City guides

Cheap day trips from Kansas City, Missouri

Discover the hidden gems just a short drive from Kansas City, Missouri, that won't break the bank.

November 3, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Jan 15
A view of the Kansas City, Missouri skyline, with Union Station in the foreground.

Kansas City, straddling the line between Missouri and Kansas, is a vibrant metropolis known for its jazz heritage, fountains, and a strong affinity for barbecue. But sometimes, the heart just yearns for something different, something...outside the city limits. Good news, fellow wanderer: the area surrounding this bustling hub is rich with history, nature, and adventure, all on the cheap! So, let's dive into these affordable escapes that promise a respite from city life without the hefty price tag.

Weston, Missouri

Imagine a place where time slows, allowing the rich textures of history and nature to mingle; that's Weston for you. This picturesque town, known for its pre-Civil War buildings, offers more than meets the eye. Start with a visit to the Weston State Park, a perfect spot for picnics or peaceful walks along tree-lined trails. For wine enthusiasts, the Pirtle Winery, housed in a former Lutheran Evangelical Church built in 1867, offers an array of award-winning wines. And if you're in the mood for some local brews, the Weston Brewing Company, established in 1842, has a storied history and a lively pub atmosphere.

Lawrence, Kansas

Lawrence, a haven for artists and musicians, pulses with creative energy. This vibrant town offers a mix of art galleries, theaters, and live music venues. The Spencer Museum of Art, located on the University of Kansas campus, features an eclectic collection ranging from medieval art to contemporary installations. Downtown Lawrence, with its charming streets, is an ideal spot for leisurely strolls, punctuated by visits to local boutiques and eateries. Don't miss the Lawrence Farmers' Market, where you can snag fresh produce and artisanal goodies. And for outdoor enthusiasts, the Baker Wetlands offers stunning natural beauty and bird-watching opportunities.

Atchison, Kansas

Atchison tantalizes with a blend of history and mystery. It's the birthplace of the famed aviator Amelia Earhart, and the museum dedicated to her life is a fascinating dive into her legacy. But there's a spookier side to this town; it's reputed to be haunted, making it a hotspot for ghost tours and paranormal enthusiasts. The Sallie House, said to be one of the most haunted houses in the country, offers tours for those daring enough. If ghost stories aren't your thing, the Atchison Riverwalk presents breathtaking views of the Missouri River, perfect for a reflective end to your visit.

Jamesport, Missouri

Step into a world untouched by time in Jamesport, home to the largest Amish community in Missouri. Here, the old-world charm is palpable, from the clip-clop of horse-drawn buggies to the rustic farmsteads that dot the landscape. Visitors can explore various Amish stores stocked with handmade furniture, quilts, and various crafts that speak of a simpler way of life. The annual events, like the May Days Festival and the Step Back in Time Festival, showcase the community's rich culture and traditions. And for the foodies, don't miss the chance to savor authentic Amish fare at local eateries.

Lexington, Missouri

Lexington, a historical gem, is a must-visit for anyone interested in the Civil War. The Battle of Lexington State Historic Site, with its visitor center and cannonball-riddled courthouse, offers a vivid glimpse into a turbulent past. The Anderson House, which served as a hospital during the war, has its share of haunting tales. But Lexington isn't all about history; it's also known for its vineyards and wineries. The local orchards provide a variety of apples, peaches, and berries for picking. And if you're visiting in September, the annual Apple Festival is a delightful celebration of harvest, community, and family fun.

Leavenworth, Kansas

Leavenworth holds the distinguished title of "First City of Kansas" and brims with historical allure and architectural charm. It's impossible to miss the Carroll Mansion, a 19th-century home showcasing Victorian life. The city's rich military past is palpable at the Frontier Army Museum in Fort Leavenworth, displaying artifacts from the 1800s onwards. The fort itself, established in 1827, is the oldest active United States Army post west of Washington D.C., and worth a visit. Downtown Leavenworth is perfect for leisure, with an array of shops, restaurants, and cafes. The Richard Allen Cultural Center, dedicated to local African American heritage, also stands as a testament to the city's diverse cultural fabric.

Platte City, Missouri

Nature lovers will find solace in Platte City, a serene escape from urban hustle and bustle. The Platte Falls Conservation Area is a sprawling expanse of natural beauty, offering activities like hiking, fishing, and bird-watching. It's a sanctuary where Missouri's wildlife thrives, and visitors can catch a glimpse of deer, turkeys, and other animals in their natural habitat. For those who prefer a more laid-back experience, the local vineyards and wineries offer tours and tastings, allowing visitors to unwind amidst scenic landscapes. The city's historical sites, including the Platte County Museum, add a touch of history to your visit.

Osawatomie, Kansas

Osawatomie is a beacon for history enthusiasts, particularly those intrigued by the struggle against slavery. The John Brown Museum State Historic Site is dedicated to the legendary abolitionist who fought in the Battle of Osawatomie. The Adair Cabin, part of the museum, was the home of Brown's half-sister and became his base of operations. The town's history trails allow visitors to walk in the footsteps of those who fought for freedom. Beyond its historical significance, Osawatomie offers recreational pursuits at the Flint Hills Trail State Park, where hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails provide an immersive outdoor experience.

Excelsior Springs, Missouri

In Excelsior Springs, relaxation is not just encouraged; it's a way of life. This town, famous for its healing mineral waters, has been a destination for wellness since the late 1800s. The Hall of Waters, a former health resort, now serves as a visitor center, displaying the world's longest water bar and offering insight into the town's spa-centric history. The Elms Hotel and Spa still provides therapeutic spa treatments for those seeking rejuvenation. Beyond spas, the town's vibrant historic district is lined with unique shops, galleries, and restaurants. For wine connoisseurs, Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery and Four Horses and a Dog Vineyard and Winery offer exquisite local wines amidst enchanting vistas.

St. Joseph, Missouri

St. Joseph, once the bustling starting point of the Pony Express, is a city where the wild frontier meets modern-day charm. The Pony Express National Museum pays homage to the daring riders of the communication revolution. Another notable museum, the Jesse James Home Museum, is the site of the infamous outlaw's demise. The city's rich cultural scene is evident in its numerous galleries, theaters, and concert venues. The unique architecture, ranging from majestic mansions to historic downtown buildings, adds to the city's allure. Nature trails, parks, and the mesmerizing Missouri River backdrop provide ample opportunities for outdoor adventures.So, there you have it! Who knew that just a short drive from Kansas City lies a world teeming with history, nature, and adventure? Each destination offers its unique flavor, promising experiences that will linger in your memories without emptying your wallet. So, go ahead, pick your favorite spot (or spots, we don't judge), hit the road, and make some priceless memories. Happy travels, my friends!

*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

In this article:

Share article

You may also like


Super is dedicated to helping people get more out of life by providing them with ways to build credit, save money, travel more, and earn cashback rewards.