As the metropolitan mecca of a mostly rural state, Kansas City has a cosmopolitan vibe and attractions aplenty. But if you’re planning a trip to the area, don’t overlook one of the best reasons to visit the big city – to connect with the wilderness.
While seeking nature in the midst of the largest metro area in the region may not seem the most obvious venture, the Kansas City area boasts some of the best maintained and most loved parks and trails in the state.
One of our Top 10 picks are the hiking and mountain-biking trails at Shawnee Mission Park. You can spend all morning riding hard through miles of woodland trails in the 1,600 acre park, and also enjoy a 120-acre lake with fishing, a swimming beach, and canoes / paddle boats for rent at the marina. The trails are exceeding popular (and rightfully so), so it’s worth trying to visit outside of peak weekends. Reserve a shelter and bring a picnic lunch, or even better get cleaned up and head to the nearby Hereford House in Shawnee for one of the best steaks in the city.
While you can go just about anywhere in Kansas City for good BBQ, if you are craving a top-end steak the Hereford House (17244 Midland Dr) is our undisputed choice.
After a full day on the trails, there’s nothing better to sate your hunger than the K.C. strip or massive ribeye. This venerable establishment pays close attention to detail; the steaks are Sterling Silver grade, hand-cut in house and grilled to tender perfection over live coals.
There’s plenty to see and do throughout the area, so if you’re making an overnight trip, why spend your valuable time traversing the extensive highways of K.C. when you can stay right in Shawnee?
One of the closest (and best) hotels just north of the park is the Courtyard by Marriott (17250 Midland Dr, rooms from $119).
The setting doesn’t feel like you are in the middle of the city, and the rooms are spacious, well-appointed, and quite clean. There’s a small pool if you feel like a swim, and one of our favorite features was the outdoor seating area and fire-pit.
Shawnee is a great place to enjoy the amenities and dining of the city, and also log some miles on a top-quality trail network. Let us know what you think and check out more of our “Eat, Stay, Play” series for tips on the best places to enjoy top trails, outstanding local cuisine, and overnight accommodations throughout the state.