KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With summer right around the corner and students almost finished with the school year, more people will be heading outside and looking for the perfect place for a weekend trip. Kansas City and the surrounding areas offer a wide variety of bed and breakfasts for families, couples, groups, or for solo travelers. With more technology centered around booking rooms, it’s easier now than ever to find the perfect vacation spot.
An Introduction to Bed & Breakfasts
A bed and breakfast generally includes sleeping accommodations for a night and a morning meal, provided in a guest house or a small hotel. A B&B often costs more than staying at a motel, but it costs about the same or a little less than a hotel experience. The host will have a wide range of knowledge about the area and can act like a travel guide by offering a list of the best local restaurants, attractions, and other highlights. States have different laws as to what a bed and breakfast can offer. Out in Massachusetts, hosts can only offer a continental breakfast instead of a hot breakfast.
The most common regulations B&Bs must follow pertain to safety. Local and national ordinances have measures in place for fire resistance. A sufficient fire escape plan needs to be in place, and smoke detectors must be in each guest room. Kitchens and equipment used to serve meals are often scrutinized to follow health codes.
Bed and breakfasts are often private family homes and typically have between four and eleven rooms. Hosts usually live within the house or near it. There are approximately 17,000 B&Bs in the United States. Tourists can find B&BS in all states, in major cities, and in remote rural areas. The lodging can be in anything from modest cottages to opulent mansions, and in restored structures from schools to cabooses and churches. In the Midwest, a popular favorite for B&B entrepreneurs is to renovate Victorian homes.
Kansas City Area B&Bs
Sprinkled across the metro, Kansas City has a wide variety of bed and breakfasts from the cozy to the lavishly extravagant. Prices range from about $120-$200 a night. Make sure to check ratings and read reviews. Take some reviews with a grain of salt. If there seems to be a consistent negative pattern about something, keep it in mind. Some B&Bs in the area have artwork installed, gardens and fountains for viewing, courtyards for lounging, fire pits for warmth, and a readily available wine list for those needing to indulge. The B&Bs are both centrally located and on the outskirts of the city. Below is a list of B&Bs in the metro and the attractions closest to them.
- 1812 Overture Bed and Breakfast: near Union Station, the Sprint Center, and the Crown Center.
- Hawthorn – A Bed & Breakfast: near the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.
- Inn at Belvoir Winery: near Belvoir Winery, Jesse James Bank Museum, and Worlds of Fun.
- Jefferson House Bed and Breakfast: a 14 minute walk to the Power and Light District.
- The Main Street Inn: near the Zona Rosa Shopping Mall.
- Oak Street Mansion: located near the Nelson-Atkins Museum.
- Ophelia’s Restaurant & Inn: near Independence Square.
- Secret Place Bed & Breakfast: a 10 minute walk to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
- Silver Heart Inn and Cottages: a 14 minute walk to National Frontier Trails Museum.
- Walnut Waters Bed & Breakfast: near Powell Gardens.
- Woodstock Inn B&B: a 14 minute walk to National Frontier Trails Museum.
Day Trips and Vacations in Missouri
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services defines a Bed and Breakfast as an existing building with no more than three stories, with at least five but no more than ten guest rooms. The building must have interior corridors and have a kitchen. Breakfast must be provided to guests and the owner must live in or near the building.
Northwest Missouri has a plethora of B&Bs and the area is rife with history. St. Joseph is famous for where the Pony Express began and where infamous outlaw Jesse James died. The Pony Express Museum details its history; it was the first fast mail line across the North American continent from the Missouri River to the Pacific coast. Another tourist attraction, the Glore Psychiatric Museum, gives an eerie look back at how previous generations handled (and mishandled) mental health problems. There is also gambling, a former mansion turned into an art museum (the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art), the Tipple Hill Winery, Victorian mansions, trails, and plenty of restaurants and stops for antique shopping.
Amish peoples came to the Jamesport area and settled there in 1953. Now, it boasts as the largest Amish community in Missouri with approximately 165 families. The Amish live in modest homes and farms. They can be seen traveling by horse drawn vehicles around the settlement. The town has a large number of Amish shops and activities that cater to tourists who want to experience customs from an older time.
B&Bs in the Northwest region offer a wide range of amenities from fishing ponds, fireplaces, swimming pools, and hot tubs. Some bed and breakfasts also double as an event venue for weddings, reunions, retreats, and meetings.
Northeast Missouri has several state parks and conservation areas. Outdoor enthusiasts should hit up the lakes and rivers for water sports and fishing. Hiking is popular out east with plenty of trails. For those traveling in the fall, there is a 6-acre corn maze at Maize Maze in Hannibal. Mark Twain grew up in this area and several of the shops, parks, and sites there are named after him. Golf lovers will find several courses to challenge their wits. The St. Louis area is home to several restored Victorian mansions as well as farm house styled B&Bs, wineries, spas, 1920s prairie homes, and old fashioned brick schoolhouses.
Central Missouri includes Jefferson City and Columbia. A stay in the state’s capital city comes with history, a snapshot into current politics, vintage homes, and gorgeous countryside. Columbia is home to the University of Missouri. The city consistently brings in festivals and concerts. Both Jefferson City and Columbia have thriving downtown areas. Sedalia includes part of the Katy Trail and has an Amtrak station. Sedalia also hosts the Missouri State Fair every year. The Old World Trader art gallery is located in Rolla; visitors there can view and buy local art. Central Missouri offers a wide range of outdoor recreational activities from hanging out at the Lake of the Ozarks, ziplines, float trips, golf, and more. There are also several military museums and monuments.
Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, Missouri has several spots for those looking to take great pictures. Back in 1905, Robert McClure Synder, Sr., a Kansas City entrepreneur bought the large property and intended to create a castle there. Following a deadly car crash in 1906, three of Synder’s sons completed the castle. It was turned into a hotel in the late 1930s and was destroyed by a fire in 1942. Tourists can still find the ruins there. The park has 15 miles of hiking trails along with caves, sinkholes, and natural bridges.
For the history buff in the family, Southwest Missouri is home to several Civil War battle sites. This includes Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, and sites in Carthage, Athens, and Boonville. For those planning a family trip, Branson has roller coasters, live musical acts, and local cuisine. Springfield has the world renowned Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium — it will eat up a few hours of your day. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum is in Wright County. For those looking for a water adventure there is Stockton Lake, Table Rock Lake, Lake Taneycomo, and Bull Shoals Lake.
It is near impossible to drive across Missouri without seeing billboards for Fantastic Caverns, so if you’re in Springfield… go ahead and check out the attraction and see for yourself if it lives up to the hype. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy Busiek State Forest & Wildlife Area, Bennett Spring State Park, and Big Sugar Creek State Park.
A longer road trip from Kansas City to Southeast Missouri takes adventurers to crystal-clear waters, trails, and caves. Hiking, biking, kayaking, and canoeing are popular in Missouri’s Bootheel. Picnicking is a popular activity at Elephant Rocks State Park. People also enjoy climbing Missouri’s highest point, Taum Sauk Mountain. There is also whitewater rafting available on the Black River. Hawn State Park in Ste. Genevieve spans across some 5,000 acres, and it is filled with pine and oak trees, sandstone bluffs, and sparkling waters. Southeast Missouri is also home to local wineries, museums, caves, and streams. Popular stops include: Cape Girardeau, Eminence, Poplar Bluff, and West Plains.
Day Trips and Vacations in Kansas
The Kansas Department of Agriculture defines a bed and breakfast home as a boarding house that is a private residence. The owner or manager resides and provides lodging and meals for guests. Any licensee operating a bed and breakfast must serve food only to the licensee’s overnight guests, unless the licensee obtains a food service license. At least one toilet room with bathing facilities must be located on the same floor for every two guest rooms.
The Kansas Bed and Breakfast Association intends to provide Kansas travelers with an alternate to chain hotels, and to ensure security and a peace of mind when traveling in the state. On its website, it provides a long list of lodging options at businesses that have achieved high standards set by the association.
Yellow Brick Road Trips
Kansas offers both small-town charm and big city attractions. Fans of “The Wizard of Oz” can take a Yellow Brick Road Trip, which includes hiking the Flint Hills, stopping at a cattle ranch, visiting the Evel Knievel Museum, looking at some sunflowers, taking a trip to see the bones of ancient reptiles and sea monsters, or taking a trip to the most haunted places in the state. For a Yellow Brick Road Trip head to the website There’s No Place Like Kansas.
Northeastern Kansas includes large cities like Kansas City, Topeka, Lawrence, and Overland Park. The cities of Olathe, Shawnee, De Soto, and Gardner have some of the state’s fastest growing populations. You can follow parts of the Santa Fe Trail out in Northeastern Kansas. It was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Northeastern Kansas is also rife with college campuses and walk-friendly locations. The Kansas City Renaissance takes place annually each fall in Bonner Springs. The city of Atchison has several inviting locations from the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum to the St. Benedict Abbey. There are also history tours and ghost tours there. Atchison has a reputation as one of the most haunted places in the United States.
South Central Kansas
Wichita brings people in for the Sedgwick County Zoo, Botanica: The Wichita Gardens, museums, and the Great Plains Nature Center. Up the Arkansas River from Wichita is the city of Hutchinson. The city was built on one of the world’s largest salt deposits, and it has the world’s largest and longest wheat elevator.
Southeast Kansas has several nationally registered historic places and is known for coal mining. Historic Fort Scott has a national cemetery designated by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. The Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum is in Chanute. It chronicles the adventures of the couple and their trips to faraway lands. The couple traveled throughout East and Central Africa, the South Pacific Islands, and British North Borneo. They took pictures, explored exotic locales, and wrote about their experiences, which helped expand Americans’ horizons.
Central North Kansas
Salina is the largest city in central and north-central Kansas. South of Salina is the small city of Lindsborg with its numerous Dala horses, which are traditionally carved and painted wooden statues. The town’s architecture and decor has influences heavily borrowed from Sweden. To the east along Interstate 70, the historic city of Abilene was formerly a trailhead for the Chisholm Trail — it was used in the post-Civil War era to drive cattle overland from ranches in Texas to Kansas. Abilene also has the childhood home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower; it is also the site of his Presidential Library and the tombs of the former President, First Lady, and their son who died in infancy.
Westward along the Interstate, the city of Russell, was the base of former U.S. Senator Bob Dole and the childhood home of U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. Two other landmarks are located in smaller towns in Ellis County: the Cathedral of the Plains, which is located 10 miles east of Hays in Victoria, and the childhood home of Walter Chrysler, which is about 15 miles west of Hays in Ellis.
Dodge City, famously known for the cattle drive days of the late 19th century, was built along the old Santa Fe Trail route. The city of Liberal is also located along the southern Santa Fe Trail route. The first wind farm in the state was built east of Montezuma.
Booking and Etiquette for First Timers
When booking a room, one thing to keep in mind is the bathroom situation. Some B&Bs have private bathrooms connected to a guest bedroom, but sometimes multiple guests within the building share the same bathroom in a central location. Most B&B websites will breakdown what each room entails and whether it includes a personal bathroom or not.
While booking the room, you may be asked if you have any food allergies. If this isn’t asked up front, you may want to tell your host if you have a allergy or need other accommodations for meals.
Prices change frequently and websites are not always up to date. It is advised to contact the innkeepers about hours of operation, check-in times, and to hear about the most-up-to-date information. Hearing your host on the phone can also help you decide if the B&B is the right fit for you. Several websites do list availability for each room and also give an idea of when it is best to visit. Both Airbnb and HomeAway phone apps help with finding a place to stay. Sometimes these apps suggest things to do in the area or have information about group tours and other events. Some popular destination cities have apps to help tourists find things to do, such as in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
After booking a room, make sure to save your host’s contact information. Make sure to discuss when you plan to check-in and check-out to help innkeepers with timing. At smaller properties, innkeepers usually welcome arriving guests. If you’re arriving later than intended, you’ll want to contact your host. Long flights and traffic jams can cause delays, and sometimes the innkeepers only have a couple of groups booking into the place that day. The big takeaway here is your host is making plans based on when you arrive. If traveling far from home, travel insurance can protect you in case you have to cancel because of bad weather or an emergency.
Many B&Bs offer services and amenities specially tailored to the needs of individual guests. If you have physical limitations, ask if your room is handicap-accessible or has features needed for your lifestyle and comfort. When traveling with children, contact the host first before reserving a room. Some locations better serve children than others; some don’t serve children at all.
Many innkeepers will happily help guests plan something special for an anniversary or birthday — but you must communicate with them in advance. If you want a birthday cake, the only way to make it happen is to ask for one — and maybe pay a little extra for it or leave a nice tip. Tips are customary at B&Bs. Complimentary upgrades include: flowers, chocolates, robes, customary napkins, movie deals, tickets to nearby attractions, bath bombs, fruit jams, and cookies.
Everything Breakfast Related
If you need to skip breakfast during your stay for whatever reason, make sure to let your hosts know, so they don’t prepare too much food. Sometimes guests need to jet early or they have plans at another eatery. Those staying several days might want to try something else while in town. Some B&Bs offer in-room dining, others don’t. Owners may prefer to keep food out of the rooms, especially at B&Bs aligned with antiques and period specific furniture.
During breakfast with other guests, keep off heated topics like religion and politics. Talk about the weather, interesting landmarks in the area, traveling concerns, or work related matters. Be friendly and cordial, not opinionated and harsh. A bit of breakfast hobnobbing can help with discovering more about the location — or it could help in finding a group willing to try a giant pizza for dinner. Innkeepers during breakfast can help you decide on a plan for your day.
Some B&Bs are pet friendly and will even pamper guests’ animals. It’s best to search online first for pet friendly lodging and then communicate with the hosts about pet rules. Some innkeepers may require that a pet stay in a crate when guests leave the room. Some owners have rules about where the pet can lounge or have a weight limit. It might be a challenge to find a place that caters to more than one pet.
Before booking with a place, give yourself time and don’t make an impulsive purchase. Compare the place to similar lodgings in the area, make a list of things to do in the city, and consider how many days you’ll have available. Stay within a budget and don’t go overboard — just because something has all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean it is the only place where you’ll have an excellent experience.
For anywhere you go, read through the policies. Read through the policies multiple times if you have time.