If you’re looking for day trips from Kansas City, we’ve got close family road trip ideas.
We know you don’t want to drive too far…
…but, there are great places for weekend trips nearby! Just a short 3 hour day trip with the family.
Explore the outdoors, find things to do in new cities, and bond with your family using these fun day trip ideas for kids!
12 Day Trips from Kansas City
Find day trips (or weekend trips) near me…
I am a big fan of getting out of town for a few days…but where to go? How far can we go?
My kids can make it 3 to 5 hours and then the questions start and the movies get old.
…so, we gathered 12 day trip ideas from Kansas City that are about a 3 hour trip from Kansas City. Check them out below!
Best Family Roadtrip Ideas from Kansas City
Get your family out of town…even if it’s just for a weekend trip!
(3 hours or less)
Branson, and the Lake of the Ozarks area in general, is one of the best 3 hour trips from Kansas City. There are so many things to do in Branson it is mindblowing; shopping at outlets, dining, amusement parks, go-karts, bumper cars & boats, duck rides, museums, & everything in between! You could spend a day or two at Silver Dollar City alone.
Be sure to check out shows like The SIX, Silver Dollar City, and the MASSIVE go-kart tracks! Your family is sure to find kids activities everyone will love.
There is also Lake of the Ozarks & Table Rock Lake nearby so you can cool off too. Visit Lake of the Ozarks State Park, which has fantastic camping, fishing, & great swimming areas! The park is situated on one of the largest lakes in the country, so you are sure to get a beautiful view.
Find more things to do in Branson now! The Ha Ha Tonka State Park is also not far from Branson, MO. Be sure to read below about the park, so you can stop by!
1491 State Road D, Camdenton, MO 65020
(2 hours, 41 minutes)
You can make this it’s own weekend trip or stop by while you are in the Lake of the Ozarks area.
Ha Ha Tonka State Park is located in the Lake of the Ozarks area. You can definitely make it one of the best weekend trips from Kansas City in Ozarks. There are lakes, trails, and you can head over to Branson for fun too! YOu can rent boats & jetskis at local marinas and swim till your hands turn pruney!
If you like hiking then this state park is the place for you! One of the highlights is a turn of the century castle built high on a bluff and more than 15 miles of walking trails. These trails lead to sinkholes, natural bridges, caves and of course to the lake itself! Just head down for the day and pack a lunch for a picnic or decide to make a camping trip out of it!
1000 S. Hawkins Lane, Goddard, KS 67052
(3 hours, 8 minutes)
Tanganyika Wildlife Park is a great 3 hour trip from Kansas City. It is a family-owned zoo with one of the largest animal collections in Kansas.
There are over 40 exhibits, including several interactive stations, for your kids day trip. This is definitely one to add to your list.
Tanganyika is the only place in the US where you can interact with ring-tail lemurs in their island habitat and feed Indian rhinos and pygmy hippos. From most of the reviews that I read, it is a great place for younger kids—more animals in a smaller area to save their little legs (and grandparents too!).
If you are looking for other fun things to do near Wichita, KS, check out the ideas below!
Wichita, Kansas Trip
(3 hours, 20 minutes)
Wichita is home to the Museum of World Treasures
, which has an extensive World War II collection as well as shrunken heads, dinosaurs, ancient Egyptians, and everything in between. The Exploration Place
, a science education center, is also filled with fun kids activities and things to do. Your kids will explore a variety of hands-on activities & exhibits…think of it like the Science City of Wichita. Check out the Exploration Place calendar of events
to see what’s happening while you are there.
Wichita also has its’ own amusement park, All Star Adventures
! There are go-karts, bumper boats, mini golf, slides, kiddie copters, a driving range & many other family activities. You can find other things to do with kids in Wichita, KS at the VisitWichita site.
(45 minutes to an hour)
Even though Topeka is our state capital, most people haven’t explored it! There are tons of fun things to do like the Topeka Zoo & Shawnee Lake. Check out our top 6 things to do with kids while in Topeka. It is way less than a 3 hour trip from Kansas City, so perfect if you are trying to make the full trip in a single day.
(3 hours and 50 minutes)
Eureka Springs prides itself on its fabulous festivals. I personally love the St. Patrick’s day celebration and have participated many times, but there are several more throughout the summer—just check to make sure they would be fun for the kids! It is the perfect place for a day or weekend trip from Kansas City!
The city itself is nestled in the Arkansas hills and has great hiking & outdoor adventures. There are tons of eccentric shops and art galleries to explore too. You can always find good music in many areas of the city, especially during Blues Weekend.
Plan on staying the night in either The Crescent or The Basin. Both have their share of ghost stories, but their true draw is how they pull you into the vintage feel of the city. I have stayed at both but I don’t think got an ounce of sleep because the lights were always on and I was constantly checking under the
Rogers, Fayetville, Springdale
(3 hours, 15 minutes)
There are tons of great family things to do in Northwest Arkansas…not to mention the scenery!
There is the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, Charlie & Willie George Park, & TONS of great hiking. Check out the family resources for Northwest Arkansas for more fun things to do with kids at the link above.
(2.5 – 3 hours)
While Des Moines isn’t the most attractive city to visit, there are tons of things to do with kids in Des Moines. Explore Adventureland Themepark, which includes an outdoor waterpark & theme park as well as indoor pools. Or, your family can check out the Science Center of Iowa, where learning is brought to life.
There are fun kids activities here that make learning fun! There are also areas with tons of room to play, like Pappajohn Sculpture Park or the Des Moines Botanical Gardens. The sculpture park is a great place for kids to play while enjoying the artwork…plus it’s free! You can also enjoy some yummy ice cream at Black Cat Ice Cream, just across the street from the sculpture park.
Don’t miss Iowa’s wildest adventure at Blank Park Zoo or find fun things to do outside like Gray’s Lake Park, the Living History Farms, or the Iowa State Fairgrounds (if you can make the trip during the IA State Fair). There’s also the State Capitol Building and the downtown farmer’s market.
12716 Farm Road 2239, Cassville, MO 65625
(3 hours, 17 minutes)
I grew up in Southwest Missouri, so I have spent quite a bit of time exploring the Roaring River. The Roaring River State Park is a great day trip, or weekend trip from Kansas City.
Trout fishing is obviously its biggest draw but there are great things to do and see for the whole family.
The park is one of the premier trout fisheries in the nation and stocked each night. There are also 7 trails that lead through the hills, including Deer Leap trail that overlooks the fish hatchery. There are options to camp as well, including renting a cabin for the weekend.
(2 hours, 40minutes)
Omaha, Nebraska is even shorter than 3 hour trip from Kansas City. Take advantage of this fun & inexpensive city with these things to do with kids. There is the famous Henry Doorly Zoo, the Wildlife Safari Park, Aerospace Museum, beautiful state parks for hiking, the Omaha Children’s Museum, the Rose Theater, & tons of free things to do throughout the year.
Check online to find tons of fun things to do online on our partner site.
(3 to 3 and a half hours)
Depending on where you are road tripping from in Kansas City, St. Louis isn’t that far.
There are too many things to do with kids in St. Louis for just one day, so make a weekend road trip out of the day trip! You can explore the St. Louis arch, Bird Museum, World Aquarium, Magic House Children’s Museum, and many other kids activities. Check out our St. Louis Road Trip post for more ideas of things to do in St. Louis.
622 46th Avenue Amana, IA 52203
(4 hours, 29 minutes)
While this is longer than the 3 hour trips from Kansas City, the Amana Colonies have something for everyone. The colonies host events each weekend, from a dog speed racers competition to woodworking festivals, so there is always something to do. They celebrate a rich heritage in arts and crafts and taking visitors away from the hustle and bustle of busy life…check it out for your next weekend trip out of KC.
In fact the Wurst Festival, a celebration of all things sausage, was named the Best New Event of 2015 by the Iowa Tourism Commission. There are many places to stay camping, bed and breakfasts, and hotels nearby.
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What are some of your favorite places to visit near the metro? Let us know in the comments!