Horse around at the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth by riding the ponies of a restored 1913 model made by Parker’s then-world-famous local company. Singer Melissa Etheridge, a Leavenworth native, donated a vintage band organ. The military town’s diverse culinary scene includes First Taste Olive Oils, where it’s fun to sample flavors before buying. All of the oils and vinegars are bottled in-house and made with ingredients gathered across the globe. Before leaving town, stop by the Frontier Army Museum at Fort Leavenworth, the oldest Army post west of the Mississippi River

Up the road in Atchison, Victorian mansions, historic sites (like the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum) and impressive Missouri River views await on Atchison Historic Trolley Tours. Hop aboard at the Visitors Center—it’s in a former train depot. Tours take a turn for the scary during Haunted Atchison, a fall celebration of the town’s ghostly past. The spookiest spot is the Sallie House, once home to a doctor who had a young patient die there. Spirits reportedly attacked the last residents, a young family who rented the place in the 1990s. There’s been no trouble since, but visitors are asked to sign an injury waiver. You can spend the night, too … if you dare. For a more peaceful Atchison outing, try Providence Hill Farm, a small family operation that’s gaga for goats. Hike and do yoga (with or without goats); learn to make soap, cheese and candles from goat’s milk; and shop for artisan bath and body products.

About 20 miles north in Troy, the Tall Oak Indian Monument stands outside Doniphan County Courthouse. Peter Wolf Toth carved the 27-foot-high tribute from a 67-inch-diameter burr oak log. Mom’s Favorite Homemade Pancakes aren’t that large, but they satisfy big breakfast appetites right across Main Street at Feed Store Cafe. It’s open for lunch too. Head 20 miles northwest to White Cloud for a Four State Lookout. On a clear day, an ADA-accessible platform offers stately views of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa.

Before you head for the hills and beyond, check out the 2022 Official Kansas Travel Guide for more road trip inspiration.