If you want to take a trip this summer, the best way to make it affordable is to drive and to stay nearby.  

You’ve been in St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Dallas more times than you can remember. Why not try something a little different this year, take in some new sites and a little bit of culture?

There are lots of great stops along I-70 between Topeka and Colorado. Pick just one, or put several stops together for a close-to-home getaway that doesn’t require much gas.   

Topeka, KS:  

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

Travel time: from KC 1 hr; from Wichita 2 hr

The story of Brown v. Board of Education, which ended legal segregation in public schools, is one of hope and courage. Gain an understanding and appreciation of the role this 1954 Supreme Court decision played in the Civil Rights Movement. Admission is free. 

Wamego, KS: Oz Museum 

Between Topeka and Salina on I-70

Travel Time: From KC 1 hr 40 min; from Wichita 2 hr 15 min

With 2,000+ artifacts on display, the Oz Museum is a fantastic way to go in depth on everything Oz. Offering an experience that attracts visitors from around the globe, the Oz Museum covers Oz history all the way from the earliest L. Frank Baum books to modern adaptations.

A portion of the Oz Museum in Wamego, a small town near Manhattan, Kansas. The museum, portraying scenes and figures from the fanciful “Wizard of Oz” book and movie just about had to be located in Kansas, as it was the character Dorothy’s fictional home. The museum includes lifelike figures of Oz characters and more than 2,000 artifacts, including first-edition books by “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” author Frank Baum.

Victoria, KS: Cathedral of the Plains   

Travel time: from KC 3 hr 45 min; from Wichita 2 hr 45 min

The Basilica of St. Fidelis, commonly known as the Cathedral of the Plains, is a Romanesque-style Roman Catholic parish church in Victoria, KS. Basilicas are distinguished from other churches for ceremonial purposes. The twin towers are 141 feet tall.

Hays, KS: Sternberg Museum of Natural History

Travel time: from KC 4 hr; from Wichita 3 hr 

Take a step back 65 million years and see Kansas and Colorado during the late Cretaceous Epoch, when this area was a big ocean. See historic animals from that sea as well as those on land.

Nicodemus, KS: African-American Historic Site 

Travel time: from KC 5 hr; from Wichita 3 hr 15 min

Nicodemus is the oldest and only remaining Black settlement west of the Mississippi River. In 1996, five historic buildings in the settlement were declared a unit of the National Park System.  The small town’s population swells as natives and others arrive for the city’s annual Homecoming Emancipation Celebration. This year’s celebration is July 27-30.

A couple of stops we didn’t mention along I-70:  

Abilene is the home of the Eisenhower Museum. It was just rated the best small city to visit in America.  

Junction City has the Buffalo Soldier Monument.  If you really want to go the distance, check our Monument Rock Natural Landmark and Castle Rock, west of Hays. Both are composed of 70-foot tall sedimentary formations of Niobrara Chalk created by erosion of a sea bed formed more than 65 million years ago