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Castle rock and Monument rocks

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Manassas, Virginia
posts: 27
reviews: 31
Castle rock and Monument rocks

My husband and I will be traveling from Fort Leavenworth on Route 70. We would like to stay somewhere relatively close to Castle Rock. Would Quinter or Hays offer any historical sites of interest? I am assuming that the trip will be 5 or so hours from Fort Leavenworth. I am open to all suggestions at this time as I have not finalized any part of our touring. We arrive in Kansas City Oct 1st and will visit with family at Fort Leavenworth until the 5th then return to them by the 9th or early on the 10th. We do plan to visit Wichita (esp.TallGrass Prairie Preserve),Topeka,and maybe Salina and yes I know this is probably a little ambitious on my part. We just want to see as much of Kansas as we can possibly squeeze into this first visit. Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

12 replies to this topic
Kansas
Destination Expert
for Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Kansas
posts: 3,579
reviews: 94
1. Re: Castle rock and Monument rocks

Hays has many more places to stay, eat and tour than Quinter. Check out the Sterburg Museum of Natural HIstory, Fort Hays and Stone Gallery.

Manassas, Virginia
posts: 27
reviews: 31
2. Re: Castle rock and Monument rocks

Thank you. I have heard it can be difficult driving into Castle Rock area. How far off route 70 is it and will we have difficulty driving a compact rental car?

Kansas
Destination Expert
for Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Kansas
posts: 3,579
reviews: 94
3. Re: Castle rock and Monument rocks

It is about 13 miles off I-70. With a compact car, I would be careful going in and only drive to the top of the badlands looking down at the rock and badlands. The two rut going around and down to the bottom gets worse.

Manassas, Virginia
posts: 27
reviews: 31
4. Re: Castle rock and Monument rocks

Thanks. My husband has never seen the Badlands. I did while in South Dakota. I found them amazing and want him to experience their beauty.. However we may not get that far over on 70 this trip. I am now thinking of staying within the triangle of Kansas City, Wichita, Salina, Abilene and Topeka and doing the western section of the state on our next visit.

With reference to the triangle I mentioned: Kansas City is only a starting point not part of our tour. I know there is much to do in KC and will do that with my daughter and family.

I am currently thinking 2 nights in Wichita (we stop at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve enroute to Wichita) then onto Abilene. Am I missing any cultural or historical sites along the way that I should visit? I thought we could visit Fort Riley enroute to Topeka. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.

I have been planning our vacations for years, but I am having trouble this time and I have not found the Kansas visitors' book very helpful.

I do have all of Oct 5th, thru the 9th for touring with a late morning return to Fort Leavenworth. My husband and I do move pretty fast for a couple 72 year olds.

Does two nights in Wichita, one night in Abilene, and one night in Topeka sound like a good idea to you?

Again, any and all suggestions will be appreciated. Judith K

Kansas
Destination Expert
for Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Kansas
posts: 3,579
reviews: 94
5. Re: Castle rock and Monument rocks

Other than nature, I'm not sure what your interests are, but here goes.

You have not mentioned Hutchinson. It is outside your triangle, but not way outside. It has what I think are two of the best attractions in Kansas: the Kansas Cosmosphere and the Underground Salt Museum. If one of you is at all interested in space & aviation, the Cosmosphere will blow you away. It is world class.

Topeka has quite a few interesting attractions, but unless you have a special interest, I think only two stand out, the Kansas Historical Museum and the Capitol building tours. The Capitol building is being repairs, and this isn't the time to see it.

Have you tried this web site? http://kansastravel.org

When you visit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, if you are there on the weekend and around meal time, Ad Astra Food & Drink is a real gem. Also, be sure to stop and see the Chase County Court House in Cottonwood Falls, one mile south. The 1873 stone courthouse is the oldest operating courthouse in the state and probably the most beautiful.

Manassas, Virginia
posts: 27
reviews: 31
6. Re: Castle rock and Monument rocks

Thank you Thank You

I will include Hutchinson for sure. Cosmosphere for both of us Salt museum for me.

I saw that the Capitol is undergoing repairs, but we will stop regardless. Did a tour of the Capitol bldg in Santa Fe and it was one of our highlights of the trip.

Thanks for the heads up on Astra Food and Drink we should be there around lunchtime. Cottonwood Falls might work for us too. Again, thanks so much Judith K

Topeka, Kansas
posts: 17,391
reviews: 56
7. Re: Castle rock and Monument rocks

I've been out of town and just seeing this...the Capitol has been undergoing renovation for some time, but it is really starting to look nice even though the scaffolding is around and they are now putting new copper on the dome. I work across the street and think it is still worth a stop since it is near I-70 so not much out of your way. If you are here on a Sunday for sure and (I THINK) evenings, parking is free even though there are meters. They have even progressed to the point of working on the landscaping during this past month so again (and only my opinion) it is worth a stop.

Since you will be right across the street, be sure and stop at 1st Presbyterian Church to see the Tiffany Windows! Even if the church is not open, you can still see the beauty of them from the outside :)

Topeka High is just a block or two to the west of the Capitol and is also worth a quick stop to see since it was the first million dollar high school built west of the Mississippi and is also a beautiful landmark!

Then as you get back on I-70 to head west out of Topeka and if it around time to eat a meal, just take the Wanamaker exit since most of our chain hotels and restaurants are on that street. If you have further questions, please feel free to send me a personal message...I am not on TA everyday but will try to remember to check often and am glad to help!

If you are going to be in Wichita, the Museum area (near downtown) has so much to see and do, and there are several hotels in that area I've stayed in on business trips so can also help if you haven't yet booked the hotels in either city. Actually I've also stayed in Hutch if you decide to stay there.

The stop in Abilene is wonderful since the Eisenhower Museum is also worth the trip! I would suggest spending the night in Hays since my coworker was just there a month or two ago and said the Sleep Inn was very nice (also said the Best Western looked good).

Victoria is just east of Hays, and you can stop for a short visit to see the Cathedral of the Plains, and it's a fund German community!

That's probably more that you wanted to read, but please let me know if I can help you with more info :)

Manassas, Virginia
posts: 27
reviews: 31
8. Re: Castle rock and Monument rocks

Thank you. I just finished booking hotels yesterday and pretty much finalized our plans. Topeka is our last stop before returning to Fort Leavenworth on the 10th. I do plan to see that high school. Goodness Tiffany windows and 4 fireplaces and 1 million dollars and I think I read that it was built in 1931?? We will also include the Capitol, scaffolding won't bother us. Our first stop on Sat 5th will be Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve then Cottonwood for Chase county Courthouse and that restaurant Ad Astra that is only open on weekends. Then off to Wichita, then Hutchinson, Abilene, Fort Riley?, and Topeka. We are craming as much as we can into 5 days. Our family will be at Fort Leavenworth for at least 2 years so we will be back for Castle Rock and the Badlands and other portions of the state. I am getting excited now that plans are coming together. I want to thank both of you lighthouselovertoo and TopekaDucky for all you suggestions and the time spent helping me. I have used this site before and always find TripAdvisor invaluable. I do write about my experiences after I return home from a trip. Thanks again for your kind suggestions. Judith K

Kansas
Destination Expert
for Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Kansas
posts: 3,579
reviews: 94
9. Re: Castle rock and Monument rocks

You are welcome. Please make a trip report after your long weekend.

Topeka, Kansas
posts: 17,391
reviews: 56
10. Re: Castle rock and Monument rocks

Oh my gosh...you are only touching the tip of the iceberg for sights to see here in Kansas! Also there are MANY wonderful things to see and do in the Kansas City area so hope you can take advantage of travels here to our states! The offer still stands that if I don't see your post right away to please be sure and message me since it's a joy to help others plan their trips....safe travels :)

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