Southeast Kansas offers a variety of attractions and destinations for travelers.

Southeast Kansas offers a variety of attractions and destinations for travelers.

Southeast Kansas is bordered by Missouri to the east, Oklahoma to the south, and the Flint Hills region to the west. It is known for its rolling hills, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. The area is home to several state parks, including the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, the Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge, and the Crawford State Park. The region is also rich in history, with several museums and historical sites, such as the Fort Scott National Historic Site and the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes. This part of Kansas is beautiful and vibrant with much to offer residents and visitors alike.

A stay at Chateau Avalon is a boutique hotel located in Kansas City, Kansas a few miles west of downtown Kansas City is a must and makes a very interesting stay. The hotel offers a unique experience with 62 individually themed rooms that are inspired by different countries and eras. Each room has different decor, furniture, and amenities that transport guests to a different time and place.

Some of the popular room themes at Chateau Avalon include the Roman Dynasty, the Mayan Rainforest, Pirate’s Cove, the Venetian Palace, and Camelot. The hotel also features a spa, a restaurant, and a lounge. The spa offers a variety of services, including massages, facials, and body treatments. The restaurant, d’Nile, serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. The lounge is exotic and fun! The d’Nile Bar offers a fine selection of cocktails, wines, and beers.  Over the years the hotel has garnered an outstanding reputation for destination weddings, corporate events, and romantic getaways. Chateau Avalon provides an experience that is unmatched in the Kansas City area. Hitting the road, we head to Fort Scott and travel back in time staying at The Courtland Hotel and Day Spa an historic boutique hotel.  It was originally built in 1906 and has been restored to its original grandeur.


Boutique is certainly the right description, offering 11 luxurious guest rooms, each furnished with period antiques and modern amenities. The day spa offers a variety of services, including massages, facials, body treatments, and more.


The spa uses natural and organic products in its treatments. Courtland also has a restaurant, the Boiler Room Brewhaus, which serves locally sourced food and craft beer. This is certainly a lovely destination for those looking for a luxurious and relaxing getaway in a historic setting.

Fort Scott itself was established in 1842 as a military fort to protect the border between the United States and Indian Territory. The fort was named after General Winfield Scott, a hero of the Mexican-American War.  After the Civil War, the fort was abandoned by the military and the land was sold to private individuals.


The city of Fort Scott was established on the site of the old fort in 1855 and became an important center for trade and commerce in southeastern Kansas. Today, Fort Scott is known for its rich history and has been designated a National Historic Site. Tour the old fort and learn about its role in the settlement of the American West. The city is also home to several museums, including the Fort Scott National Historic Site Museum, the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, and the Gordon Parks Museum.  A must-stop while in Fort Scott is The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes. It is an educational non-profit organization located right downtown and provides a one-of-a-kind experience that one would not expect. The center’s mission is to “transform classrooms and communities through student-driven projects that discover Unsung Heroes from history and teach the power of one to create positive change.”

The center provides resources and support to educators and students to create projects that highlight the stories of individuals who have made a positive impact but may not be well-known or celebrated.

Pro Tip:  Visit the Bourbon County Courthouse which was built in 1906 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Next stop on your Kansas Sojourn is the town of Pittsburg also in the southeastern part of the state. Located along the banks of the Kansas and Frontenac rivers, it is about 120 miles south of Kansas City.  The city is home to Pittsburg State University and is known for its historic downtown area, which features a variety of locally owned shops and restaurants.  You will also find the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, which hosts a variety of performances throughout the year.


Pro Tip: The campus also has a beautiful arboretum and nature trail.

While traveling around this area of Kansas you may come across some interesting things and Big Brutus is one of them and well worth a side trip to experience.  Big Brutus is a giant electric shovel is in West Mineral and is one of the largest machines ever built. Visit this behemoth of a machine and learn about its history and importance in the mining industry.


It was used in strip mining operations in the area from 1962 until 1974. Big is an understatement.  At 160 feet tall and weighing over 11 million pounds, Big Brutus is one of the largest electric shovels ever built. It was used to dig out coal, which was then loaded onto trucks and transported to nearby power plants.




Today, climb to the top of the shovel and explore the surrounding area and learn the history of coal mining in the region, as well as the technology and engineering behind this legendary piece of machinery.

Get your kicks on Route 66! This historic highway originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, and was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System established in 1926. Route 66 became famous as a symbol of American mobility and freedom, and it played an important role in the development of the American West.

Sadly, it was officially decommissioned as a U.S. Highway in 1985, but many sections of the highway have been preserved and are still drivable today.

The route is popular among tourists who want to experience a piece of American history and explore the small towns and landmarks that were once part of the country’s main east-west transportation artery.

Go back decades and stop into Nelson’s Old Riverton Store, a historic general store located in Riverton, Kansas on Route 66.  It was originally opened in 1925 by H.O. Nelson and remained in operation for over 80 years, serving as a gathering place for locals and travelers alike.

In addition to the typical offerings of a general store, such as groceries, hardware, and clothing, the store also sold gasoline and served as a post office. In more recent times, it gained national attention in the 2000s when it was featured on the television show “American Pickers.” The show’s hosts, Mike Wolfe, and Frank Fritz, visited the store and purchased several items, including a 1930s Coke machine and an old Indian motorcycle. It has been restored to its original condition and features many of the original fixtures and items that were sold there in the past. It also houses a small museum with artifacts and memorabilia from the store’s long history.

Not far from the store, you will find Marsh Arch Bridge. It is a type of arch bridge that was developed by J.E. Marsh in the early 20th century. It is a reinforced concrete arch bridge that has a parabolic shape, which means that the arch rises gradually from the abutments to a peak at the center, and then descends gradually to the opposite abutment.

This bridge is known for its strength and durability, as well as its aesthetic appeal. The parabolic shape of the arch distributes the weight of the bridge evenly across the span, which allows it to support heavier loads than other types of arch bridges. Additionally, the streamlined shape of the arch gives the bridge a graceful appearance that complements its surroundings. Marsh arch bridges were widely used in the United States during the early to mid-20th century, and many examples of this type of bridge can still be found in various parts of the country.

Continue to Emporia in east-central Kansas.  Emporia is situated at the intersection of Interstate 35 and the Kansas Turnpike, making it a convenient stop for travelers. It is also home to Emporia State University, which is known for its education programs and teacher training. This small city has a rich history, including its role as a center for the early cattle industry and as the site of the historic Brown v. Board of Education court case. The city is known for its annual events, such as the Flint Hills Beef Fest and the Dirty Kanza gravel bike race, which attracts thousands of visitors each year.

While in Emporia, why not get in a round of golf?  Disc golf that is! Dynamic Discs was founded in 2005 by Jeremy Rusco. The company has grown significantly over the years and is now one of the largest manufacturers and retailers of disc golf equipment in the world. In addition to selling discs and other equipment, Dynamic Discs also hosts several major disc golf events each year, including the Glass Blown Open, which is one of the largest disc golf tournaments in the world. The company also operates several retail stores across the United States, as well as an online store.

Visiting small towns is a fun way to explore off-the-beaten-track places and take in their people and culture. Humboldt is a city located in Allen County, Kansas, and is no exception.  It has a population of approximately 1,800 people and covers an area of 1.36 square miles. How is that for small?  The city is named after the famous German naturalist and explorer, Alexander von Humboldt. Where is Humboldt, you may ask? It can be found about 90 miles south of Topeka and about 20 miles north of the Kansas-Oklahoma border and is unique in its own right.  In fact, it really does have only one stop light!  Humboldt is known for its small-town charm, historic downtown, and annual events such as the Humboldt Unplugged Music Festival and the Allen County Fair. It’s a nice respite on a long drive.

Abilene is a city located in the state of Kansas, United States. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Abilene had a population of approximately 6,400 people. It is the county seat of Dickinson County and is situated in the central part of the state.

No visit to Kansas would be complete without a visit to Abilene, known for its rich history and connection to the Old West located right in the center of the estate.  In the past, It was a prominent cattle town and served as the endpoint of the Chisholm Trail, which was a major route for cattle drives in the late 19th century. Culture is a big deal in this small town. Abilene is home to several museums and attractions related to its Western heritage, including the renowned Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home, who served as the 34th President of the United States, grew up in Abilene. In addition to its historical significance, Abilene offers a range of recreational activities and events for residents and visitors. The city has parks, trails, and sports facilities for outdoor activities, and it hosts various festivals and events throughout the year.

One last stop on our Southeastern Kansas road trip is Chanute. It is the largest city in Neosho County and has a population of approximately 9,000 people. Historically, Chanute is known for its aviation history, as it was the site of one of the first airports in Kansas and the home of the Chanute Air Force Base, which was used for pilot training during World War II. Today, you will find a is a thriving community with a diverse economy and a strong commitment to education and community development. It is home to several parks, a community college, and a variety of local businesses and organizations.

Kansas is known for its flat prairies, wheat fields, and rich history. With so much to offer, each special region is unique and worth exploring them all! See you in Kansas!