Top I-70 Roadside Stops in Kansas | Midwest Living

Top I-70 Roadside Stops in Kansas

Follow our guide to find plenty to see and do minutes from Kansas’ 424 miles of Interstate-70. You can explore a wildlife area, step into the past or stretch your legs on a prairie trail.

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  • 1
    Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure.
  • 2
    Cozy Inn, Salina.
  • 3
    Kansas State University's campus in Manhattan.
  • 4
    Statue at Dwight D. Eisenhower Library & Museum.

WALLACE COUNTY View Mount Sunflower, the highest point in Kansas at 4,039 feet. From I-70, take Exit 1, then 22 miles south. Take in the panoramic views from the nearby picnic area. wallacecounty.net

GOODLAND See mammoth bones, teeth and tusks and a replica of the first patented helicopter, just a few of the hands-on exhibits at High Plains Museum. highplainsmuseum.org One block south, towers a 24- by 32-foot replica of one of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous sunflower paintings, mounted on an 80-foot-tall easel, created by Canadian painter Cameron Cross. Splash in the big pool and alternate slip-sliding down the water slides at Steever Water Park; tikes will enjoy the wading pool. cityofgoodland.org

COLBY Long before Colby became a major overnight spot for interstate travelers, this town was a hub for wheat-growing and ranching. The Prairie Museum of Art & History, on 24 acres, pays tribute to the area’s heritage. Walk through a one-room school, country church, homestead, sod house and 1936 Cooper Barn, reputed to be the biggest in Kansas. Inside, button, stamp and coin collections fascinate kids. Hint: Open a drawer to see hidden treasures. prairiemuseum.org

OAKLEY It’s hard to imagine, but western Kansas once formed the bottom of a vast ocean. The Fick Fossil and History Museum holds grisly proof—some 11,000 shark teeth collected nearby on the prairie. View many other plant and animal fossils, including the skull of a mosasaur, a 30-foot marine reptile, and a 15-foot-long prehistoric fish. On the western edge of town, a 16-foot-tall bronze statue captures Buffalo Bill on horseback chasing his favorite prey. discoveroakley.com

QUINTER Once a frontier landmark for pioneers, massive Castle Rock stands lonely vigil looming over the prairie and nearby chalk bluffs along the Smoky Hill River south of Quinter. To find it, turn south from I-70 onto Castle Rock Road; drive 14.6 miles. Turn east, then drive four miles to the Castle Rock turnoff, then north for about another mile. After you cross the cattle guard, a short drive brings you to the formation. naturalkansas.org

WAKEENEY Dubbed the Christmas City, this town of 1,720 salutes the season with more than 6,000 colorful lights and a 35-foot Christmas tree. wakeeney.org If you've got time to wander, the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway winds through 60 miles of this unique landscape. Along the way you’ll see rock outcroppings, native wildflowers and grasses. byways.org

ELLIS Walter P. Chrysler, an automotive pioneer, grew up in Ellis in the late 1800s. Learn about the innovator and his creations at the Chrysler Boyhood Home and Museum, which showcases his personal memorabilia as well as vintage Chryslers and Plymouths. kansastravel.org

HAYS Buffalo roam the plains at Hays’ Frontier Park. haysusa.com You also can visit Historic Fort Hays, built in 1865 as conflicts between settlers and prairie tribes began to boil. Several original buildings are open for tours. kansastravel.org The Sternberg Museum of Natural History features animated, life-size dinosaurs and a large collection of fossils. Visit the third-floor Discovery Room filled with hands-on activities for kids. sternberg.fhsu.edu

 

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