COVID-Conscious Day Trips from Kansas City

Who is up for a day trip? In these times? Okay I understand your hesitancy, but what if I told you, you could take your family on a road-trip that was Covid-conscious, family friendly, and within driving distance of Kansas City? 

I am not going to sugarcoat it. We live in Kansas City, smack in the middle of the country, so none of my suggestions are going to compare to the serenity of the ocean or to breath-taking mountain vistas, but these mid-west destinations all offer beauty in their own right and quite-frankly, at least it is a place to be and a new experience to devour!

COVID-era Road Trip Packing List

  • Masks/Hand Sanitizer/Sanitizing wipes
  • Snacks/Water
  • Toilet paper and/or Travel potty (just in case a safe, indoor option is  unavailable)
  • Sunscreen and other sun protection (hats, sunglasses)
  • Bug spray
  • Swimsuits/towels
  • Picnic blanket, plates, cutlery 
  • An extra change of clothes and shoes
  • Yard games and toys
  • Patience, a sense of humor, and a good playlist!
Every destination on this list fits these COVID-conscious and family friendly criteria:
  • The attraction must be an outside activity.
  • Visitors can drive there and back in a day so they don’t have to spend the night away.
  • Visitors must have space to socially distance from others.
  • The destination is under 3 hours away (yes a 3 hour one-way trip with littles is pushing it, but desperate times call for desperate measures!) 

Please do remember that parks and outdoor attractions are experiencing a higher volume of visitors during this time. Remember to check the destinations’ websites before you go to see if you need to purchase a time slot or to be made aware of any public health measures. 

Blast into the past of the wild frontier in Jackson County, Missouri (30 minute drive) 

This day trip will have your family reenacting the Oregon trail—well the good parts at least! So hitch-up your wagons and pack-up your churned butter to head east to Jackson County. I strongly encourage asking your children to call you “Ma” and “Pa” all day as you explore old settlements and try not to step in bison patties!

Missouri Town 1855 

25 original structures all dating from the Mid-1800s have been gathered onto this idyllic piece of property just east of Kansas City. While you are there, you can spot settlers in authentic 1800’s clothing, as well as old farming equipment, and several adorable farm animals. *Mask required for entry*

Native Hooved Animal Enclosure

Located within Fleming Park and just outside the gates of Missouri Town 1855, is the 110 acre elk, bison, and white-tailed deer enclosure! Where else can you get up close and personal with a herd of bison?

If you want to add a little more to your day, drive 40 minutes north to visit… 

Fort Osage National Historic Landmark

Hailing from a time before Missouri was even a state, Fort Osage is a partially reconstructed 1808 military outpost.  *Mask Required for Entry*

Top-Rated Restaurants in the area offering take-out:

Enjoy self-picked fruit and sweeping views in Weston, Missouri (40 Minute drive)

Historic Weston Orchard and Vineyard

Gather some U-pick fruit (peaches, blackberries, and apples!) and sip some wine on this sprawling property.

Weston Bend State Park

Hike or bike trails that weave around the Missouri River. Be sure not to miss the scenic overlook!

Top-Rated Restaurants in the area offering take-out:

Relax on the Beach and tour wineries in Miami County, Kansas  (50 minute drive)

Hillsdale State Park

This state park has two swimming beaches, a windsurfing beach, hiking trails, a model airplane flying field, Equestrian trails, biking trails, fishing, and boating. You can even rent a boat from the local marina. 

Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery

What could be better than roaming through a picturesque vineyard while sipping from a delicious glass of wine? With home-grown wine, non-alcoholic beverages, and plenty of beautiful space to spread out, Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery is adult, kid, and pup friendly! Most Weekends they have live music and food trucks. Be sure to check their calendar to make sure they are not closed for a private event!

NightHawk Winery

You are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy on the property and they will provide the beverages! They also have live music and food on the weekends so be sure to check their calendar!

Top-Rated Restaurants in the area offering take-out:


Visit the Capital City via Bicycle! – Jefferson City, Mo (2 hour 30 minute drive)

Missouri State Capitol

Explore the grounds and steps surrounding the Missouri state capitol. You might even spot Lewis and Clark themselves!

Explore one of the many bike trails offered in the area

If you can’t bring your own bikes, you can rent them at Red Wheel Bike Rentals .

Drive to: The Museum of Missouri Military History

Outside the museum you can look at: an F-15 Eagle fighter, F-4 Phantom II fighter, Sherman tank, Sheridan Tank, as well as a C-130 Hercules. You can venture inside to see the rest of the museum at your own risk.

Top-Rated Restaurants in the area offering take-out:

Awaken your inner bear and baroness!

Explore the castle and caves at Ha Ha Tonka State Park (2 hour 40 minute drive)

While quite the drive away, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is definitely worth the tank of gas. The European-style castle ruins are reason enough to put the pedal to the metal! There is much more to explore beyond the castle, including sinkholes, a natural rock bridge, bluffs, caves, Missouri’s 12th largest spring, and the Lake of the Ozarks. Island Cave is currently the only open cave in the park. To visit the cave, you must obtain a permit from the park office. It is recommended that you call ahead to secure a caving spot. 

Top-Rated Restaurants in the Area

Honorable Mentions:
  • Powell Gardens (45 Minute drive)
    Powell Gardens, or “Kansas City’s Botanical Gardens” is large enough to fill much of your day with exploration. I personally am most interested in “the nation’s largest edible landscape”!
  • Lake Paradise Resort (45 minute drive)
    This is a camping resort on a small lake that also boasts the largest pool in Missouri! They allow day pass visits. Word on the street is that this little resort has new owners and is on the up and up!

Currently Open Lake Swimming Beaches:

We all need to break free from the hustle and bustle of the city from time to time. I hope you and your family are able to have a successful and safe trip. Wherever you explore, wear masks, keep space, wash your hands, and have fun!

Kelsey Pomeroy
Kelsey was born and raised in Branson, Mo. It was there, in the town that boasts the “World’s Largest Banjo” that she met her husband, Samuel. It was his first day at a new high school and she was the only person to say “Hi” to him that day, so he married her! A decade later and now they take up residence in KC-adjacent-Suburbia, but tell out-of-state people they are from “Kansas City” because it is way easier. Kelsey taught high school English for 6 years, but now she stays home to hang out with her adorable toddler, Theodore. Her passions include traveling (34 countries and counting!), playing board games, writing murder mystery parties, reading, and talking to as many people as possible.