byron Hills Golf Course, Palmer Hills Golf Course, Glynns Creek Golf Course, Highland Springs Golf Course and Rock Island Arsenal Golf Course are all worthwhile options. Rock Island Arsenal, which was built on Arsenal Island in 1897, is one of the oldest courses in the state.