With this article dedicated to Kansas, we continue our tour along the Route 66 states. As always, we do not offer a detailed guide with step-by-step directions (by the way: have you read our Route 66 Road Trip Planner and our article on the best Route 66 stops?), but instead showcase the main attractions that you can find along the route, so you can organize your road trip by the stages that you consider to be most fascinating.
The main cities we will encounter along the Mother Road route are presented here from east to west. If for some reason you prefer to move west to east, all you have to do is start from the end! So… what are the best things to see along Route 66 in Kansas? Take note of these places of interest: your journey will be impossibile to forget.
Route 66 Kansas: Attractions Map
The state of Kansas only has very few miles of Route 66, but despite this, it still has something to offer to any traveler who decides to indulge in a few stops before their next stage.
On the outskirts of this town, you will find an old gas station now known as 4 Women on the Route (119 North Main Street). In addition to offering a gift store and the possibility of refreshments at the bar, it is famous because the old tow truck parked near the historic gas pumps provided the inspiration for the character Mater in the animated film Cars. A stop with photos I would say is a must!
The city’s old railroad depot now houses the Galena Mining and Historical Museum (319 W 7th St), which offers information on local history and mining in this area of Kansas. For a stop in nature, you can visit Schermerhorn Park, where you will find the Schermerhorn Cave. Just like the Meramec Cavern (that we talked about it in our previous article on Route 66 in Missouri), this is also known to have been a hiding place of Jesse James.
This town, practically the central point of Route 66 in Kansas, is home to the Eisler Brothers Store (7109 Southeast Highway 66), a nice store crammed with Mother Road memorabilia.
Just outside of town you’ll find a distinctive original white bridge from the period called the Rainbow Bridge.
In 1863, this town was the scene of a bloody Civil War battle called The Baxter Springs Massacre. You can find evidence of this past at the Heritage Center & Museum (740 East Ave), the National Cemetery, which has a Civil War section, and at the Fort Blair Historic Site. If you have time and interest, before heading to Oklahoma you could take a little detour and visit a couple of special attractions.
About fifty miles west of Baxter Springs is the town of Coffeyville, which is most famous for an incident that took place in 1892, when the townspeople grabbed their guns and fought off Dalton’s notorious gang, that had decided to rob the town’s two banks at the same time.
All but one of the gang’s members were killed and are buried at Elmwood Cemetery. It is said that Emmet Dalton, the sole survivor, returned to visit the graves a long time later and left a permanent mark on the headstones. You can relive the heroic deeds of the townspeople by visiting the Dalton Defenders Museum (113 East 8th Street) dedicated to their memory.
Do you know the Four Corners? Well, just east of Baxter Springs you’ll find the version with one less state: a small monument in fact marks the point where the borders of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma meet.
Where to Stay Along Route 66 in Kansas
If you want some advice about the best hotels and motels along this stretch of Mother Road you can read the section dedicated to where to stay along Route 66 in Kansas in our article.
Here are some guides you can rely on:
- Lonely Planet Route 66 Road Trips: an overview of the main attractions along the Mother Road
- Route 66 Adventure Handbook a detailed description of all the towns and attractions you will encounter along the way
- Route 66 EZ 66 Guide: (detailed map plus attractions and advice on how to follow the original route
Also, each city has its own institutional website, that are in most cases very well maintained, where you can find all the additional information you need.
Let’s continue the journey…
Here’s what not to miss in other states:
- Route 66 Illinois
- Route 66 Oklahoma
- Route 66 Missouri
- Route 66 Texas
- Route 66 New Mexico
- Route 66 Arizona
- Route 66 California
Finally, some articles that we recommend you read before heading out on the Mother Road: