Wichita is the biggest city in Kansas and is located on the Arkansas River in the south-central part of the state. This area is in the heart of the US Great Plains and has played a major role in the US cattle industry. It also played key roles in the migration of people from east to west and is now a major industrial hub for the aircraft industry. With all the history and modern activity, there is a lot to see and do here.
The Museum of World Treasures is a great place to start your Wichita adventure. This museum is home to permanent exhibits featuring amazing historical artifacts from nature, the military, American history, and global civilizations. It's one of the only places in the world where you can see fossils from prehistoric times, ancient Greek armor, American civil war rifles, and chunks of the Berlin wall all in one museum. It's like traveling around the world in a time machine while walking through a single building.
For a more interactive historical perspective, try heading out to Old Cowtown. This is a historic town/museum that is designed to reflect what life was like in the region during the 1860s and 1870s. There are 57 buildings in all and a number of them are historical buildings that have been moved to the site from other areas of Wichita or around Kansas. The others have been constructed around them to rebuild the “town” atmosphere it represents. Museum staff are dressed in period clothes and work the town in period roles. A stop here is really like stepping back in time and makes for a fun day with the family.
The Great Plains Transportation Museum is an awesome place to get some history on the railroad in this part of the country. There are several examples of railroad equipment here to tour including locomotives from all the major time periods in railroading.
For shopping and dining try visiting the Old Town district in downtown Wichita. This hip area is home to many historic buildings that have been converted to modern shops and restaurants. It is also home to the Wichita Farmers market which is a great place to pick up some supplies for your trip to Cheyenne.
North Star RV park is a great place to stay here. It is located off I-135 on the route out of town to Cheyenne. It is a highly rated park with excellent amenities located just 20 minutes from downtown Wichita. The trip to
Cheyenne is an easy drive. Simple head north out of Wichita on I-135 to I-70. Then take I-70 to Denver. From Denver, head north on I-25 to Cheyenne. This route flat, from I-25 you can see the Rocky Mountains, but it travels over flat land parallel to them. The biggest concern for this trip is wind. If you are driving a large vehicle like an RV over this route, the winds of the Great Plains can give you some issues. This isn't something to be overly concerned about. If you encounter them, simply slow down and take your time.
Just off of I-70 in Hays, Kansas is a gem of a natural history museum. The Sternberg Museum of Natural History is a Fort Hays State University facility focusing on the natural history of the Kansas region. Kansas is an unusual area that has surface rocks ranging from 66 to 350 million years old spread across the state. These rocks are rich with fossils and this museum houses a research center that collects and studies them. Many of them end up on public display in the exhibits throughout the public area of the museum.
In addition to the excellent locally sourced fossil collection there are also several displays of fossils from other regions. They also have extensive collections and exhibits of items in other science disciplines including zoology and entomology.
If you want to make this an overnight stay then Creekside Resort Campground is an excellent choice. This highly rated campground has RV sites as well as cabins for those traveling by car. It is located right in town and convenient to the museum.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is a natural rock amphitheater/park complex located just southwest of Denver. The outdoor amphitheater seats over 9500 people and the entire structure is carved out of the red rock mountainside. The rock outcroppings surrounding the stage and seating areas give the venue a unique and amazing atmosphere. There are frequent shows and events held here including a broad variety of national and local acts. The surrounding park encompasses over 850 acres of land and is a popular place for hiking and exercise.
Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood, CO is a good place to stay overnight in the area. The campground has primitive and RV camping sites as well as cabin and yurts for those traveling in cars.
When visiting a new place it's always nice to find some food that is unique to the area. In the Denver area, the Mountain Pie is one of those things and Beau Jo's Colorado Style Pizza is where this local favorite was born. The mountain pie is a deep-dish pizza on steroids. The crust is formed to make more of a giant bowl than a deep dish crust. The interior space is then loaded with tons of toppings and cheese. These things are massive with the Xtra large pie weighing in at five lbs. They offer several standard pies in several different sizes and you can customize your pie with a wide variety of toppings. They also have several other menu choices if someone in your group would prefer something else.
There are several locations to choose from and all the sites in the Denver area are highly rated. The Idaho Springs location is the original site and the highest-rated. It is about a 30-minute drive up into the mountains west of Denver making it well worth the drive.
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the national park system and nobody should pass up an opportunity to visit this gem. Traveling through the park is like driving through a postcard regardless of the time of year you visit. There is almost nowhere you can go to escape the beauty.
There are several roads running through the park so it is possible to see quite a bit just by driving. Old Fall River Road and Trail Ridge Road are the park's two main scenic drives. However, this is truly a hiker's dream park. If you can get out of the car and do some hiking then by all means do. One great place to get started is Bear Lake. The drive up to the lake, located at 12,000 feet, along Bear Lake Road is beautiful. There are several trailheads along the way that offer great hikes. The lake itself is beautiful and fairly small. There is a trail that runs around the lake which is a fairly flat easy hike. There are also several longer trails branching off from here, some of which loop back to the Moraine area that can be done in a day.
These are strenuous hikes, but well worth the effort. The best way to do them is to park the car in Moraine and take the free shuttle up to Bear Lake and hike back down. Its about 17 miles taking the route via Fern Lake and largely downhill. Depending on the time of year, there can be several mountain snowfield crossings. Make sure you check conditions at the ranger station before heading out.
One other thing to note about hiking here. This is the Rocky Mountains and it is in fact rocky. Tennis shoes are a bare minimum for hiking here and they will only be good for very short hikes. If you plan on going more then a few hundred yards make sure you have footwear with a more rigid bottom like medium-grade hiking shoes or better yet high-grade hiking boots. Your feet will thank you later.
Estes Park is the closest town to the park, Loveland is the closest town to I-25 with easy access to the park. There are good campgrounds in both towns that can provide a place to stay the night. Estes Park offers proximity while Loveland allows you to visit the park without driving the RV through the mountains if you have another vehicle. Boyd Lake State Park is a good choice in Loveland, try Manor RV Park in Estes Park.
Cheyenne, WY is a quintessential frontier town. In fact, one of the biggest events held here annually is Cheyenne Frontier Days. This is a major celebration of the area's western roots lasting over a week in mid/late July and it is one of the most recognized festivals in the US. The event is part carnival, part rodeo, part live entertainment, and all fun. The size and significance of Cheyenne Frontier Days means that people from all over the country will converge on this small city at once. This can make finding a place to stay difficult. RV Parks can be booked solid for hundreds of miles months in advance. If you plan on staying in the area during this time, make sure you book your sites well in advance.
If you visit during a different time or wish to avoid the craziness of the festival then try visiting the Wyoming State Museum. This outstanding museum houses and displays many historical artifacts from throughout the state. Permanent exhibits covering Native American life, prehistoric life, the wildlife, coal industry and the people in general in Wyoming.
To experience the “real Wyoming” stop by the Wyoming Hereford Ranch. This 60,000 acre ranch is the oldest continuously operating livestock facility in the country. Originally started in 1883, this ranch has been a fixture in the area ever since. There is a visitor's center, or you can just drive through on the public roads.
There are two other great things to do in the area if you have kids. First is the Terry Bison Ranch where you can visit, and hand feed, a small herd of Bison via an old train. In addition to bison, you will also see ostrich, camels and other animals. They also offer horseback rides and other activities that the whole family can enjoy.
The other kid-friendly attraction is Paul Smith Children’s Village at the Botanical Gardens. This park is a beautiful and fun place for the kids to safely play and explore. Located in the Botanical gardens, it is a great stop on a family trip through this beautiful area.
AB Camping and RV Park is located on the south side of town and provides a clean, quiet and convenient place to stay.