Traveling with kids from Kansas City is easier than ever. There are so many places to see within an eight hour drive, direct flight, or both! Here are a few of my favorite places to take the whole family and a few highlights in each city.
This one hour flight or eight hour car ride- can also be accomplished on the Amtrak train! My favorite way to visit is to fly into Midway and take the Orange line into the city. Find an Air BnB close to the museum district. If it is your first time, consider the Chicago Pass. This multi venue ticket offers free admission to many of the the museums as well as the Willis Tower. A favorite is the Museum of Science of Industry followed by the aquarium- but let’s face it - you can’t go wrong at any of them! My favorite time to visit is Labor Day. Snag a ticket to a Cubs Game at Wrigley Field, spend a lazy afternoon on the beach at Lake Michigan, and stroll up Lake Shore Drive for an after dinner ice cream treat.
2. San Antonio
Flights are less abundant than to Chicago, but still non-stop options are available, economical, and save you so much time! Stay at the Embassy Suites on the Riverwalk and be within walking distance of many of your favorite stops. Take a river cruise, visit the Alamo, and stroll by the amazing shops and restaurants along the way! Spend a day at sea world and take a ride on a roller coaster after the beluga whale show. Then, end your evening at the San Antonio zoo. This zoo is compact and easy to get through in just a couple of hours.
Whether choosing to stay in Denver proper or visit the mountains just outside, Denver has so much to do! The mix of outdoor exploring and new town charm will have the perfect activities for your family. Whether staying in town or venturing to Estes Park, be sure to spend at least one day doing something Colorado! Hike one of the endless trails! The Denver zoo is another great place for kids and is near downtown. My kids’ favorite exhibit was the snow leopard. They even brought their own Instax cameras to take pictures of the animals!
4. Onondaga Cave State Park
This amazing park just a four hour drive from Kansas City and offers so much small town charm. Rent a cabin at the state park if you prefer “glamping” over camping like I do. You will have multiple bedrooms and plumbing in your abode. The cave tours are incredible and full of science and exploration. Spend one day or night each in the small towns of Cuba and St. James to get the full experience.
5. Anna Maria Island
This destination does take some time traveling to get there, but it is worth it! Fly in to Tampa and then rent a car and drive about 75 minutes south to the small island of Anna Maria. Rent a place close enough to the beach that you can stroll the beach in the morning, walk home for lunch or an afternoon dip in the pool, and return for sunset after dinner. Many places are large enough for a crowd, so consider taking your favorite members of your extended family with you! Visit the Ugly Grouper time and again for casual outdoor seating, outdoor games, great food and a fun drink menu. Consider a half day boating tour if you plan to stay for the week.
BONUS: Reykjavík, Iceland
Yes, this one may seem like a stretch, but (at the time) Iceland was just a direct flight away! This under traveled country is full of natural wonders that will have you looking back at the photo book for years to come. Make your first stop the Blue Lagoon - the perfect place to unwind after the overnight flight. Check in to an Air BnB close the Harbor and take a family nap to sleep off a little bit of the jet lag. Head down to the Harbor district for a bite at the Bryggjan Brewgen. Be sure to stop by a market and purchase food for breakfast and maybe even lunch as eating out can be very expensive in Iceland. Pack a picnic and head on an adventure through the Golden Circle. Experience some of nature’s most incredible artwork - waterfalls, Geysir Park, hot springs, craters, and more! Hike to the top of the Halljmargen church for an epic view of town. If staying for more than a couple of days, head to the Southern Coast for even more natural wonders. There are also several museums in town as well as whale and puffin watching tours. Icelandair is no longer servicing Kansas City, however there are one stop flights through Minneapolis on Delta airlines.
Whether taking a family trip for the first time or trying to expand your travel wings, Kansas City offers the perfect launching point for your next family vacation. Happy planning!