There are actually two cities named Kansas City – one in Kansas and one in Missouri, and they are located across the Missouri River from each other. If you are planning to get out of town for a day. These 15 best day trips from Kansas City are perfect for your next short trip with family or friends.
When you are ready to explore, here are the 15 best day trips from Kansas City.
1. Overland Park
At only around 10 miles south, Overland Park is one of the easiest and best day trips from Kansas City. It’s the second largest city in Kansas, and offers a wealth of cultural and outdoor activities and attractions.
Don’t miss the Museum at Prairiefire, an architecturally stunning museum and entertainment complex. Other top-rated museums include the American Royal Museum, the Johnson County Museum and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
Experience farm life at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, or nature and natural beauty at the Indian Creek Greenway and the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. To shop until you drop, browse the shops at the Oak Park Mall.
2. Fleming Park
Located only around 25 miles southeast, Fleming Park is one of the best day trips from Kansas City for families to enjoy some history and the great outdoors. This large park is home to two wonderful lakes, Blue Springs Lake and Lake Jacomo.
Hiking and nature trails are also available. You can get up close with bison, elk and deer at the Native Hoofed Animals Enclosure.
At Missouri Town 1855, experience living history in a recreated 1850s farming village. Spanning 30 acres, there are more than 25 restored and relocated historic buildings from seven Missouri counties, costumed interpreters and a variety of reenactments and demonstrations.
3. Wichita, Kansas
Located around 195 miles southwest of Kansas City, Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, with plenty for visitors to see and do which makes it one of the must day trips from kansas city. The Q Line Trolley offers a great and free way to see the city. Don’t miss the Old Cowtown Museum, which recreates Wichita in the late 1800s. \
At the Mid American All-Indian Center, you learn about life for the Plains Indians. Other highlights include the Sedgwick County Zoo, Botanica Wichita, Wichita Art Museum, Museum of World Treasures and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen House.
Pay a visit to the Keeper of the Plains and enjoy the views along the Little and Big Arkansas rivers, which winds its way through the city. At the Old Town Wichita entertainment district, you can find plenty of shops, galleries, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.
4. Atchison, Kansas
Located around 50 miles northwest of Kansas City, the town of Atchison is associated with Amelia Earhart. Learn more about the famous female pilot with a visit to the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum and the Atchison County Historical Society Museum.
At the Atchison Rail Museum, you can explore numerous rail cars, and even take a ride on a miniature railroad on weekends over the summer. Other interesting attractions include the Muchnic Art Gallery and the Evah C. Cray Historical Home Museum.
Over the summer, a sightseeing trolley takes visitors around to all the top sites in town. There are also plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors at Atchison.
5. Excelsior Springs, Missouri
At only 30 miles northeast, Excelsiors Springs is one of the best road trips from Kansas City if you’re looking for relaxation with a dose of history. A spa resort town in the 19th century, Excelsior Springs was known for its healing mineral waters.
Those springs are now dry, but you can learn all about the history at the Art-Deco Hall of Waters, also the town’s visitors center. Most people visit Excelsior Springs for the historic Elms Hotel, which has welcomed distinguished guests such as Al Capone and President Truman.
Today you can get a range of spa and therapeutic treatments. Enjoy a sightseeing trolley ride in season. Several local wineries and breweries offer tastings, and there are a variety of unique shops and restaurants.
The town also has plentiful outdoor space, a golf course, and hosts numerous festivals throughout the year.
6. Lindsborg, Kansas
Get a taste of Swedish culture at Lindsborg. Located around 195 miles west of Kansas City, Lindsborg is known as “Little Sweden USA.” Learn more at the McPherson County Old Mill Museum, which includes several historic buildings on display.
Around town, there are plenty of places to sample Swedish cuisine and to view Swedish art. Don’t miss the brightly-colored Wild Dala Houses around town – these traditionally carved and painted wooden horses are great for photos.
Lindsborg is also home to the historic Coronado Heights Castle, marking the site where the conquistador ended his search for the fabled cities of gold.
7. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
Enjoy a day on the lake and more at Lake of the Ozarks, located around 150 from Kansas City. There are all sorts of water activities on and in the lake. For more exciting and family-friendly thrills, there are several waterparks and arcades in the area. We suggest taking this day trip from Kansas with your family, take your kids to the lake for fun time.
There are also more than 30 miles of hiking trails around the lake, some of which offer stunning panoramic views of the lake. At Ha Ha Tonka State Park, you can even explore the ruins of a castle.
There are several impressive caves you can explore, including Bridal Cave and Stark Caverns. And for those that want to relax, there are many resorts as well as waterfront restaurants and bars around the lake where you can soak up the holiday vibe.
8. Topeka, Kansas
Located around 65 miles west of Kansas City, Topeka is the capital city of Kansas. Take a ride on a historic carousel and mini-train in Gage Park. Learn about life on the prairie at Old Prairie Town. Admire art and architecture at the beautiful Kansas Statehouse.
Art lovers will have plenty to discover at the North Topeka Arts District or at the Mulvane Art Museum. Visit a key civil rights site at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. See the world’s largest collection of Evel Knievel memorabilia at the Evel Knievel Museum.
Kids will enjoy exploring and learning at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center. Topeka is a great place to look for antiques. Or catch a live theater performance at the Topeka Civic Theatre, the oldest continually operating dinner theater in the country.
9. Weston, Kansas
You can taste a whole range of flavors at Weston, located only 30 miles from Kansas City. You can find the Green Dirt Farm and the Green Dirt Creamery in Weston, and you can tour the dairy farm in addition to tasting their award winning cheeses and home-made ice cream.
For more adult flavors, sample wines at Pirtle Winery, beer at Weston Brewing Company or spirits at the Holiday Distillery, the oldest distillery west of the Mississippi River. Visit the Weston Historical Museum to learn more about the region.
Tours of historic homes are also available. Enjoy the outdoors at Weston Bend State Park and see the view that Lewis and Clark had during their expedition.
10. Omaha, Nebraska
Located around 185 miles northwest of Kansas City, Omaha is a vibrant city with lots to see and do. You can spend all day at the Old Market area in Downtown. The historic area is full of shops, galleries and restaurants.
It’s also home to the Durham Museum, the Omaha Children’s Museum and the Joslyn Art Center. Other artwork can be found at El Museo Latino and Pioneer Courage Parks. See where Lewis and Clark landed in 1804.
At the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, you can explore a desert dome and underground caves in addition to seeing wildlife up close, while the Luritzen Gardens offer more than 100 acres of beautiful flowers and landscaping.
The Joslyn Art Center features indoor and outdoor galleries, including the kid-friendly Discovery Garden. To see top Omaha highlights in a few hours, opt for a guided tour. Omaha is also home to three casinos where visitors can try their luck.
11. Wamego, Kansas
Located around 105 miles west of Kansas City, Wamego is a charming small town with lots to offer visitors. The top attraction here is the Oz Museum, home to the largest private collection of “The Wizard of Oz” memorabilia in the world.
Be sure to sample some wine inspired by the movie at the Oz Winery. Other attractions here include the historic Schonhoff Dutch Mill, the Wamego Historical Museum , Prairie Village and one of the top rated golf courses in Kansas.
At the Lazy Heart D Ranch, you can take a wagon tour and get up close to bison. Or visit parts of the historic Oregon Trail, where you can still see wagon ruts from that time.
12. Lawrence, Kansas
Located only 35 miles west of Kansas City, Lawrence is a cute college town, with historic, cultural and outdoor activities and attractions as well. Home to the University of Kansas, you can catch a basketball or football game in season.
Noteworthy attractions on campus include the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, Spencer Art Museum and the KU Natural History Museum. Along the historic Massachusetts Street, you can find cute boutiques, shops, galleries, restaurants and bars.
Enjoy the outdoors at Clinton State Park and Clinton Lake, or nature and wildlife at the Baker Wetlands and the Prairie Park Nature Center. See fields of lavender at Washington Creek Lavender or sunflowers at Grinter Sunflower Farms.
13. Emporia, Kansas
Head to Emporia, around 105 miles southwest of Kansas City, and the surrounding areas to see the tall grass prairie that is associated with Kansas. Drive along the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway or visit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
At the Downtown Emporia Historic District, you can find plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Explore Emporia’s growing art scene at the Explore Arts Center or go on a mural tour around town.
For a bit of history, check out the Howe House & Welsh Farmstead or the Red Rocks State Historic Site. Spend some time with the animals at the David Taylor Zoo of Emporia.
Before wrapping up your day, visit the All Veterans Memorial to pay your respects.
14. Louisburg, Kansas
Located around 40 miles south of Kansas City, Louisburg makes for a charming day trip. Immerse yourself in all things apple cider at the Louisburg Cider Mill. Get up close and learn more about big cats at the Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory.
At the Powell Observatory, visitors can learn about and view the stars through telescopes. To learn about the area’s history and culture at the Museum at Prairiefire and the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site.
Enjoy the outdoors at Heritage Park and Black Bob Park. To indulge in some retail therapy, head to Rutlader Outpost.
15. Paola, Kansas
Located around 45 miles southwest of Kansas City, Paola is a charming small town with a long history. Start off at the historic Paola Park Square. The Miami County Historical Museum and the Courthouse are both nearby.
The square is also surrounded by cute shops and restaurants on all sides. Explore the grounds of the Ursuline Convent and Academy and visit the Old Sacred Heart Shrine.
To enjoy the outdoors, head to Lake Miola Park or Hillsdale State Park and Lake. The area is also home to several wineries, and you can tour and enjoy tastings along the Somerset Wine Trail.
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