Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by Kristin
Known for its signature barbecue style and storied jazz history, Kansas City, located on the border of Kansas and Missouri, is a welcoming destination for tourists. However, it’s also a great jumping-off point for a variety of fun adventures. Here are five of the best road trips from Kansas City.
Lake of the Ozarks State Park
146 miles / 2 hr. 31 mins.
Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks is the perfect place to escape busy city life. This 54,000-acre man-made lake provides a restorative retreat from the hustle and bustle, with an abundance of relaxing resorts surrounding the water. Here, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of water activities including fishing, kayaking, boating and swimming. The park also offers several different types of hiking trails through woodlands and glades.
185 miles / 2 hr. 51 mins.
Nebraska’s largest city of Omaha combines historic charm with lush open spaces and a distinctive collection of art galleries and museums. Families especially enjoy the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, which is known for a diverse array of plants and animals including penguins, sea lions and gorillas. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the pink marble Joslyn Art Museum (under construction until early 2024) and collection of galleries lining the historic Old Market entertainment district. When the weather is nice, enjoy green areas like the 100-acre Lauritzen Gardens.
Des Moines, Iowa
193 miles / 2 hr. 54 mins.
Nearly three hours north lies Iowa’s capital of Des Moines, known for its expansive downtown farmers market, extensive biking trails and array of restaurants and breweries. Bring the family to the Blank Park Zoo or Science Center of Iowa. Take a relaxing stroll through the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden to appreciate orchids, bonsai and tropical greenhouse plants. When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the Historic East Village to browse more than 90 restaurants, boutiques and bars.
248 miles / 3 hr. 43 mins.
Known for blues, barbecue and sports, the city of St. Louis just under four hours east makes for a great road trip. While this city on the Mississippi River boasts many attractions, the most iconic among them is the Gateway Arch. This 630-foot monument features a park dedicated to former president Thomas Jefferson and his role in helping expand the country westward. Take a stroll around sprawling Forest Park, an urban green space larger than New York City’s Central Park. There, you’ll find the Missouri History Museum and Saint Louis Art Museum. For trendy bars and restaurants, visit the Delmar Loop neighborhood to browse record shops, eclectic eateries and admire the vintage neon signs flashing throughout the streets. >> Recommended hotels in St. Louis
271 miles / 4 hr.
Head down to Tulsa to experience an impressive array of Art Deco architecture, art galleries, museums and stretch of Route 66. Music buffs should carve out time to visit the Woody Guthrie Center, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and Bob Dylan Center. Tulsa is also home to several highly-regarded art museums, including the stately Philbrook Museum of Art and surrounding gardens. Engineers and space enthusiasts will enjoy the Tulsa Air & Space Museum, which boasts vintage aircraft and a planetarium. For food, the Tulsa Arts District and Blue Dome District both have expansive dining and nightlife options.