If you are traveling out west to Colorado or east to Missouri through Kansas via I-70, 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. From Kansas City to Topeka is the Kansas Turnpike that I will talk about in the future.
Topeka (KS Capital City) (Exits 355-366)
It is expected to be a big city and it is. The west part of I-470 is not a toll road unlike the east part once it meets up with I-335. I feel there are many more options in this part of the city that are much closer to the road. If you want to keep traveling through, you can take your pick which way to go. You can see more downtown on I-70 and I-470 bypasses most of it. If you don’t mind the toll you can get on ahead of time taking I-470 east.
Junction City (Exits 295-300)
From Topeka to Junction City there really aren’t a lot of places to go that are right close by. You can find some but they might not have what you are looking for. Junction City has plenty of good options. If you so happened to check out K-State University before heading here, just take K-18 to make your way to Junction City and the interstate. Fort Riley is east of the town right between the K-18 exit and the main town. We normally take exits 296 & 298 for food whenever we travel in that direction.
Check out Milford Lake!
Abilene (Exit 275)
Exit 272 has a Love’s Travel Shop you can stop at to get gas and a few snacks. The main road is at Exit 275 where it meets up with K-15 and is most likely where you want to stop if you stop at all here. Most options are south, but there are a couple north from it. You can learn more about Eisenhower if you go to the south part of town taking K-15 if you wish.
Salina (Exits 250-253)
It seems like a small town at first, but there are many more options by taking I-135 south at Exit 250. There you find a much bigger looking city, so you should be able to find the maximum amount of options this way. However, if you wish to stay near the interstate, take Exit 252 to K-143. Going south into town takes some time but connects to downtown. Up north is the quickest solution for rushed travelers. The travel store might be a convenient short stop on the north side of the road.
Check out the Rolling Hills Zoo!
Russell (Exits 184 & 189)
There are more smaller towns along the way, but don’t have too many places that are familiar to most people. However, if this is something that interests you, there is Wilson (Wilson Lake), Dorrance, and Bunker Hill for example. The town of Russell is a bit bigger and will have more options than the ones along the way. Just take north US-281 at Exit 184 or the main exit or take Business US-40 at Exit 189.
Hays (Exits 157 & 159)
This is considered a major city in this part of the state. Be more than happy to take Exit 159 to get on US-183 and travel either direction north or south. Going south gives you more options, but there are also a number of places on the north side. Or if you care to take Exit 157 for Bypass US-183, you can go by Fort Hays State University and the west part of town. This is what I like to do occasionally when I’m travelling west.
WaKeeney (Exits 127 & 128)
Traveling west from Hays, you could stop at Ellis at Exit 145, but WaKeeney in my opinion is a better choice if you have already stopped in Hays. South of the interstate on US-283 is a travelstore connected to a McDonald’s with a drive-thru. This is probably the best place to stop in WaKeeney. It is pretty easy to spot right to the side of both roads and we usually stop here most of the time when we travel.
Oakley (Exit 70 & 76)
What exit you take can depend on your direction of travel. Both exits are good because they both have good rest stops and gas stations to get gas and a short snack. You can take Exit 70 for US-83 and Exit 76 for US-40. Exit 76 has a big gas station with multiple places to go. However, Exit 70 takes you to Buffalo Bill Cultural Center and also has a Cenex with a restaurant next door. You could even take both roads instead of the interstate if you were really curious about the town of Oakley.
Colby (Exits 53 & 54)
The main exit would be Exit 53 since it connects with K-25. It is one of the main roads of the town. Just travel up north and find something there. Whenever we would travel west, we would stop here before heading to Colorado to get to somewhere like Denver. We just always found something there like the McDonald’s close by the interstate.
Goodland (Exits 17 & 19)
West of Colby, US-24 joins the ride, you pass by Brewster followed by the time zone change. An hour behind is Goodland. Exit 19 leads to Bypass US-24 which comes back with K-27 at Exit 17. This is the main exit to get something to go in my opinion. This is really the last big stop before the state line. Kanorado at Exit 1 is the last town in Kansas and it is a pretty small one. Then you shall make your entrance into Colorful Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Burlington is the first available stop in Colorado 13 miles west from the state line. We also like to stop here sometimes.
There are many located along the interstate if you want to use the restroom or just stop driving for a bit. This is not including the toll road. Here is roughly where they are at based on mile markers: 336, 309, 265, 224, 187, 132, 96, 48, 9. These are what I can find and remember. If you are coming east from Colorado the rest area at around mile 9 is a welcome center for anyone new coming through the state.