Cheap Travels Guide: Kansas
Cheap travels is an advantage of a road trip.
Another advantage of a Road Trip in the USA is getting to visit places that you might not normally think of as a destination, but they are a fascinating and fun stop along the way.
These little places to stop are part of what makes great family vacations so great.
A recent road trip across the USA brought us near eastern Kansas.
Was there anything interesting to see in that neck of the woods? We are always looking for spots to recommend as cheap travels that are hidden gems to add a bit of learning and meaning to our family friendly vacations.
After consulting the maps, our trip was diverted through Kansas and was intent on one particular travel destination - the true site of the "Little House on the Prairie".
Little House on the Prairie
As an avid reader of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little Books, I was delighted that a road trip would be taking us near the part of Kansas where the site located. This is the location of the family homesite from 1869-1971.
What we also noticed is that a person truly had everything they really needed in a small log cabin like this one. A place to prepare your food, eat it, and then sleep. Made us think about our own home, and although we don't have a particularly large home, why do we need so much space today? Maybe cheap travels could extend to a cheaper way of living more frugally all the time?
Another thing we noticed, on a warm July day, is how cool it was in the cabin. It was really built to take advantage of the natural breezes.
Also at the site is a hand dug well (remember the chapter in the book of them digging the well?). In addition some other period buildings have been moved to the site to explore.
It was fun to stand on the prairie and know that not much had changed since Laura's day. The views are the same ones she would have seen so long ago.
Inexpensive Family Vacations
Admission is on the honor system. There is a collection box at the front of the property, and there is a nice little gift shop. I happily supported their efforts to maintain this history and literary tourist attraction.
Before arriving at this cheap travel destination, we spent the night in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. There was plenty of very affordable lodging there, as well as places to eat. Nice to have such options for cheap family vacations.
More Road Trip Planner Sites
As we drove out of Bartlesville, Oklahoma toward Kansas, we drove thru the town of Dewey, which has a museum devoted to the silent movie star Tom Mix. Unfortunately, we didn't get to visit because the museum wasn't open yet for the day when we drove thru town. A reason to return another day for more cheap travels adventures!
Anyway, Tom Mix was the "King of the Cowboys" and stared in over 300 silent films. He was the good-guy cowboy hero, and influenced our sterotypes of the "good guy" vs. "bad guy" and cowboys. So the museum devoted to him should be interesting. If you have visited, tell me about it.
After visiting the Little House, we were on our way to Missouri via Independence, Kansas, and as we left town we drove over the Verdigris River.
Yes, THE Verdigris River mentioned so many times in the book. We turned the car around a couple of times to go back and forth over the bridge. We also found out that the area was the site of a long ago battle.
Part or our cheap travels fun is discussing and comparing the places we visit with our own home state.
We found that the part of Kansas we visited is very rural. We had not visited the state before, but found that it was very pretty, truly with "waving fields of grain". The roads we took carried us thru several very small towns. One source said that Kansas is home to 6,000 ghost towns or vanishing towns. When we found one with a town square, we stopped to take a stroll and stretch our legs before driving on.
Best Family Vacation Spots
After the end of this particular trip (which spanned over 3,500 miles) we looked back over all the places we had visited. For that trip, this was one of our favorite family vacation road stops. Perhaps it was because it was near the beginning of our trip, and perhaps it was because we are a family of Laura Ingalls Wilder fans. But anyone acquainted with the books or the TV movie (that launched the TV show) will appreciate seeing the site of the Little House on the Prairie book.
If you'd like to visit the Little House on the Prairie, visit their website. You'll want to visit the website to confirm the dates and hours they are open for the season. As you are traveling from Bartlesville, OK to Independence, KS, you'll find the site well marked with a sign when you are supposed to turn.