Driving through Kansas via I-35 or I-135 or US-81
If you are traveling through Kansas via I-35 or 135, there are some towns you can stop at along the way to your destination. More specifically, I shall give some suggestions that have enough variety.for you. I will list the exit numbers, the town, and some reasoning. It is up to you which place is more convenient according to the pace of your travel. I-135 is a non-toll road. Almost all of I-35 in Kansas is toll road except from Kansas City to Emporia. The Kansas Turnpike is something that I will talk about in the future.
Emporia to Kansas City via I-35
There are a few cities between Emporia and Kansas City on I-35: Lebo, WIlliamsburg, Ottawa, Wellsville, Edgerton, Gardner, and then you enter the Kansas City suberbs. If I were to stop anywhere on the way to Kansas City or Emporia, I would probably choose Ottawa since it is bigger and has more ways to get there. Therefore, you should find somewhere to stop if you choose to stop here along the way to either major town.
Driving North to I-80 via I-135 and US-81
I-135 runs from Wichita to Salina. It is very helpful when traveling north from places such as Wichita or Oklahoma when getting to Nebraska for example.
Past Salina, US-81 is a two-laned road all the way to York, Nebraska where it meets I-80. Looking on the flip side of things, it is useful for people in places such as Nebraska and Kansas to connect directly with I-35 to get to Oklahoma and even Texas.
In summary, I-35 travels from Texas and Oklahoma and then makes a slant starting from Wichita towards Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota. I-135 and US-81 from Wichita through Salina to I-80 in Nebraska create a fast and convenient route through central Kansas and Nebraska and help travelers trying to stay in the center part of the northern states have an easier time getting there. Now where to stop on I-135? Here are some suggestions that I have for you:
Wichita (Exits 1-11)
As you can tell there are many places to get off in Wichita. You can check out Wichita State or take a plane from Wichita to either Dallas or Chicago and go just about anywhere from there. It is known as the air capital of the world. If you are just passing through, Kellogg (US-54 & US-400) has more potential as well as K-96.
Park City (Exits 13-16)
If you don’t like to feel so crowded in Wichita, you can stop just north of it in Park City. We tend to stop here a time or two on the way back to Salina. There are a lot of places to stop even here if you want. Exit 14 is probably a good exit.
Newton (Exits 30-34)
The main exit is most like Exit 31. It actually has more than one road you can turn on and has a few places off to the sides of the road. The north part of town is at Exit 34 where it connects to K-15. Exit 30 connects with K-15 & US-50 to get to the south part of town.
Hesston (Exit 40)
Not the biggest town, but if you continue, you will have to go about another 20 miles for another good stop. Probably a good place to stop between Newton and McPherson. Exit 40 is the only way from interstate into town. We don’t stop here too often, but it is somewhere we can go just in case we need it.
McPherson (Exits 58 & 60)
Exit 60 is the main exit where it connects to US-56 and Business US-81. Business US-81 going south goes through downtown, joins with K-61 from Hutchinson, and intersects with I-135 at Exit 58. Going west from the interstate, there are many places off US-56 you can stop for food, gas, or a restroom break. Continuing west you can find the downtown if it interests you.
Salina (Exits 88-95)
This is where you really get to see the length of Salina going from north to south. You can’t see too much from I-70 since it just gets by the north part of the town. Exit 88 is the outskirts of town and then Exits 89 and 90 get you to the south part of town. Those two exits long with Exit 92 is where I recommend you stop if you stop here at all. After that, it is just a few miles north to I-70. From there, you can go west, east, or north on US-81 to Concordia and beyond.
There are only a few on I-135 & I-35 that are not on a toll road. Based on mile markers, there are two around 24 and 68 on I-135 and one around 175 on I-35. All other rest areas on I-35 in this state are on the Kansas Turnpike.