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Thinking of taking to the road for a trip through Kansas? As a native Wichitan, I’m familiar with my immediate locale, but if I want to plan a day trip or weekend elsewhere in the state, I rely on trusted resources to help me map it out.
I’m the kind of traveler who appreciates having a “loose” itinerary that leaves room for spontaneous stops. How would I have ever discovered Big Brutus in West Mineral, Kansas, if it hadn’t been for taking a detour when I saw the road sign? It was worth it!
What do you use to plan your travel across the Sunflower State? Consider these five resources that I highly recommend from personal experience:
FREE VISITORS GUIDES
Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) are the experts when it comes to the best places to explore and dine in a particular area of the state. Their free guides are available upon request. You can sign up to receive them electronically or by mail depending on the visitor center’s website. I typically opt for the snail mail option because CVBs will include extra rack cards and brochures featuring area attractions along with their guide.
Recently, I’ve planned trips to visit Manhattan, Crawford County, and Visit KC mostly from the listings mentioned in their visitor guides. If the location you’d like to visit doesn’t have a convention and visitor’s bureau, search for the “City of (Insert Name)” and access their Community page or check the events calendar.
Some of the best suggestions for dining or attractions have come from friends and family. Consider asking those you know about where they’ve traveled in the state to discover hidden away gems. Interested in going fishing or checking out a lake you’ve never been to? Rather than logging time researching the options, ask your family’s best angler! If you’re lucky, they’ll even tell you the best bait to use to catch a fish.
Years ago we drove to Cottonwood Falls and stayed at a cabin on a farmer’s ranch. We knew we wanted to check out the Chase Lake Falls after visiting with friends who had been to the area. The waterfall was worth the trip!
Why not join a local travel group on Facebook? Group members are the ultimate resource when it comes to asking specific questions about visiting an unfamiliar place and they often know just the websites to visits for more information. I prefer to follow the discussions in Midwest Road Trip Adventures, The Local Tourist, Wichita Travel Tribe, and Kansas Tourism Industry group pages.
Additionally, group page admins often host daily themes prompting members to share images from their travels. Sharing is caring! If you explore a location and fall in love with it, the best way to entice someone else to visit is to share photos and videos.
If I’m scanning the shelves of a local bookstore, you’ll most likely find me in the travel section perusing the guidebooks. Libraries and bookstores are treasure troves for excellent travel resources. Last year, I purchased “The Kansas Guidebook 2: For Explorers” by Marci Penner & WenDee Rowe while at Watermark Books in Wichita. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve flipped through its pages. Divided by region and then by county, the authors list well-known attractions as well as tucked away must-see places. As they say, it’s a guide for the explorer, the curious, the hungry, and those who love Kansas. Buy it online here.
A graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism, I’m a diehard fan of flipping through the glossy pages of magazines. The hands-down best tourism publication in the state is Kansas! magazine. You’ll find yourself entranced by its full-page guides, mesmerized by the gorgeous landscape photography, and impressed by its coverage of the people who make the Sunflower State great.
When in doubt, I hope you’ll use my Kansas travel page as a place to discover new destinations. I always give an honest account of my travel experiences!
How did you go about planning your last trip across the state? Leave a suggestion for a resource or destination in the comments below for others to use. From the wetlands to the open prairie and urban areas to small towns, Kansas offers something for everyone to enjoy.