The colorful prairies, big blue skies, and long straight roads that lead us from town to town felt as though we were the only ones on the road at times, but we enjoyed each other’s company and the scenery. Siri kept taking me on backroads, and I was truly okay with that. It just looked a little different from the Interstate on Texas highways! And, much to my amazement, our multigenerational road trip through South Central Kansas turned out great. I suggest everyone travel with different generations to get the feel of it. Here’s what we did and how it went.
Our Multigenerational road trip through South Central Kansas was better than I expected.
Our road trip was a plan in the making for five months between Great Bend CVB and myself. I had several things to check off and to find places I thought my family would like to do. I love planning road trips, vacations, getaways, etc. My mom, grandson, Brody, and I left for Kansas the first part of this month to a state neither of us had been to. I know …I’m shocked I’ve never been to Kansas, but more so that my mom hadn’t.
We left out a day early because my house was in shambles because of a total gut job we are doing on our bathroom and painting the house inside and out. I wanted my mom to at least have a pleasant night’s rest before the big road trip. Off we go 3 hours north on I35 to Norman, Oklahoma, and spent the night in a Holiday Inn Express using my husband’s points.
The Perfect Road Trip Through South Central Kansas
Our road trip from Texas to South Central Kansas consisted of visiting four towns: Hesston, Lindsborg, McPherson, and Great Bend. This was a hosted road trip with Great Bend, and I was fortunate to bring my family along. Actually, they preferred I bring them, and each town was excited to host.
First Stop: Hesston, Kansas
With only a few hours in Hesston, we made the most of it at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains. The arboretum director took us on a lovely tour through the park and pointed out some Kansas native grasses and flowers we had never seen before. It was such a beautiful walk, and the weather was nice. Brody saw snakes, and mom and I marveled at the beautiful summer flowers throughout our tour.
The arboretum offers lectures, symposia, landscaping classes, field trips for children and adults. I was really impressed with what they offer their residents and thought that I don’t remember anywhere in Texas that offered that many activities to locals – and most were free. I learned one thing – those big bumpy green apples we Texans call ‘horse apples,’ they call them ‘hedge apples.’
Second Stop: Lindsborg, Kansas
Lindsborg, aka “Little Sweden USA,” is nestled in the Smoky Valley right off I135 and a perfect stop on our South Central Kansas road trip. We had a wonderful night’s stay, a fun day of shopping on Main Street where we found some cute Swedish souvenirs, fabulous food, and seeing decorated Dala horses on every corner.
Before heading to the hotel, we took a short drive to see Coronda Heights. It was recommended to us by several people, so we had to go. Sure glad we did. Brody and I went hiking, walked around inside the castle, and watching my mom climb to the top was a hoot to see. The view at the top was so beautiful. If you’re in the area, this place is a must-see.
The next morning before heading to our next destination, we stopped at the Blacksmith Coffee Shop on Main Street and had coffee and a danish.
Third Stop: McPherson, Kansas
Lots to discover in the town of McPherson. The locals there are so proud to be the home to the first Gold Medal Basketball Team awarded in the Olympic History – the Globe Refiners. McPherson boasts so much remembrance throughout the town, and we were amazed at the stories told.
We had fun walking around town, from shopping to eating at great places to finding the cutest candy shop on Main Street – The Pink Flamingo. Brody wasted no time picking out candy for the trip. Oh my gosh, if we weren’t on vacation, I don’t know if I would have let him eat all that candy …all at once as he did!
Noffy’s Deli and PUB was fabulous and they served really big hoagies, so Brody and I shared.
Maxwell Wildlife Refuge
One of the highlighted attractions of our trip was Maxwell Wildlife Refuge – an outdoor must-see attraction. Just a short drive outside of McPherson is this huge piece of land that bison, elk, and other animals roam. We took a tour and learned about the history of the land, what it was like out there hundreds of years ago, and got up close and personal with the bison and bison babies. Did you know a bison is a bison and not a buffalo? True – look it up!!
Forth And Final Stop: Great Bend, Kansas
Our last stop was Great Bend, Kansas, where everything in Great Bend is better than great!! I can now say I’ve been there. We had fun exploring their town, shopping, eating (more candy), driving out to the Cheyenne Bottoms and the Wetlands.
We came at a great time because Great Bend was having their annual June Jaunt festival and we got to play! Below is our painting on canvas creation that we had a ball doing. Brody was off playing with new friends he just met and having fun in the water and the bounce houses. Then mom and I watched while this guy jumped around on a pogo stick and made people laugh – that was amazing!
Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo
Another hit of our trip was visiting the Great Bend Zoo and taking a tour by the innkeeper. Brody got to feed the bears and a few other animals. I was thrilled to learn that the zoo has free admission for everyone. I’d never heard of that. My mom told me that when I was little, the Fort Worth Zoo was free to enter, but of course, not anymore. What a great place to take the kids whenever you want. Next door to the zoo is the water park. We all had fun there too.
I have to thank Christina at the Great Bend, KS CVB, for putting together this itinerary for my family. Our multigenerational road trip through South Central Kansas was a hit and a pleasure. My son is so excited that he gets to scratch off KANSAS on his travel map …and me too!