Buddy Holly Crash Site Directions in Clear Lake, Iowa

Are you looking for Buddy Holly Crash Site Directions? Located at 22728 Gull Avenue Clear Lake, Iowa, off a gravel road and in the middle of corn fields, you’ll find the Buddy Holly Crash Site, a memorial that marks the spot where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959.

Buddy Holly Crash Site in Clear Lake, Iowa

Buddy Holly Crash Site Directions from Clear Lake, Iowa

I decided to check out this memorial after a recent trip with the North Iowa Bloggers to Chicago. Once our plane landed safely at the Mason City Airport, the same airport that Ritchie Valens’ plane took off from, I googled up the address and drove the 15 minutes to the shrine.

The Buddy Holly Crash Site Address

22728 Gull Avenue in Clear Lake, Iowa

But you’ll need more than the address to find the spot so keep reading for insider info on finding the post where the ill fated plan went down in 1959.

To get to the Buddy Holly Crash Site from Clear Lake, Iowa, you have two choices. You can hop on I-35 and head north, or you can head north on North 8th Street (which turns into Grouse Avenue). If you take I-35, exit on 300th street and head West, then turn North on Grouse Ave.

Buddy Holly Crash Site, Clear Lake Iowa

You’re looking for 310th Street off Grouse, a gravel road that jogs to the right. Turn on 310th Street, then turn North on Gull Avenue. Now start looking for the glasses that will be on the left side of the road. They’re easy to miss, as they aren’t that big!

I knew to look for these glasses – which you’d think would have been pretty obvious, yet I still missed the spot and had to turn around. When I saw the pictures of the glasses on the internet I thought they were much bigger and taller than they actually are.

Side of the road at the Buddy Holly Crash Site
Park your car on the side of the road and get out by the glasses. Now you start walking through the fields! The only reason I started walking was because Sara from Travel with Sara told me I’d have to walk quite a ways down the field to see the actual memorial site. Nothing near the glasses indicated I needed to walk or even where I was. I texted my husband a picture of my car on the side of the gravel road and joked with them that I was at the Buddy Holly Crash Site in case I didn’t return. It was a bit of a hike down a worn path to get to the actual crash site and memorial and a couple times before I got to the shrine, I thought about turning around!

Buddy Holly Crash Site Shrine

This is what I found at the memorial: guitar picks, quarters, a cigarette, and a small shrine honoring the three musicians who lost their lives that cold, fateful day in February. According to a very interesting article by Katherine Rodeghier in the free 2016 Official Clear Lake Visitor’s Guide (which you can request here), Buddy Holly chartered the plane to take him and his band mates Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup to Fargo after the heat went out on their tour bus. Ritchie Valens won a coin toss with Tommy Allsup and took his seat. JP Richardson apparently had the flu, so Jennings gave him his seat. Apparently Holly and Jennings joked with each other, Holly hoping the bus would freeze up and Jennings hoping the plan would crash, a comment he said haunted him badly.

I honestly never heard the song American Pie by Don McLean until I went to college. Or if I did, I sure don’t remember. But I have vivid memories of dancing to American Pie at the college parties I frequented with my friends and this song was always a staple. After visiting the crash site shrine, I listen to this song with a different mindset. Next time you got to Clear Lake, Iowa, you’ll want to head out there too. It’s a surreal experience for sure.

Clear Lake Iowa from the air

For more things to do in Clear Lake, Iowa head over to these awesome posts!

Also, request your free visitor’s guide here!

Sea Wall Clear Lake

Summertime Fun Kicks off in Clear Lake, Iowa by Sara at Travel with Sara

Clear Lake

Clear Lake, Iowa – Your Summer Destination by Joy at livinglifejoyfully

inked and educated mom

Clear Lake, Iowa – A Destination for Modern Day Hippies by Shari at Inked & Educated Mom

Have you been to Clear Lake or the Buddy Holly Crash Site? I’d love to hear. And many  thanks to the Clear Lake, Iowa Area Chamber of Commerce for organizing our trip to Chicago.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience! We walk a fine line between making the memorial accessible and not exploitative. Your post will be helpful to those who wish to visit the memorial! The photo with your vehicle helps show the scale of the glasses trail-marker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please see my Cookie Privacy Policy