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Cheap weekend trips from Kansas City, Missouri

Dive into a world of adventure with these affordable escapes just a hop, skip, and a jump away from KC.

November 6, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Jan 15
A view of the Kansas City, Missouri skyline, with Union Station in the foreground.

Life in Kansas City, Missouri, is vibrant, but every now and then, the travel bug bites, and the itch to explore new horizons kicks in. But who says you need to break the bank to satisfy your wanderlust? Here’s your go-to guide for the most unforgettable yet pocket-friendly weekend getaways, all within a comfortable drive from the heart of KC. Let’s uncover these hidden gems, shall we?

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, a picturesque town in the Ozark Mountains, is a haven for artists, adventurers, and anyone in need of a peaceful retreat. Its streets, lined with Victorian-style houses, boutique shops, and unique eateries, exude an old-world charm that's both refreshing and intriguing. The Thorncrown Chapel is a must-see, with its captivating glass structure and serene woodland setting. Engage with the town's vibrant arts scene by visiting its numerous galleries, or unwind in one of the cozy spas. The surrounding nature offers ample opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and simply reveling in the tranquility that Eureka Springs embodies.

Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, a dynamic city that's a mere three-hour drive from Kansas City, offers a blend of urban charm and heartland hospitality. The historic Old Market, with its cobblestone streets, is brimming with quirky shops, galleries, and restaurants that promise a delightful experience. Venture to the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, renowned for its conservation efforts and immersive exhibits like the Lied Jungle and Desert Dome. The Lauritzen Gardens provide a lush, green escape within the city, while the vibrant nightlife and numerous breweries cater to those seeking some after-dark excitement.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri

Adventure calls at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, where the ruins of a 20th-century castle tell a story of dreams and perseverance amidst the rugged landscape. The park, with its sinkholes, caves, and bluffs, is a fantastic representation of Missouri's karst topography. Hikers can explore over 15 miles of trails offering stunning views of the Lake of the Ozarks and the castle ruins. For the curious minds, the park's natural bridge and other geological wonders provide a fascinating glimpse into the area's ancient past. It's a place where history, mystery, and nature converge to offer a truly enriching experience.

Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, known as the Air Capital of the World, has more than aviation history to offer. This bustling city is a cultural hub, with attractions like the Wichita Art Museum showcasing thousands of works of art, and the Old Cowtown Museum bringing the 19th-century frontier to life. Botanica Wichita is a horticultural paradise, featuring over 30 themed gardens — the Butterfly Garden is a visitor favorite. Exploration Place offers interactive fun for all ages with its science exhibits, and the Keeper of the Plains statue, standing tall at the confluence of two rivers, is a sight to behold, especially during the nightly firepot lighting.

Hermann, Missouri

Hermann, exuding the charm of a small German town, is a haven for wine connoisseurs and history enthusiasts. Its winemaking tradition, brought over by German immigrants, can be savored by visiting the town's numerous wineries. The Hermann Wine Trail, meandering along the Missouri River, offers breathtaking views and exquisite local wines. Historical landmarks like the Deutschheim State Historic Site provide insight into the early German settlers' lives. The town's bed-and-breakfast establishments, set in historic homes, offer warm hospitality and a glimpse into local life. Annual festivals, celebrating everything from wine to sausage, add to Hermann's allure, making it a festive getaway any time of year.

Des Moines, Iowa

Don't overlook Des Moines, Iowa's vibrant capital, where a weekend can be packed with diverse cultural, culinary, and outdoor experiences. Art buffs will appreciate the Des Moines Art Center, home to a significant collection spanning three centuries, including notable modern works. If you're in town on a Saturday, the Downtown Farmers' Market is an absolute treat, bustling with local vendors, fresh produce, artisan crafts, and live music. For a dose of greenery, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden offers an urban oasis with its exotic plant species and seasonal blooms. History enthusiasts will enjoy the State Capitol building with its eye-catching gold dome, and the Salisbury House & Gardens that offer a peek into 1920s elegance.

Rocheport, Missouri

Rocheport holds a reputation as one of Missouri's hidden treasures, offering a blend of scenic beauty, history, and leisure activities. A must-do is biking or strolling along the famous Katy Trail, a 240-mile trail offering spectacular views of the Missouri River, limestone bluffs, and rolling farmland. The town's history can be explored through its well-preserved structures like the Rocheport Historic District. For wine aficionados, a visit to the Les Bourgeois Vineyards for some local wine tasting coupled with stunning river views is a delight. The quaint local shops and galleries are perfect for an afternoon browse, and cozy restaurants and B&Bs make Rocheport an ideal spot for a romantic getaway or a serene solo trip.

Branson, Missouri

Branson is a one-stop destination for entertainment and nature lovers alike. Known for its dazzling array of live shows, it houses over 50 theaters featuring everything from country music concerts to magic shows. Silver Dollar City, a 1880s-themed amusement park, offers fun rides and artisan craft demonstrations. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Table Rock Lake is perfect for boating, fishing, and swimming. Nearby, the Dogwood Canyon Nature Park allows for horseback riding, wildlife tours, and trout fishing amidst the beauty of the Ozarks. The Titanic Museum, shaped like the infamous ship, offers an interactive experience for history buffs. Branson's diverse attractions ensure non-stop fun for all ages.

Lawrence, Kansas

Lawrence, a town with a rebellious spirit and a big heart, offers a mix of rich history, a lively arts scene, and vibrant street life. Massachusetts Street, or "Mass St.," is the town's main artery, lined with shops, galleries, restaurants, and street performers, perfect for a leisurely day of exploration. History whispers through the town, especially at the Watkins Museum of History, which delves into local and national past, including Lawrence's pivotal role in the Civil War. The Spencer Museum of Art and the Lied Center of Kansas provide a cultural fix, while the nearby Clinton State Park offers outdoor recreation for nature enthusiasts.

Osage Beach, Missouri

Osage Beach beckons travelers with its extensive shoreline, water activities, and shopping. Located at the heart of Lake of the Ozarks, it's a water enthusiast's paradise, offering boating, fishing, and a range of water sports. The Lake of the Ozarks State Park provides hiking trails, picnic spots, and cavern tours for land-based adventure. For shoppers, the Osage Beach Outlet Marketplace features a plethora of stores with something for everyone. Golfers can tee off at one of the several courses in the area, while foodies can indulge in lakeside dining at various local eateries. Whether for family fun or a couple's retreat, Osage Beach serves up a fulfilling weekend getaway.There you have it, folks! Escaping the hustle and bustle of Kansas City doesn't have to cost a fortune. These destinations offer a rich variety of experiences, whether you're a nature lover, a history buff, or in search of culinary delights. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, hit the road, and make memories that won't require you to spend a treasure. Happy travels!

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

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