The famous U.S. Route 66 may be hard to find on today's maps, and it has been
altered and realigned in the past on several occasions, but that doesn't mean
that it has lost its legendary status. Many states choose to mark their respective
parts of Route 66 with special signs to designate the historic roadway, and
there are a bunch of states that the route passes through. Kansas just happens
to be one of them, so you can always look to "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" when
looking for things to do in
Kansas. The Kansas Route 66 stretch is the shortest stretch of the road
found in any state, and it passes across the state's southeast corner. While
the stretch of Route 66 in Kansas might be relatively short, it's full of attractions.
In fact, it just might boast more attractions than any of the Route 66 stretches
found in any other state.
Kansas was the first state to completely pave its section of Route 66, which was largely due to the fact that the Kansas Route 66 section only extends for 12.8 miles. These days, Route 66 in Kansas is a State Highway that carries the same number, and this highway passes through three towns that all offer insight into the history of Kansas. These towns include Baxter Springs, Riverton, and Galena. When heading westbound on Route 66 in Kansas, Galena is the town that you will come to first. Here, the old buildings are among the top Route 66 Kansas attractions, though a recent revival along the historic route has seen renovations to structures like the 1920s KanOtex Station. Before you get to the gas station, you'll pass a smelting plant that operated between 1912 and the late 1970s. Some of the older Galena buildings found along Kansas Route 66 helped to inspire the "Radiator Springs" community in the Pixar film, Cars.
Other Route 66 Kansas attractions that can be found in Galena include the Howard Litch Memorial Park, which boasts a monument to the famous highway, and the Galena Mining and Historical Museum. You can learn all about the mining history of Galena at the Galena Mining and Historical Museum before you continue along your way on Kansas Route 66. After leaving Galena heading west, you will soon come to Riverton. You will know that you have arrived in Riverton when you see the old power plant on the left. A sign from a roadside inn that burned down is among the other Riverton Route 66 Kansas attractions, and after you pass that, it's not long until you can break for a sandwich or some souvenirs at the historic Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store. This store first opened its doors to customers way back in 1925, and it's still going strong! Upon exiting the Riverton section of Route 66 in Kansas, you'll eventually cross the Brush Creek Rainbow Bridge, which was originally built in 1923. After crossing it, you're on your way to nearby Baxter Springs.
A restored Phillips 66 Gas Station that was built in the 1930s is among the Route 66 Kansas attractions in Baxter Springs, as is an 1870 building that once housed a bank that Jesse James and Cole Younger robbed in 1876. These days, the historic site houses a café and a small bed and breakfast inn. You might take a short detour from Kansas Route 66 when in Baxter Springs to visit the Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum. It's just a block from the historic route, and it is a terrific place to learn about history. Larger cities and towns in Kansas, such as Wichita, Dodge City, or even Abilene, all have good museums of their own, and while they are great, it's also a good idea to visit museums like the Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum in smaller towns like Baxter Springs. The mural of a Longhorn cattle drive adorns the side of Bilke's Western Museum, which is another attraction that you might take some time out to enjoy when cruising along Kansas Route 66.
Route 66 is an attraction in and of itself, and even if you don't stop to check out the attractions that grew up around it, just having the chance to cruise the historic highway is enough to satisfy some. Once you leave the state on Route 66 in Kansas, it's on to Oklahoma or Missouri next, depending on which direction you're going. The city of Joplin, which is found in Missouri, is the largest city that is anywhere close to Kansas Route 66, so you might pay it a quick visit when in the area to see what it has to offer. How far you go after that is up to you.