Top 11 Best Day Trips From Kansas

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If you’re looking for short road trips or fun day trips from Kansas City, there’s great spots all over. Whether you want to explore the outdoors, find mini ... read more...

  1. Excelsior Springs is about a half-hour drive from Kansas City and offers a wide range of cultural and tourist attractions related to its history as a 19th-century spa resort town, such as the historic Elms Hotel and the Art Deco-style Hall of Waters, built by the Works Progress Administration in 1936 and featuring a mineral water pool, hydrotherapy baths, and the world's longest water bar. Within the city's downtown district, there are a number of quaint shops and eclectic family-owned restaurants, and several local vineyards and breweries offer tastings and tours.

    The Excelsior Springs Golf Club is the host to several major annual golfing tournaments, including the Gregg Williams Tiger Golf Classic and the Hickory Stick Golf Tournament, and the Mineral Water Bowl brings NCAA Division II football teams to the area for an annual championship match. Other nearby attractions include Watkins Mill State Park and the Worlds of Fun amusement park.

    Google rating: 4.8/5.0

    Address: 201 E Broadway Ave, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024
    Phone: 816-637-2811
    Distance from Kansas City: 31 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 40 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Summer/Autumn

  2. Yes, wine lovers, the Somerset Wine Trail is your destination for this Kansas City day trip. Somerset Wine Trail is about a half-hour drive south of Overland Park and features four award-winning vineyards and wineries, including Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery. Each of the trail's four wineries—Somerset Ridge, NightHawk, and Middle Creek—offers tours and tastings to visitors all year, as well as bottles of dozens of wine varieties for sale.

    They take pride in producing handcrafted, premium wines from grapes grown in Kansas. Come in for a wine tasting or to purchase a glass or bottle of your favorite Somerset wine! Their award-winning wines can be purchased at the winery, Somerset Wine and Cider bar in Martin City, or at over 350 fine retail liquor stores and restaurants in the greater Kansas City area. Take a stroll through over 8,000 of their vines while sipping the wine made from those grapes. You can even assist in the harvesting of the grapes used to make your favorite wines! Every weekend, enjoy live music and the company of those you care about.

    Google rating: 4.7/5.0

    Address: 9001 W. 110th St. Suite 100, Overland Park, KS 66210
    Phone: 913-491-0123
    Distance from Kansas City: 45 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 45 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Summer
  3. When it comes to quick escapes from Kansas City, St. Joseph is the top destination for all museumgoers. St. Joseph, like many other places on the list, is located in Missouri and is home to three distinct museums. The Glore Psychiatric Museum depicts the evolution of mental illness treatment at the State Lunatic Asylum No. 2; the Jesse James Home Museum commemorates the legacy of the notorious famed outlaw; and The Pony Express National Historic Trail and Museum commemorates the fastest mail service in the Old West.

    St. Joseph also has a diverse collection of historic sites, including a large number of nineteenth-century structures on the National Register of Historic Places (perfect for those who enjoy Victorian-era architecture.) St. Joseph also has a lot to offer outdoor enthusiasts, with over 26 miles of parkway winding through the city and offering hiking and biking opportunities, as well as many open grassy spots to sit and relax.

    Google rating: 4.7/5.0

    Address: 911 Frederick Ave, St. Joseph, MO 64501
    Phone: 800-785-0360
    Distance from Kansas City: 55 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 60 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Autumn
  4. Atchison ranks first in the list of the best day trips from Kansas. Atchison County, founded in 1855, is a wonderful community of nearly 17,000 people that truly embodies the American innovative spirit. Atchison is proud to be the birthplace of world famous aviator Amelia Earhart, as well as a key part of their country's railroad infrastructure on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad. As a result, the town's main attractions are devoted to the female aviator, such as Amelia Earhart's Birthplace Museum, the Amelia Earhart Earthwork hillside portrait, and the annual Amelia Earhart Festival, which is held each July.

    Atchison, however, has more to offer than Earhart-themed attractions: Rail enthusiasts can visit the Atchison Rail Museum and take a ride on the Atchison and Western Miniature Railroad! While history buffs have numerous options, such as the Muchnic Art Gallery. If ghost hunting is your thing, Sallie House in Atchison is one of the most haunted houses in America. Do you dare to try?

    Google rating: 4.5/5.0

    Address: 200 S 10th St, Atchison, KS 66002
    Phone: 800-234-1854
    Distance from Kansas City: 51 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 60 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Summer
  5. Between 1855 and 1861, Lecompton served as Kansas' territorial capital. The town was known as the political birthplace of the American Civil War, as well as for its growing opposition to African-American slavery. Lecompton is now one of Kansas' most popular day trips. It was even named one of the state's best small towns by Kansas! magazine readers in 2016. Touring the town's three museums is the best way to learn about its history: the preserved Constitution Hall, a National Historic Landmark, and the Territorial Capital Museum, which displays Civil War-era artifacts.

    If you want to learn more about the town's complicated history, Lecompton hosts from January through March the “Bleeding Kansas Series”, a series of talks and dramatic interpretations on the violent and territorial civil war of Kansas and the nation. After exploring historic sites as part of the city’s walking tour, visitors can have lunch at the homestyle Aunt Netter’s Cafe.

    Google rating: 4.5/5.0

    Address: 640 E. Woodson, Lecompton, KS 66050
    Phone: 785-887-6148
    Distance from Kansas City: 48 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 50 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Winter
  6. Independence is Missouri's fifth-largest city and is known as the "Queen City of the Trails" because of its proximity to the famous Oregon, Santa Fe, and California Trails in the nineteenth century. Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, was born in Independence, Missouri, a small town near Kansas City. Aside from presidential attractions, Independence has its own unique charm that is well worth exploring.

    Naturally, there are numerous Truman-related attractions, including the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, Truman Home, Truman on Independence Square, and the Truman Depot. But there's more to it. You can travel back in time and learn about the early pioneers. Tours to former settlements, such as the Missouri Mormon Walking Trail and Visitor Center, are available. Oh, and don't miss the Vaile Mansion, a stunning three-story Gothic-style residence built in 1881 by Colonel and Mrs. Harvey Vaile that is regarded as one of the best examples of Second Empire-style architecture in the United States.

    Google rating: 4.5/5.0

    Address: 112 W Lexington, Independence, MO 64050
    Phone: 816-325-7890
    Distance from Kansas City: 14 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 25 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Summer
  7. Overland Park, Kansas, has a population of 193,412. Overland Park, only 12 miles south of Kansas City, is one of the best day trips from Kansas City. Overland Park provides residents with a dense suburban feel, and the majority of residents own their homes. There are numerous restaurants, coffee shops, and parks in Overland Park. Overland Park is home to many families and young professionals, and residents tend to be conservative. Overland Park's public schools are highly regarded.

    If you're a fan of architecture, go to the Museum at Prairie Fire, a visually stunning museum and entertainment complex. The American Royal Museum, the Johnson County Museum, and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art are also must-sees. If you're traveling with children, don't miss Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead, where you can get a glimpse of farm life; or explore nature at the Indian Creek Greenway and the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

    Google rating: 4.3/5.0
    Location: Johnson County, Kansas
    Phone: n/a
    Distance from Kansas City: 12 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 20 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Summer/Spring
  8. Another one of the Kansas City day trips that makes for a great getaway is in Missouri. Carthage, which was founded in 1842, had to be completely rebuilt after the American Civil War, giving the town its historic charm that draws history buffs from all over the country. Carthage now has over 600 historic buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Historic Carthage Square and the Jasper County Courthouse. Carthage is also known for having the first concrete sections of the state's interstate highway system, which were incorporated into the iconic Route 66 in 1926.

    Carthage has been dubbed "America's Maple Leaf City" because of its stunning autumn foliage. So, if you like landscape paintings, you know when to go. Along the way, notable attractions include the Carthage Civil War Museum, the 66 Drive-In Theater, and Kiddieland, the country's largest nonprofit children's amusement park. The Precious Moments Chapels, which feature gardens highlighting bronze statues of the collectible line's angels, are also located in the city.

    Google rating: 4.0/5.0
    Address: 212 Main Street, Carthage, MS 39051
    Phone: 601-267-8322
    Distance from Kansas City: 145 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 2 hours, 15 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Spring/Autumn
  9. Louisburg, Kansas, could be described as "small but mighty," as this small town has something for everyone despite its small size. It serves as the county seat for Franklin County. The town is about 29 miles northeast of Raleigh, the state capital, and about 31 miles south of the Virginia border. It is also the home of Louisburg College, the country's oldest two-year coeducational college.

    Louisburg was founded after the Civil War and played an important role in African-American racial justice and equality struggles throughout the twentieth century. Today, this small town has a plethora of family-friendly attractions, such as the Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory and Sanctuary, which is home to Siberian and Bengal tigers. There's also the Powell Observatory, which uses its massive public telescope to host public astronomical observation events. The town hosts the Louisburg Cider Mill, a fall festival with a pumpkin patch, corn maze, and street fair, every year. During the warmer months, visitors can spend the day at the aquatic center, which offers golf as well as swimming, or at the city lake, which has a scenic path to walk along.

    Google rating: 4.0/5.0

    Address: 215 S Broadway Street, Louisburg, KS 66053
    Phone: 913-837-5371
    Distance from Kansas City: 44 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 40 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Autumn
  10. Lawrence is the county seat of Douglas County, Kansas, and the state's sixth largest city. It runs between the Kansas and Wakarusa rivers in the state's northeast, crossing Interstate 70. Visitors can explore a variety of historical and cultural sites in Lawrence. The trendy college town is home to the University of Kansas and is well-known for its live music scene, which attracts international recording artists as well as up-and-coming bands to venues such as The Granada, The Bottleneck, and Replay Lounge.

    Cultural attractions on the university campus include the Watkins Museum of History, the Spencer Museum of Art, and the Indigenous-focused Haskell Cultural Center, while historic attractions include museums related to Senator Robert Dole and the city's basketball heritage. Families and outdoor enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that Lawrence offers a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and disc golfing. Clinton Lake, which is nearby, is also a popular camping spot.

    Google rating: 4.0/5.0

    Address: PO Box 526 Lawrence, Kansas 66044
    Phone: 785-856-5282
    Distance from Kansas City: 61 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 60 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Spring
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    Weston, Missouri, has been named by national and regional publications such as AAA Midwest Traveler, Ingram's, and The Pitch as one of the top regional day trips and overnight destinations. If you go, you'll know you're in for a treat. Weston, about 30 minutes from downtown Kansas City, is well-known for its historic farms, creameries, wineries, and breweries. Green Dirt Farm is probably the most well-known of these entertainment options. This small local business sells high-quality items like grass-fed lamb and sheep's milk cheese.

    A tour of Holladay Distillery, the oldest distillery west of the Mississippi River on its original site, is another must-do in Weston. Inside, you can learn how distillers use limestone spring water to make vodka and bourbon, as well as the aging process. If you enjoy Irish pubs (and who doesn't? ), stop by O'Malley's 1842 Pub, an Irish pub with live music and a lot of Celtic heritage.

    Google rating: n/a

    Address: 526 Main Street, Weston, MO 64098
    Phone: 816-640-2909
    Distance from Kansas City: 33 miles
    Travel Time from Kansas City: 40 minutes
    Best Season to Visit: Spring/Summer

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