We are often asked for our favorite weekend getaways and day trips from Wichita, so we have compiled a list of suggestions straight from local moms. We love nothing more than to shake things up a bit by hopping in the car and hitting the open road. These would be great for the weekend or spring or summer break if you are hoping to stay nearby.
To narrow it down, we decided to keep trip ideas to under a five hour distance, both inside and outside of Kansas. Additionally, many of the destinations mentioned offer far more than the things we’ve listed, but we’ve included those things recommended straight from Wichita moms.
Day Trips from Wichita: Kansas
(1 hour north of Wichita) known as “Little Sweden USA”, Lindsborg is a quaint town with art galleries, boutiques, and eateries. Recommended often when asked about day trips from Wichita.
Outdoors + Parks
Mushroom Rock State Park *technically Marquette, KS off of Highway 40, 5 acre park with sandstone concretions (large rocks that took the shape of mushrooms).
Coronado Heights (closed when flooded), includes a scenic overlook, fireplace in a “castle”, 3 mile bike trail, and picnic tables.
Swensson Park – let the kids hop out and play on the Viking Valley Playground.
Eats + Sips
Swedish Crown Restaurant – known for their authentic Swedish food and crepes, yum!
Ol Stuga Pub – the local Swedish pub that claims to serve “the best deli sandwiches in the midwest”
White Peacock – local coffee shop on the charming main street
(1 hour 20 minutes north of Wichita) We hear to make it a full day by combining Lindsborg and Salina and that the Rolling Hills Zoo is awesome! *And you get 50% off admission if you have a membership to the Sedgwick County Zoo.
(1 hour 30 minutes north of Wichita) This is a great option to take the kids on a day trip, perfect for museum learning and wild-west reenactments.
Eisenhower Museum – If you grew up in Wichita, this was likely a field trip spot at one point or another, really great for WWII and history enthusiasts.
Seelye Mansion – Named one of the 8 wonders of Kansas – architecture, it has preserved the historic home furnishings from 1904 (including original Edison light fixtures).
Old Abilene Town – in the summer months, Historic Abilene has old western can-can dancers, gun fight reenactments, and more.
Brown Park Waterfall – this would be a nice pit stop on the way home, previously an old mill, this land now has a waterfall (no signs leading to the waterfall as it is off the beaten path).
Day Trips from Wichita: Oklahoma
(2 hours 30 minutes southeast of Wichita) It would be impossible to sum up all there is to do in Tulsa, so you can check that out the Tulsa Travel Guide here. But below are some of our favorites for a one-two day trip.
Gathering Place – you could spend more than one day playing at this beautiful, FREE, riverfront park. It’s been voted as America’s best new attraction by USA Today, one of the World’s Coolest Places by Time Magazine. And did we mention there is no admission fee? *Our best tip is to arrive right when the park opens (9 am) on a Sunday to avoid the large crowds.
Oklahoma Aquarium – technically in Jenks, OK, this aquarium is a family favorite! With a 300 pound sea turtle, shark tunnel (that you can walk under), and feeding schedules – this is easily a day trip as well. And there is a really great coral-themed playground when the weather is nice.
Eats + Sips
Bohemian Wood Fire Pizza – this is such a cool lunch spot with delicious pizza, calzones, and cocktails. The ambiance is fun, and we suggest eating on their patio when the weather is nice.
El Guapo’s – also a great option with a patio, delicious margaritas, and perfect to quench Mexican cravings.
Oklahoma City, OK
(2 hours, 30 minutes south from Wichita) OKC is such a favorite for so many reasons – namely, it’s close and there are so many great things to do for kids of all ages.
Oklahoma City Zoo – a family favorite for sure, and a must-do is petting the sting rays and watching the sea lion presentation! *50% off admission with SCZ membership
Science Museum – 350,000 square feet of science, art, and history – this museum is every child’s dream *Free with Exploration Place Membership
Outdoor + Parks
Myriad Gardens – tour the beautiful gardens and also enjoy the surrounding splash parks and fountains *Free with Botanica Membership
Scissortail Park – the ultimate playground for children of all ages, water fountains, seasonal roller rinks, and more – this is a great way to get out energy.
For more in-depth details about Visiting OKC – see below:
Little Sahara State Park (Waynoka, Oklahoma)
(2 hours 30 minutes southwest of Wichita) the central plain’s states very own “little desert”, this destination is a unique and fun option for families with older kiddos.
Little Sahara State Park (Sand Dunes of OK) – voted the best riding spot for ATVs in the midwest, you can rent ATVs from private vendors and spend the day exploring the desert-like terrain for only $10/day.
Turner Falls (Davis, Oklahoma)
(3 hours 30 minutes south of Wichita) south central Oklahoma is a great place to explore with the entire family and is a true hidden gem. It could be a day or weekend trip – and if you choose to stay, we recommend staying in Sulphur, Oklahoma.
Attractions & Outdoors
Turner Falls Park – this is such a unique and beautiful spot with hiking around the falls and all-day swimming adventures, perfect for a day trip.
Arbuckle Mountains – beautiful, wooded hikes great for the whole family (not too difficult for young children).
Chickasaw Country – several from our team have stayed in Chickasaw Country (Sulphur, OK) and had great experiences.
Day Trips from Wichita: Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
(2 hours 45 minutes northeast of Wichita) there is so much to do in Kansas City and surrounding suburbs from the downtown Plaza (especially during the holidays), restaurants and shopping, Crowne Center Plaza (ice skating), and more. Below are some of our reader favorites.
Union Station – an old train station, there are fun spots to eat, catch a movie, or traveling shows (it’s especially festive and fun during the holidays).
Science City – this is an indoor and outdoor science center with maker studios, playground equipment, crafting, science, and more. *FREE with Exploration Place Membership.
Crown Center – a family dream with outdoor ice skating, shopping, dining and an art-loving kid-favorite: Kaleidoscope.
Sea Life KC Aquarium – sea dragons, an ocean tunnel to walk underneath, Sting Ray Bay, and more *50% off with SCZ membership.
Eats & Sips
Fritz’s – the restaurant where you order your food by phone, and an overhead train delivers your meal.
Buca di Beppo – suggested over and over in our community groups, this Italian restaurant on the Plaza is a fan fave.
(4 hours, 20 minutes east of Wichita) Near the beautiful Ozarks and considered the “gateway to the great outdoors”, there is plenty to do for families in Springfield. Because the distance is a bit further, it would be a great getaway choice – probably best for a weekend as opposed to a one-day trip.
Fantastic Caverns – enjoy a 55 minute ride-through cave tour via Jeep.
Wonders of Wildlife – take the entire day to enjoy this part aquarium (1.5 million gallons!) and part wildlife gallery (3-D dioramas of wildlife habitats).
Bass Pro Shop – you can spend hours in the national headquarters, or as they have deemed themselves the “grandaddy of all outdoors stores”.
Discovery Center – interactive hands-on science museum *Free with Exploration Place Membership
(4 hours and 40 minutes southeast of Wichita, 50 minutes south of Springfield, MO) Branson is full of activities for families, both in warm and cold months. It definitely deserves a resource of its own as there are shows, museums, and tons of outdoor attractions including Table Rock Lake.
Table Rock Lake – this lake is known for its clear waters, perfect for boating, water sports, swimming, fishing, and so much more.
Hiking Trails – Branson is surrounded by beautiful, green wooded areas perfect for hiking and exploring.
Top of the Rock Tour – take a top of the rock tour to experience the full view of the Ozark Mountains and Table Rock Lake.
Silver Dollar City – a theme park complete with rides, a family raft adventure, shows, and tours of the Marvel Cave.
Lambert’s Cafe – between Springfield and Branson, this restaurant is fun for the whole family and is known as “home of the throwed rolls” (where they actually throw rolls to you while you dine). We hear to go early, and there will still likely be a wait.
Day Trips from Wichita: Arkansas
(4 hours southeast of Wichita) Home of the Walmart Headquarters, we see this one recommended a lot in community groups. With it being a four hour drive, you could make it a day trip if you woke up early enough, or would be a great weekend trip with plenty to do.
Crystal Bridges Museum– with drop in art-making, preschool activities, and workshops for children, this art museum that combines art and nature is a must-visit for the family. And it’s connected to a 120 acre park with over 4 miles of walking paths.
Amazeum – hands on learning activities throughout this museum *FREE with Exploration place membership
City Square – middle of the town near shopping, dining, parks, trails, and the Walton Five and Dime Museum.
(4 hours 25 minutes southeast of Wichita) Home of the University of Arkansas, this quaint college town is great for a “daycation” or an extended stay for the weekend after visiting Bentonville.
Botanical Garden of the Ozarks – twelve themed gardens, a native butterfly house, and hands-on learning for children of all ages. *Free with Botanica Membership
Lake Fayetteville – rent a boat or bikes and explore the beautiful outdoors at Lake Fayetteville with a 5.5 mile nature trail surrounding the lake.
Legoland in KC as well, it’s adjacent to Sealife.
Another lesser known spot is Leonardo’s Children’s Museum in Enid Oklahoma. It has a crazy fun outdoor play structure too. There is a fun little diner in town and we even try to swing over to Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater for dinner. But it’s worth the under 2 hour trip to go have fun!
The Amazeum in Bentonville is essentially next door to Crystal Bridges and is a fantastic children’s museum. My 7 and 4 year olds loved it. It’s free with a Science City membership (or any other ASTC member museum membership).