City guides

Hidden gem day trips from Kansas City, Missouri

Embark on a journey through the less-traveled roads of Missouri and beyond, discovering the allure of hidden spots just a day trip away from Kansas City.

November 7, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Jan 15
A view of the Kansas City, Missouri skyline, with Union Station in the foreground.

Sometimes, the most memorable adventures are tucked away in quiet corners, far from the throngs of tourists. For those who call Kansas City home, or those just passing through, the heartland of America is a treasure trove of such places. Let's dive into these off-the-beaten-path day trips that promise unique experiences and a refreshing break from city life.

Weston, Missouri

Imagine a place where history lingers in the air — that's Weston for you. This small town, known for its pre-Civil War buildings and fascinating museums, offers a picturesque view into the past. While you're there, take a leisurely stroll through the Weston State Park, a true hidden gem with its lush greenery and peaceful ambiance. For the wine aficionados, the local vineyards and wineries provide a perfect setting to unwind. And if you're up for some spirited fun, the Weston Brewing Company not only offers a peek into the town's brewing heritage but also serves their traditional drop, ensuring your taste buds are in for a treat.

Wamego, Kansas

In Wamego, enchantment isn't just a concept; it's a reality. This town hosts the Oz Museum, an absolute delight for fans of "The Wizard of Oz." The museum is a colorful array of memorabilia, encompassing various iterations of the classic tale. But the magic doesn't end there. Wamego also prides itself on its beautifully restored Dutch Mill, an imposing structure that offers a glimpse of the area's cultural heritage. After you've had your fill of history, why not relax in one of the town's serene parks? And before you leave, make sure to stop by the Oz Winery for some locally crafted wines, which promise to be as magical as the town itself.

Atchison, Kansas

Atchison is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who love a little mystery and adventure, it's a dream destination. Renowned as the most haunted town in Kansas, Atchison is the birthplace of Amelia Earhart and a hotspot for supernatural enthusiasts. The town offers ghost tours that take you through haunted mansions and historic sites, setting the stage for spine-tingling encounters. If ghost stories aren't your thing, the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum offers insightful looks into the aviator's life. And there's more — Atchison is also home to beautiful architectural landmarks and a charming downtown perfect for a leisurely afternoon stroll.

Jamesport, Missouri

Jamesport takes you back to simpler times. As Missouri's largest Amish community, it's a place where tradition and craftsmanship reign supreme. Here, you can experience a different pace of life, observing the locals as they expertly craft furniture, quilts, and other handmade goods. The town's shops are a treasure trove of antiques, collectibles, and one-of-a-kind finds. While you're there, don't miss the opportunity to take a traditional buggy ride, and definitely treat yourself to some homemade Amish delicacies. The hospitality in Jamesport is warm and genuine, making it a perfect place to disconnect and enjoy life's simple pleasures.

Lexington, Missouri

Lexington, steeped in Civil War history, is a haven for those who love to delve into the past. The Battle of Lexington State Historic Site is a must-visit, offering reenactments, tours, and a wealth of information about the tumultuous times. The town's architecture is a nod to its rich past, with well-preserved 19th-century buildings lining the streets. After soaking up some history, explore the vibrant arts scene at local galleries or catch a show at the Lexington Community Arts Center. For a perfect end to your day, take a scenic walk along the Missouri River, enjoying the sunset and reflecting on the day's adventures.

Louisburg, Kansas

If you're a star-gazer or a nature lover, Louisburg is your ideal destination. The Powell Observatory is renowned for having one of the largest telescopes in the area, offering visitors awe-inspiring views of the night sky. Their knowledgeable volunteers provide insights into the cosmos, enhancing your stargazing experience. By day, explore the Cider Mill for a taste of the region's best ciders and donuts, or pick your own from their sun-kissed orchards. The town also hosts the annual Louisburg Ciderfest, with live music, crafts, and, of course, plenty of cider. For a breath of fresh air, the nearby Middle Creek State Fishing Lake is perfect for a quiet afternoon of fishing or picnicking.

Leavenworth, Kansas

Leavenworth, with its intriguing blend of history and leisure, promises a day well spent. While it's known for the "Big House" — the United States Penitentiary — there's much more to this town. The historic downtown is a shopper's paradise, with an array of boutiques offering unique wares. For history enthusiasts, the Frontier Army Museum offers fascinating exhibits, while the Buffalo Soldier Memorial Park pays homage to African-American soldiers. Outdoor lovers can revel in a day of adventure at the local parks or take a challenging hike on the trails. And when hunger strikes, Leavenworth is ready with a plethora of dining options, from casual eats to upscale fare.

St. Joseph, Missouri

St. Joseph, once the bustling starting point of the Pony Express, is a city where the wild west comes alive. Dive into history at the Pony Express Museum or the Jesse James Home Museum, where the infamous outlaw met his end. The city's rich cultural heritage is evident in its beautiful architecture, with mansions and museums dotting the landscape. The Parkway system, a series of parks connected by parkways and boulevards, is perfect for a leisurely drive or a serene walk. For art aficionados, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art features an impressive collection, and the local theater scene is vibrant and engaging. Before you leave, take a moment to enjoy the stunning views of the Missouri River from the riverfront park.

Paola, Kansas

Paola exudes small-town charm with its historic town square, the centerpiece of community life. Here, you'll find an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants, all locally owned, radiating the warm spirit of this town. History enthusiasts will appreciate the Miami County Historical Museum, which offers insights into local heritage. Paola's Park Square, with its gazebo, is a focal point for community events, including concerts and festivals. Nearby, Hillsdale State Park offers outdoor enthusiasts a perfect setting for an array of activities, including hiking, fishing, and boating. The town's commitment to the arts is evident in its thriving community theater and live music events, ensuring your visit is both culturally and historically enriching.

Brownville, Nebraska

A trip to Brownville is like stepping into a literary dream. Known for its bookstores, including one situated on a boat, this village is a haven for readers and writers alike. The Brownville Concert Series, featuring an array of performances, underscores the town's cultural vibrancy. History is also palpable here, with several historic sites and museums capturing the essence of its past. The Whiskey Run Creek Vineyard & Winery offers tours and tastings in a rustic setting, perfect for unwinding. And nothing beats a scenic tour of the Missouri River on the Spirit of Brownville, a riverboat that offers dinner cruises and special event tours.As we journey back to the hustle and bustle of Kansas City life, it's comforting to know that these tranquil escapes are but a short drive away. Each destination on this list promises a unique blend of history, culture, nature, and adventure. So, next weekend, instead of your usual haunts, why not venture a little further? The road less traveled is calling, and trust us, it's a journey worth taking.

*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.