Road Trips from Kansas City

May 21st, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Join Date: May 2009
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Road Trips from Kansas City

Hi! With summer breathing down our necks, we have decided to start planning some road trips from Kansas City to explore the midwest.

My husband and I (plus another couple) would like to do 2-3 road trips this summer that would be a 4-8 hour drive from KC. We are in our mid-30's and still like the adventure of exploring new areas and hanging out with the locals. All of us have traveled extensively, but with family and job constraints, we are looking for some short 2-4 day vacations that will be easy on the pocketbooks, but still a lot of fun. We've spent the last several summers hanging out at the Lake of the Ozarks, but alas, we've sold the lake house.

Does anyone have suggestions for fun/interesting places to check out in the Kansas/Missouri/Arkansas/Oklahoma/Nebraska/Iowa area?

Thanks for the suggestions and I will post trip reports on places we check out over the summer!
janelle0510 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 11:54 AM
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I'm originally from Weston. It is a cute little town. Unfortunately, when I was there last year alot of the interesting antique shops have become junky tourist shops. It is still worth seeing though.

Herman is a great town to visit.
Suzanne2 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 12:45 PM
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Hi Janelle, I'm planning a trip to Missouri this summer and both Hermann (glad to hear it is a great town Suzanne) and Rocheport look interesting. I'd love to spend some time biking the Katy Trail.

Also, I'm kicking around a day of canoeing/kayaking and the Eminence area appears to be the best bet.

If you want to push your drive time a bit, you could make it to Denver for a weekend.
wtm003 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 02:02 PM
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I love the area around Ironton,Mo/ Lesterville

check out the Black River Lodge

also agree with Eminence as a nice area for floating

How about the Bonne Terre Mines -

You can scuba dive in an old mine or just take a tour - its pretty interesting
sunbum1944 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 02:34 PM
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I've heard people say they enjoyed Pioneer Town in Nebraska.
Suzanne2 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 02:46 PM
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here is a link to more fun around Ironton
The Shut Ins Park was damaged by storm and I believe due to reopen in 2009

Elephant Rocks is really interesting
sunbum1944 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 03:34 PM
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There are several state capital cities that apparently can be visited from Kansas City in a one to three day trip: Topeka, Jefferson City, Lincoln, Des Moines, and perhaps even Oklahoma City, Springfield, or Little Rock depending on how far you want to drive. The research I've done suggests these all have a capitol building to explore, one or more museums, historic houses, and in some cases other attractions to see. Haven't been to any of these yet, so I can't speak from direct experience.

There's also St. Louis, Omaha, maybe even Memphis as possibilities. Haven't been to the last two of these, but have visited St. Louis and one can spend several enjoyable days there sightseeing.
bachslunch is offline  
May 22nd, 2009, 09:51 AM
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Thanks for so many suggestions! I am very impressed with the whole scuba idea at Bonne Terre Mines! I need to dig around and see what I can find.

We did the road trip to Denver last year. It was gorgeous and a great time, but a wee bit of a long drive. STL is always a good option too! Is there anything between CHI and STL that is interesting?
janelle0510 is offline  
May 22nd, 2009, 12:17 PM
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Jefferson City, MO doesn't offer much, but it does have the capitol building and it's close to Columbia, MO which is a great college town.

I second the previous suggests for St. Louis and Omaha. You could add Lawrence, KS to the list unless that's too close to where you live in KC.
siena1 is offline  
May 22nd, 2009, 03:30 PM
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Also in Ironton, Mo is a B&B - the building used to be an old Ursiline Academy and rich families from Mexico sent their daughters to school there.
Occasionally they would have a dance but the boys from the village who were invited had to be carefully screened - my ex did get to go to a few dances there.

Here is a link to the B&B- havent stayed there but here is a link - looks great - the buildings were empty when I used to visit that area
sunbum1944 is offline  
May 24th, 2009, 06:59 PM
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Adding to Sunbum's suggestions, we stayed at Wilderness Lodge Resort a few years ago and enjoyed it. That whole area, Lesterville, Ironton, etc, is beautiful. There are extremely interesting parks to visit, the springs (Blue Springs, Ally Springs, Big Spring etc) are gorgeous. You can do float trips from the Wilderness Lodge as well.

This reminds me that we would really like to get back there for a few days!

I don't think I saw mention of going to Eureka Springs, AK either. We enjoyed a few days down there last fall as well.

Report back, whatever you do I'm always looking for new ideas as well!
Toucan2 is offline  
May 24th, 2009, 08:06 PM
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Toucan2- Agree with you that is such a beautiful and yet unspoiled part of the county. My ex grew up in Ironton and knew all the swimming holes to go to.
I would love to go back one of these days.

Also, very historic- Grant received his commission in Ironton during the civil war and there are still supposedly cannon ball holes in the City Hall.

And of course a few remains of the old fort still stand - mostly mounds of dirt.

Also agree that Eureka Springs is great as well as near by Beaver Lake- one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever been to - the water is aqua and smooth as glass-
sunbum1944 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 06:50 PM
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I vote for nauvoo
bbqboy is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 07:08 PM
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I agree with the suggestions of St. Louis and Oklahoma City. Both have lots to do. Also, between St. Louis and Chicago is Springfield, IL, which has a lot of great Abraham Lincoln sites -- wonderful if you like history.
kansasmom is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Sure does depend on your interests, i.e., active outdoors or entertaiment. So on the one handc you might really enjoy the peaceful float trip down the Current R. (Eminence area) or prefer a Branson show. Being in Spfld MO I would think of many possible destinations down our way...the big Bass Pro store here, various caves, Silver Dollar City, Shepherd of the Hills outdoor drama with Sons of the Pioneers, Mansfield for Laura Ingalls Wilder house, and yes further south is Eureka Springs.

Glad to advise further. Personally don't think there is that much in central or SE part of state.
Ozarksbll [email protected]
Ozarksbill is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 02:52 PM
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I have to disagree with Ozarksbill about the central part of the state. In Columbia, MO you can visit the unique shops in the historic downtown area, walk around the University of Missouri campus (which is actually quite pretty), walk/hike or bike on the MKT or Katy Trails, eat some REALLY good pizza at Shakespeare's, or see an independent film and drink some beer at the Ragtag. Rocheport, which has a nice winery, is not far away.

I DO agree with Ozarksbill about the southeastern part of the state, however!
siena1 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 06:18 AM
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A note for travelers heading to Lake of the Ozarks. Officials have closed the beaches due to high levels of e coli.

"The DNR said the lake tested high for counts of the e-coli bacteria. They attribute this to water run-off from recent storms and a large flock of geese. They will continue testing the water and will re-open the beaches when the bacteria levels return to where body contact is safe."

Several streams in SW Missouri are also testing high for the bacteria. I'd suggest checking out recent reports for any areas you might be visiting. It's such a lovely area for canoeing and water sports, but better to be safe than sorry.
Kansan is offline  
Jun 28th, 2009, 06:03 PM
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Hey,siena1, I happen to like Columbia, a neat town...and have been to places like Arrow Rock, KT Trail, that bluff winery, plays in Columbia, etc. No offense, but what you have mentioned can certainly be said of my city (Springfield) or many other Missouri or Kansas towns...things like good pizza or other eateries, unique shops, stroll on a campus, bike trail. Not sure that would appeal to the young couples looking for something a bit different.
Ozarksbill is offline  
Jun 28th, 2009, 09:06 PM
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Yes, those things can be found in other places, in a general sense. I wasn't suggesting Columbia as a destination in and of itself, but as a place certainly worth stopping. I just disagreed with your assessment that it "isn't much." The University of Missouri has gone to great pains to beautify their campus over the last ten years, and I think it's one of the prettiest I've seen. It has even been designated as a botanical garden and is especially lovely in spring. Yes, there are college campuses in most towns, but I certainly don't think they are all equally interesting. Just like all towns have restaurants, but they certainly aren't all the same.

As for things that appeal to young couples, I can't think of anything more appealing than a college town filled with 18-30 year olds. I lived in Columbia twice, once as an undergrad and once for two years after I was married, in my mid-20s. I've gone back to visit several times over the last few years, and still enjoyed my visit last fall.
siena1 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 08:49 AM
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My aunt and uncle camp the entire summer months at Stockton Lake that has 300 miles of shoreline and clean, clear water (unlike the Lake of the Ozarks). While Marie and Robert camp at Crab Tree Cove in their RV, my mom stays at the Cabins at Stockton Lake because she prefers a real bed and jacuzzi tub and kitchen. Check out for 2.5 hour road trip from Kansas City where I live.
lakegirl62 is offline  
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