Kansas City is a fantastic destination, but sometimes it’s nice to escape the hustle and bustle and explore the surrounding area. Luckily, there are plenty of great day trips that are within driving distance of the city. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best, lesser-known destinations that are perfect for a day trip from Kansas City.
Weston, Missouri: Small-Town Charm and Wineries
Just 45 minutes north of Kansas City lies the picturesque town of Weston, Missouri. This small town is packed with charm, from its quaint main street lined with boutique shops and cafes to the rolling hills and vineyards that surround it. Speaking of vineyards, Weston is home to several wineries that offer tastings and tours. Try a glass of Norton, a grape variety that’s native to Missouri and produces a rich, complex red wine. Other must-visit spots in Weston include the historic Weston Bend State Park, where you can hike, picnic, or just take in the stunning views of the Missouri River.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve: A Nature Lover’s Paradise
For those who want to get away from it all and immerse themselves in nature, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas is a great option. It’s a bit of a drive from Kansas City (about 2.5 hours), but it’s worth it for the stunning landscapes and unique flora and fauna. The preserve is home to bison, prairie dogs, and hundreds of species of birds, making it a prime spot for wildlife watching and photography. There are also several hiking trails that wind through the prairie, offering views of wildflowers and rolling hills as far as the eye can see.
Lawrence, Kansas: History, Art, and Great Food
If you’re in the mood for a dose of culture, Lawrence, Kansas is the place to be. This college town is just 45 minutes west of Kansas City and is home to a thriving arts scene, with galleries, theaters, and live music venues aplenty. You can also explore the city’s rich history at the Watkins Museum of History, which has exhibits on everything from the Civil War to the hippie movement of the 1960s. And don’t forget to indulge in some of Lawrence’s fantastic food options, from farm-to-table restaurants to classic diners.
Hermann, Missouri: Wine, History, and German Culture
About 2.5 hours east of Kansas City lies Hermann, Missouri, a charming town with a rich history and strong German heritage. Like Weston, Hermann is home to several wineries that offer tastings and tours, but there’s plenty more to see and do as well. Explore the town’s historic district, which is home to more than 150 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, or visit the Deutschheim State Historic Site to learn more about German immigrant culture. And if you’re lucky enough to visit in the fall, don’t miss the Hermann Oktoberfest, a celebration of German food, music, and, of course, beer.
As you can see, there are many places to go if you’re looking to take a day trip from Kansas City. If you live in the KC area then you are blessed to have beautiful day trip options to both Kansas and Missouri, where there are plenty of outdoor things to do and charming small towns to visit.
So whether you’re in the mood for small-town charm, natural beauty, cultural exploration, or a combination of all three, there’s something for everyone within a few hours’ drive of the city. Next time you’re itching for an adventure, consider exploring one of these lesser-known destinations near Kansas City.