Road Trip in Kansas

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Home to the likes of Amelia Earhart, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Walter Chrysler (as in Chrysler Motors), Kansas is somewhat of a hidden gem amongst other states.

Visit Kansas and you'll be pleasantly surprised by all there is to do and see in the “Sunflower State."

Rules of the Road in Kansas

Before embarking on a Kansas road trip, familiarize yourself with the rules of the road. Knowing the technicalities of driving in Kansas is sure to make your trip less stressful.

Below you will find a general (non-comprehensive) list of traffic laws and driving tips.

Kansas Traffic Laws

A few of Kansas' traffic laws are as follows:

  • Never text and drive.
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Always wear a seatbelt.
  • The maximum speed limit around schools is 20 MPH.
  • You must signal well ahead of time before turning or merging into another lane.
  • When emergency vehicles approach (e.g. ambulance, fire truck, police car), you must pull to the right side of the road and come to a complete stop.
  • Always give bicyclists and pedestrians the right of way.
  • When weather conditions require you to use your windshield wipers (e.g. rain and snow) you need to turn your headlights on.
  • If you're in an accident that results in injury and/or property damage, call the police (dial 911).

Check out Kansas' driver handbook for a more detailed look at its traffic laws.

Kansas Driving Tips

If you're new to the U.S., there are certain driving habits you may not be used to. The following list outlines a few driving tips that'll help ease the stress of driving in a different country and will also make you a safer driver in general.

  • Use your horn sparingly; American drivers aren't used to excessive honking and will interpret it as an extremely aggressive gesture.
  • If you turn your turn signals on, most American drivers will allow you the space to merge in front of them.
  • Give motorcycle and bicycle riders extra room on the road.
  • On highways, slower and exiting traffic keeps to the right lanes, while faster drivers tend to travel in the left-hand lanes.
  • If you're visiting in winter, make sure you have the appropriate snow tires.
  • If you encounter a tornado (Kansas is known to have them), get out of your car or steer away from its path (f you have time).
    • Do not hide under bridges—tornado winds become stronger under them.

Kansas Interstates & Highways

In the U.S., an interstate highway often connects multiple states. They also usually run through major cities within those states—meaning they're especially helpful during a road trip through a single state or throughout the U.S.

Below is a list of Kansas interstate highways, a few of the cities they run through, and the states or highways they connect to.

  • I-35.
    • Runs through Wichita, Andover, Emporia, Hartford, Ottawa, Spring Hill, Gardner, Overland Park, and Kansas City.
    • Connects to Oklahoma and Missouri.
  • I-70.
    • Runs through Goodland, Ellis, Victoria, Wilson, Salina, Minneapolis, Abilene, Alma, Topeka, and Kansas City.
    • Connects to Colorado and Missouri.
  • I-135.
    • Runs through Wichita, Hutchinson, Newton, McPherson, and Salina.
    • Connects to I-35 and I-70.
  • I-335.
    • Runs through Americus, Auburn, Topeka, and Kansas City.
    • Connects to I-35 and I-70.

Sightseeing & Attractions in Kansas

Now that you're familiar with Kansas driving laws and routes, you can experience the state has to offer.

The following lists are only suggestions, and leave a lot of room for improvised adventures and unexpected Kansas discoveries.

Natural Attractions

  • Rock City—Minneapolis, KS.
    • A true, natural oddity consisting of large, orb-shaped, sandstone boulders.
    • The world's largest collection of rock formations in a small area.
    • Visitors are free to climb and conquer.
  • Monument Rocks—Lewis, KS.
    • Towering remnants of the prehistoric Western Interior Seaway.
    • Find plant and animal fossils lodged in the rock.
    • Named the United States' first national natural landmark.
  • Mushroom Rock State Park—Marquette, KS.
    • This aptly-named park boasts unusual rock formations that look like giant mushrooms.
    • The iconic rocks used to serve as meeting places for Native Americans and early American pioneers.
    • Hiking trail.
  • Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve—Strong City, KS.
    • Vast, sprawling landscape covered in wildflowers, wildlife, knolls—and of course, tall grass.
    • See herds of bison and their calves in the springtime.
    • During the winter, snow covers the leas and brings a quiet solitude.
    • Visitors center with exhibits about the history and ecology of the preserve.
    • Hiking trails.
  • Cheyenne Bottoms—Cheyenne, KS.
    • Largest fresh water marsh in the central U.S.
    • Crucial migration point for shorebirds.
    • Vast amount of bird species can be seen here year-round.
    • Visitors center with educational and hands-on exhibits.

Museums

  • Banner Creek Science Center and Observatory—Holton, KS.
    • Astronomer-led observatory tours and telescope viewings.
    • Educational classes and programs just for kids.
    • “Star parties" where you can get to know other astronomy enthusiasts.
  • Exploration Place—Wichita, KS.
    • Educational and immersive exhibits on everything science, from human anatomy to aviation technology.
    • Rotating exhibits including arts and culture displays.
    • Mini golf course.
    • Exploration park with gardens and climbing structures.
    • Theater and live entertainment.
    • Special programs for kids and adults.
  • Strataca—Hutchinson, KS.
    • Museum housed in an underground salt cavern.
    • Take walking and tram tours through the old salt mine, and venture through the same passages miners used many years ago.
    • Exhibit on Kansas' geology and how the salt caverns came to be.
    • Unexpected exhibits on old Hollywood artifacts, including an original Superman costume.
  • Museum of World Treasures—Wichita, KS.
    • Unique historical artifacts dating to the time of the dinosaurs.
    • See objects like:
      • A piece of the Berlin Wall.
      • A Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.
      • Egyptian mummies.
      • Ancient Asian art.
    • Special events and social gatherings for kids and adults each month.
    • Guided tours.
  • The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art—Kansas City, KS.
    • Exhibits displaying the flourishing arts of historic and modern times.
    • Sculpture garden to peacefully explore.
  • Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum—Wichita, KS.
    • Exhibits on the rich histories of Wichita and Sedgwick County.
    • Recreations and artifacts of historic Kansas living.
  • Oz Museum—Wamego, KS.
    • Countless props and artifacts from the Wizard of Oz movie.
    • Wizard of Oz memorabilia, including author L. Frank Baum's earliest books and old board games.
    • Special events where you can mingle with Oz characters.

Only in Kansas

  • Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum—Atchison, KS.
    • Visit the actual home aviator Amelia Earhart was born in.
    • Part of the National Register of Historic Buildings.
    • Now a museum, see artifacts and displays on Earhart's professional and personal life.
  • Geographic center of the United States—Lebanon, KS.
    • Say you've stood in the exact center of the country.
    • Picnic tables and chapel on site.
    • Free for all visitors.
  • Dorothy's House and Land of Oz—Liberal, KS.
    • If you've ever wondered what it'd be like to walk in Dorothy's ruby red slippers, this place is for you.
    • A Dorothy tour guide takes you through recreations of her house and the land of Oz.
  • World's largest ball of twine—Cawker City, KS.
    • You won't see anything this bizarre anywhere else in the world.
    • Started as a way for a Kansas farmer to pass the time.
    • Add your own twine to the enormous ball.

Zoos & Amusement Parks

  • Sunset Zoo—Manhattan, KS.
    • See all of your favorite mammals, reptiles, birds, and more.
    • Reserve a behind the scenes tour and see your favorite animals up close.
  • Sedgwick County Zoo—Wichita, KS.
    • Exhibits of animals from every continent.
    • Children's area with farm animals.
    • Live animal care demonstrations.
  • Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead—Overland Park, KS.
    • Great family outing.
    • See and interact with all sorts of farm animals.
    • Horse-drawn wagon rides through the surrounding woods.
    • Vegetable and flower gardens.