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. This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to our our Disclosure/Disclaimer page for more information.
Table of Contents
- 1 A Kansas – Missouri Road Trip
- 2 Wichita, Kansas | Days 1 – 3
- 3 Tallgrass Prairie & Council Grove, Kansas | Day 4
- 4 Topeka & Osawatomie, Kansas | Days 5 – 6
- 5 Kansas City, Missouri | Day 7
- 6 Independence, Missouri | Day 8
- 7 An Itinerary Planning Note
- 8 Map It!
- 9 We Would Love to Hear From You
- 10 Pin this Post!
- 11 Helpful Links
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 City, Independence, 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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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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