“Little House on the Prairie” painted a picture of Kansas as a true and untouched slice of homey American life. All these years later, that description is still true, and history and tradition can be found at the center of the United States. Head to the city of Abilene to catch a glimpse.
Abilene is steeped in history. The Heritage Center of Dickinson County will teach you about the pioneers’ life on the plains. Admission is $4, and you can explore pioneer-era buildings and exhibits, and a smaller museum dedicated to the history of the telephone. Kids will love the fully restored Parker Carousel.
The city itself is nestled in the Flint Hills, whose swelling grasslands explode the notion that Kansas is just prairieland. A ride on the Smoky Valley Railroad is the perfect way to explore the area. This 1945 steam train will take you on a 10-mile tour of the region, and you can relax in the observation car or have a bite to eat in the classic dining car. The trip is only $12, and the train runs daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
You can’t stay in Abilene without trying the famous fried chicken at the Brookville Hotel. For $13.50, you get a classic chicken dinner with all the trimmings.
At the end of the day you can retire at the historic Abilene Victorian Inn, where prices start at only $79, and include breakfast and classic Victorian rooms with balconies, for relaxing in the warm Kansas evenings.
For more planning tips, go to the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau website.
Read more of the 50 Affordable Stateside Escapes.
Have a recommendation for Abilene, or another great getaway in Kansas? Post your comment below.