We are creatures of habit, but how does that apply to a vacation? We often associate feelings of positivity and comfort with familiarity, which is created by the repetition of tasks and the stability of certain things in our lives.
So, what is that one place where we feel the most familiar, the most comfortable, and the safest? Home!
During trying times, home is often where we turn. Statistics charting the travel patterns of Americans in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic reflect this tendency. The Transportation Security Administration reported a significant decrease in travelers across the United States since the start of the pandemic – which is reasonable, considering our natural desire to remain in the comfort of our home when life becomes uncertain. Although we must continue to be smart about maintaining our physical health, we also need to ensure our mental health, because it is just as important.
Structure and a consistent routine are healthy, but periodically it’s important to step back, take a deep breath, and do something different. Studies have shown that taking a break from the stressful aspects of our lives can be remarkably beneficial to both mental and physical wellbeing.
Taking a brief vacation is an excellent way to get that breath of fresh air and relax, but traveling vast distances isn’t always ideal. So, why not try a staycation? Staycations have been growing in popularity over the past few years, so let’s jump on the bandwagon.
You may be thinking, “This is Kansas. What is there to do around Kansas?” The answer is… a lot! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Kansas Museum of History
The Kansas Museum of History, located at 6425 SW Sixth Ave, Topeka, tells the story of Kansas. By strolling through this building, you will discover the history of our state’s natives, early and current settlements, early means of transportation, and monumental events that occurred on Kansas soil.
This museum features stunning exhibits displaying one of Santa Fe’s earliest locomotives, a biplane, tools used by Kansas natives, items belonging to historical figures, William Allen White’s printing press and so much more. The Kansas Museum of History is a wonderful destination if you’re looking to take a step into the past and uncover the history of your home state.
Weston, Missouri is great daytrip destination. It’s a small town located 77 miles from the heart of Topeka, but don’t let its size fool you. Weston is always a vibrant experience thanks to its unique restaurants, bars, historic sites, orchard and vineyard, winery, and the joyous hospitality of the locals. Weston hosts exciting events featuring live music and outdoor dining as the leaves begin changing colors.
For history buffs, some popular attractions are the Weston History Museum, Lewis & Clark Exhibit, and the Bonnell Museum which all give visitors a peak into the past. For those who want to see more nature and adventure, Weston Bend State Park and Snow Creek are beautiful places to visit that offer travelers an opportunity to admire God’s handiwork. Weston Bend State Park provides trails for hiking and biking that take explorers to scenic views of the Missouri River.
Snow Creek Mountain Resort is stationed on bluffs above the river about seven miles from the heart of the town. This mountain resort is open during the winter months with hours varying due to weather. It’s home to snowy slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. This resort also offers guests the opportunity to go snowtubing.
Weston prides itself in being the “best small town in Missouri” and for having attractions of all different types so that no matter what you’re looking for in your staycation, Weston has it.
The Kansas Statehouse, also known as the Kansas State Capitol Building, is another local attraction, located on 10th Avenue in downtown Topeka. Surprisingly, however, there are many Topeka locals whose only interaction with this magnificent building is driving by it.
Construction on the Statehouse started in 1866 and took 37 years to complete. In 2002, a 12-year-long renovation process began on the building to restore several murals, the dome, and other elements of this historical architectural piece. The Capitol’s exquisite murals reflect monumental events from Kansas’s history. The State Library with its glass floor is awe-inspiring. A trip to the Kansas Statehouse is both an educational and exciting experience.
The Capitol welcomes visitors Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM and Saturdays from 10AM to 1PM. Tours are free of charge during the week.
Wildwood Adventure Park
Wildwood Adventure Park is tucked into the Flint Hills near Manhattan, Kansas, which makes it only 56 miles from Topeka. It has 7 ziplines that will get your adrenaline pumping as you glide over the trees and catch glimpses of the beautiful Flint Hills. A full run on the ziplines takes about two hours to complete, and features a 40-foot freefall.
The Park also offers an exciting Trail Run that stretches for two miles, including more than 20 obstacles that are designed to build teamwork and provide an outlet for challenge seekers of all ages. This organized obstacle trek is happening on September 26, 2021 and is open to anyone who wants to join.
The Midwest has many astonishing vacation or staycation destinations if you take time to look for them. Staycations are great for helping us focus on simple yet important things and enjoy what’s already around us, while staying on a budget.
Sometimes, it’s the best option for a family vacation, so next time you find yourself in need of a break from the monotony of everyday life, consider staying close to home and taking a staycation. You deserve it!
–Sydney Hanna | Metro Voice