It’s the weekend, Kansas! Do you know what you’ll be doing? If you answered no, make plans to take one of these unique (and inexpensive) day trips around the state. If you do have plans, break them so you can hit the road and enjoy your time off to the fullest:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Route 66
If you are planning to motor west, you may as well just take the highway that's the best! Get your kicks on Route 66 by stopping off for lunch and shopping in the historic towns of Galena, Baxter Springs, and Riverton.
2. Fort Scott
Fort Scott is the epitome of Charming Small Town, U.S.A. with its lovely architecture, roaming trolley, and area museums that explain the historical significance of this wonderful town. (Are you seeing these colorful buildings? I die!)
3. Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway
Are you looking to reap all the benefits of a road trip without even leaving the comfort of your air-conditioned car? Just hop on the 77-mile Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway, which connects drivers with views of some of the most beautiful wetlands and native animals in the state.
Who loves a good museum? Hutchinson is home to SEVERAL, including the impressive Cosmosphere and Strataca. (Not to mention, they are also home to some killer burger and BBQ joints...)
Speaking of museums, Abilene is home to some of the best in the nation (including the wonderful Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and Museum). Did you also know that Abilene is home to the nostalgic Abilene & Smoky Valley Excursion Train, which takes its passengers on a 10-mile trip through the Smoky River Hill Valley?
Tour the birthplace of Kansas's favorite girl (no, not Dorothy... we're talking about Amelia!), discover a haunt or two, and shop around the quaint downtown area of this northeast Kansas treasure.
...however, if you do prefer Dorothy over Amelia, you may want to make a trip to the memorable Oz Museum, Toto's Tacoz, and Oz Winery in lovely Wamego.
There is so much more to love about my favorite college town (favorite because that's where I went to school!) than just Fort Hays State University! In fact, there is a brick-paved downtown area (complete with fabulous microbrewery), impressive Sternberg Museum of Natural History, inexpensive yet fun Larks Baseball games, and so much more.
Do you want to leave the country without ever stepping foot outside of Kansas? It is possible when you visit Lindsborg; the Little Sweden U.S.A. that will välkommen you with authentic Swedish cuisine, unique shopping, and a different cultural surprise at every turn (like these traditional painted Dala Horses).
10. Council Grove
Experience the Flint Hills life in historic Council Grove, which was at one time the final stop along the southwest-bound Santa Fe Trail. (A fact in which the town prides itself on with a number of beautiful monuments, historic buildings, and one-of-a-kind festivals. While you're in the area, make plans to also swing by...
11. Cottonwood Falls
...the equally historic (and lovely) Cottonwood Falls, which is also home to several nature hikes and waterfalls. (For all you railroad buffs out there: Cottonwood Falls once served as an important stop along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe.)
The town of Lucas maybe small with a population of less than 400, but it may also be the most colorful town in Kansas because of its numerous grassroots art exhibits, including the Garden of Eden, World's Largest Collection of Smallest Versions of Largest Things, and actual Grassroots Art Center.