A Kansas – Missouri road trip route takes me to Wichita, Tallgrass Prairie, Council Grove, Topeka, Osawatomie, Kansas City, Independence, and other sites along the way.


I was a guest of the Travel Kansas, Visit Wichita, the Council Grove Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, Visit Topeka, Miami County, and Visit KC, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.


A Kansas – Missouri Road Trip


It may not sound that grandiose, but I can tell you honestly that doing a Kansas road trip has been a dream . . . dare I say it . . . birthed in childhood. I had never visited Kansas, but there were visions from stories, songs, and history that populated my imagination, and when my dream finally came true, Kansas was everything I had hoped it would be, and so much more.

I had traveled to Missouri in my teens on a family road trip, but I didn’t remember much about it. So I was totally unprepared for everything the greater Kansas City metro area had to offer, especially to a history buff like me.

This is a round-up post linking to five previously published articles from my Kansas – Missouri Road Trip. It is a great resource for anyone interested in traveling to Wichita, Tallgrass Prairie, Council Grove, Topeka, Osawatomie, Kansas CityIndependence, and parts in between.


Wichita, Kansas  |  Days 1 – 3


My Kansas – Missouri road trip began when my plane landed in Kansas City, Missouri. I retrieved my rental car and set out on a 3-hour drive to Wichita, the first destination on my itinerary.

It didn’t take long for me to learn two opposing realities of interstate highways in Kansas. The downside is that virtually all of them are toll roads, a concept foreign to this Floridian who lives near the intersection of I-75 and I-4, two toll-free interstates. The upside is that the standard Kansas interstate speed limit is 75 mph, making it perhaps an even trade for distance drivers.

I spent Days 1 – 3 of my Kansas – Missouri road trip exploring Wichita. Our post What to Do in Wichita reports on the following attractions, dining, and lodging options:

 

Wichita Attractions

Botanica

Old Cowtown Museum

Kansas Aviation Museum

Museum of World Treasures

Wichita Grand Opera

Keeper of the Plains

 

Wichita Dining

District Taquería

R Coffeehouse

Bite Me BBQ

Stearman Field Bar & Grill

 

Wichita Lodging

Hotel at Old Town

Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview

 


Tallgrass Prairie & Council Grove, Kansas  |  Day 4


Day 4 of my Kansas – Missouri road trip was one of the most memorable days on the road ever! It was my birthday, and driving from Wichita to Council Grove along the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway was the best gift I could have received.

I drove through Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, stopping for a visit at Spring Hill Ranch and other roadside pullovers along the way. Arriving in historic Council Grove, I explored several key sites on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.

Our post Drive the Kansas Flint Hills National Scenic Byway gives a detailed account of my visits to the following scenic and historical locales:

 

The Kansas Flint Hills Scenic Byway

Bichet School, District 34 (1896)

 

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Spring Hill Ranch

Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse

The Santa Fe National Historic Trail

 

Council Grove

City Calaboose (1849)

Kaw Mission State Historic Site (1851)

Seth Hays Home (1867)

Hays House Restaurant (1857)

Last Chance Store (1857)

Hermit’s Cave (1863)

Madonna of the Trail (1928)

Neosho Riverwalk

 

A Tale of Three Trees

The Council Oak (1825)

The Post Office Oak (1825)

The Custer Elm (1867)

 


Topeka & Osawatomie, Kansas  |  Days 5 – 6


On Days 5 – 6, I toured sites connected to the rich Civil Rights history in Topeka, Kansas. Most people do not immediately associate Topeka with the collective fight for freedom, but for more than 100 years it has been intrinsically tied to the abolition of slavery, desegregation of public education, and LGBTQ equality.

I left Topeka and drove down to Osawatomie to visit the site most powerfully-connected with abolitionist John Brown’s efforts in Kansas.

Check out our post Explore Civil Rights History in Topeka, Kansas, for coverage of the freedom sites I visited on my Kansas – Missouri road trip:

 

Topeka, Kansas Civil Rights Historical Sites

Kansas Museum of History

Kansas State Capitol

The Ritchie House

Brown vs. Board of Education NHS

Equality House

 

Osawatomie, Kansas

John Brown Memorial Park and Museum

 


Kansas City, Missouri  |  Day 7


On Day 7, I crossed the state line into Missouri, and explored several top-notch Kansas City museums. I loved them all, but I was most excited about visiting the Arabia Steamboat Museum, a museum that had been on my bucket list for several years. This venue displays thousands of artifacts rescued from a steamboat that sank in the Missouri River and was excavated 132 years later in a farmer’s field. The museum is a pristine time capsule from the year 1856, and when in Kansas City, it is not-to-be-missed!

This post details my visits to 7 World-Class Kansas City Museums, plus food, spirits, lodging, and shopping:

Kansas City, Missouri Museums

Arabia Steamboat Museum

National World War I Museum and Memorial

National Museum of Toys & Miniatures

Hallmark Visitors Center

John Wornall House Museum

 

The Museums at 18th and Vine

American Jazz Museum

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

 

Kansas City, Missouri Food, Spirits, Lodging, and Shopping

Aladdin Holiday Inn Hotel

Pierpont’s at Union Station

Country Club Plaza

Power & Light District

Tom’s Town Distilling Co.

 

Lenexa, Kansas Locations

Union Horse Distilling Co.

Zarda Bar-B-Q

 


Independence, Missouri  |  Day 8


Day 8 of my Kansas – Missouri road trip took me to Independence, Missouri, to walk in the footsteps of native son President Harry S. Truman and to explore locations associated with the “jumping-off point” for the National Frontier Trails.

For information on these historic locations, check out Truman Sites and Frontier Trails in Historical Independence, Missouri, as detailed below:

 

Harry S. Truman Library & Museum

The Presidential Years (Main Level)

Courtyard (Main Level)

His Life and Times (Lower Level)

Passport to the Presidential Libraries

 

Harry S. Truman National Historic Site

Truman Home

Noland Home

Truman Historic Walking Trail

Other Truman Sites

 

National Historic Trails

National Frontier Trails Museum

Frontier Trails Wagon Ruts

 


An Itinerary Planning Note


The posts linked in this Kansas-Missouri road trip route offer a wealth of information for travelers planning itineraries to any or all of the key destinations, but I do need to offer one caveat. When on assignment, travel writers typically have whirlwind itineraries planned by our hosts, in order to show us an optimal number of experiences in a limited amount of time. Even though I did visit all of these locations in eight days, future travelers may want to spend more time at certain locations and less time at others. Either way, I encourage you not to over-schedule your itinerary, so that you can fully enjoy all of the places you go.


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We Would Love to Hear From You


We enjoy dialogue with our readers, especially when they share off-the-beaten-path destinations and useful travel tips. Have you ever driven through Kansas and Missouri? If so, we would love to hear about your experience. We invite you to leave your comments and questions below, and we always respond!


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Helpful Links


What to Do in Wichita

Drive the Kansas Flint Hills National Scenic Byway

Explore Civil Rights History in Topeka, Kansas

7 World-Class Kansas City Museums

Truman Sites and Frontier Trails in Historical Independence, Missouri

 

Howard Blount is founder and editor of the travel web site Backroad Planet. He has traveled internationally since boyhood and lived abroad in Mexico, Chile, and Paraguay. Now his passion is navigating the roads-less-traveled of this amazing planet in search of anything rare and remote. On the stuffy side, “Mr. Blount” has been a writer, consultant, and published author with the likes of Simon & Schuster and McGraw-Hill. Recently retired from a 35-year career as a middle school teacher, Howard enjoys spending his time on anything that includes mountains, waterfalls, dachshunds, gospel choirs, books, restored classic movies on Blu-ray, HDTV, autumn, sandhill cranes, hot springs, Florida springs, rain and other gloomy weather, log cabins, cracker shacks, abandoned sites, unearthed history, genealogy, museums, documentaries, To Kill a Mockingbird, scenic and historical sites, castles, cathedrals, the Civil War, cold sheets, National and State Park Passports, quotes, the Rambos, Dionne Warwick, Steely Dan, Doobies, Diet Pepsi, Fish City Grill, anything Apple, all things British, Jesus, and lists. And on a random note, Howard is a fourth cousin once removed to Truman Capote.
A Kansas - Missouri road trip route takes me to Wichita, Tallgrass Prairie, Council Grove, Topeka, Osawatomie, Kansas City, Independence, and other sites along the way. #TBIN #roadtrip

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