For most of us this summer will be a lot different than our past summers. With COVID-19 many people are looking for outdoor adventures that they can do safely while social distancing. We’ve put together a list of great outdoor escapes that you can do this summer along Kansas I-70.
Are you ready for some fresh air and sunshine? Wanting to see beautiful sunrises and sunsets? Wanting to take a peaceful walk on a lovely winding walking trail? How about seeing numerous combines cutting large fields of wheat? If so, then you need to put a trip to Colby on your calendar for July. Did we mention the Colby Aquatic Park?
Colby has many outdoor activities like golf, volleyball and tennis. We also have an amazing Trap Club for Skeet and Trap shooting. Colby offers outdoor walking trails as well as a downtown walking tour that features our older buildings and stately architecture. If you are a flower and gardening buff, you will love the K-State Experiment Station. There are hundreds of wonderful plants to view and enjoy.
For more information, visit: http://oasisontheplains.com/
Oakley – Your Gateway to Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park
Kansas’ newest state park is now open. Acquired by The Nature Conservancy, this collection of Niobrara chalk outcroppings has had many names. Some say that it got the name “Little Jerusalem” or “New Jerusalem” because from a distance it looks like the ancient walled city of Jerusalem. In partnership with Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism, the site has been designated as Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park.
Here’s what to know before you go:
- Visitors will need to purchase a permit for $5 at the park or have an annual Kansas state parks vehicle pass.
- The park is open to visitors from sunup to sundown daily, all year round.
- Stay on the marked trails. There is a 1/4 mile scenic overlook trail and a 1 1/2 mile self-guided trail.
- Naturalist guided hikes into the outcroppings are available. Check the schedule for guided tours at https://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Kansas-Outdoor-Events
- No inside facilities are available. Portable restrooms are at the entrance.
- No bikes, ATV’s or UTV’s
- Dogs on leashes are welcome. Please clean up after your pets.
- Take water, wear closed toed shoes or hiking boots, and take nothing from the site.
For more information, visit https://www.visitoakleyks.com/little-jerusalem
Take a break from I-70 at WaKeeney and explore the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway for a great change of pace. This scenic 60-mile drive begins and ends on I-70, only 8 miles apart. For directions and more information visit: WaKeeney.org.
Cedar Bluff Reservoir, State Park & Wildlife Area is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. Along the byway, view native wildflowers and grasses, colorful agricultural crops, historic as well as modern windmills and natural wonders and limestone bluffs. The byway is steeped with abundant history of the westward movement along the Smoky Hill Trail and is filled with the history of early settlers who homesteaded in the area, such as the Swedish Emanuel Lutheran Church, the Volga-German Zion Lutheran Church and the Wilcox School-District #29. See you on the road.
For more information, visit: https://www.wakeeney.org/smoky-valley-scenic-byway
Hays has plenty of free and affordable outdoor fun for all ages. Families can beat the heat at the Hays Aquatic Park with water slides, kiddie pool and lazy river for only $3/kids and $4/adults. Take a self-guided walking tour of historical markers in Downtown Hays and see where history was made during Hays’ Wild West days. Fine tune your swing at the Hays Municipal Golf Course or try a round of mini golf at Precision Valley Golf. In Frontier Park you’ll find trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, disc golf and Hays’ own bison herd! Download a free Visitors Guide and map at VisitHays.com.
SculptureTour Salina (STS) is the PERFECT activity for the family, for date night or for part of your girlfriend getaway. In its 10thexhibition year, SculptureTour Salina features 19 sculptures along Santa Fe Avenue, the heart of our recently rejuvenated downtown district. Among eclectic local shops and eateries, wonderful museums and theatres, public art is part of the downtown vibe.
Pick up a STS Brochure/Ballot from a downtown merchant and begin your journey. You’ll see traditional bronze, representative and figurative works. The works are on display until early April each year, and a new exhibit is historically unveiled in early May. Artists are from across the U.S., and YOU get to vote for your personal favorite! Return your ballot to a silver ballot box downtown or a merchant and the winning piece (at the end of the calendar year) will be purchased to stay in the community. Everyone can vote…locals, visitors, youngsters and youngsters at heart. Learn more at: sculpturetoursalina.com
Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t explore the outdoors and what better place to visit than Brown Memorial Park in Abilene, Kansas!
Explore the waterfalls, walk the nature trails, play a round of disc golf or simply picnic in one of the park’s shelter houses.
For directions and more information, visit: AbileneKansas.org/waterfall
As the corona virus spreads, government health officials warn about social contact and avoiding large groups of people. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. The outdoors is still open for business, and if you’re not under a stay-at-home order, this would be a great time to practice some social distancing at Milford Reservoir in northeast Kansas.
Milford Lake is known as The Fishing Capitol of Kansas. It
is the largest lake in the State and has 163 miles of shoreline where you’ll
find sandy swimming beaches and 14 public ramps for launching boats, canoes or
The lake has both public and private campgrounds, a resort, RV sites, cabins and primitive camping sites.
For more information, visit: www.junctioncity.org
Come follow the walking trail in Historic Lecompton. The map is printable from our website and takes you on an easy walk through Lecompton where you will get to see our historic buildings including Constitution Hall, the Territorial Capital Museum located in the Lane University building, Democratic Headquarters and more!
For those water sports enthusiasts, come launch your canoe at Rising Sun boat ramp on the north side of the Kansas River and enjoy bird and animal watching along the shoreline!
For more information, visit: www.lecomptonkansas.com
Let Lawrence’s local outdoor expert, Marissa, show you around the outdoors of Lawrence. With the mantra “Leave No Trace” in mind, Marissa loves to walk and jog around the parks and trails of Lawrence, Kansas with her energetic pug mix, Frankie. She balances dual roles at the University of Kansas, being an employee and nontraditional student. Because Marissa believes that finding outdoor adventures is for everyone, she appreciates Lawrence’s efforts to make outdoor areas and activities accessible and inclusive.
Zip KC is your ultimate Kansas City zip line adventure. Soar high above the bluffs of the Kansas River on nine zip lines stretching over 5,800 feet and reaching speeds up to 50 mph! Come experience a high flying adventure less than 30 min from Downtown Kansas City.
For more information, visit: https://zipkc.com/
The City of Leavenworth offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about exciting people, places and events that contribute to Leavenworth’s storied past. You can walk or drive this self-guided tour. Each wayside displays both a graphics and audio element that tells about one of Leavenworth’s most famous people, places or events.
Get out an about in Shawnee! Just south of I-70, Shawnee Mission Park is one of Kansas’ most visited parks and offers a large variety of activities for anyone to enjoy. The park is expansive and features a 120-acre lake with swimming beach and marina, 11 shelters, numerous picnic areas, nature trails, play areas, an archery range, a 44-acre dog off-leash area, an 18-hole disc golf course, mountain biking and hiking trails, equestrian trails and is home to an outdoor Theater in the Park. It’s safe to say you can spend a whole day and evening enjoying it!
Shawnee also has a number of smaller city parks that each offer trails, playgrounds, sports fields and other ways to spend time soaking in some sunshine for an afternoon. Bring the entire family and enjoy a day of wonderful weather in the outdoors in Shawnee.
For more information, visit: https://www.visitshawneeks.com/business-directory/shawnee-mission-park/
Kansas City, KS Murals Tour is the perfect social distancing activity to enjoy with family and friends this summer.
Murals change the landscape of a community, bringing together colors and paint to celebrate the history and diversity of an area. In Kansas City, KS, The Avenue of Murals project includes eight murals in a four-block corridor along Minnesota Avenue. These murals highlight the culture and individuality of the communities that live and work in Kansas City, KS. Each mural tells a different story of the people who have settled in the area. One honors the importance of family and culture in the African American community, while another is a tribute to Mexican folklórico dancing. Others paint portraits of lives that have been led in the city throughout the years. But the murals don’t stop on Minnesota Avenue – walk or drive around just about any neighborhood and you might find another new painting to appreciate.
For more information, visit: https://www.visitkansascityks.com/listing/downtown-kansas-city-ks-avenue-of-murals/307/