If budgeting for a big summer vacation isn’t in the cards this year, consider a more cost-effective alternative – camping. Kansas City is close to several spots that would make for a fun weekend away without the financial strain. Whether you’re looking for lake views and watersports or climbing and cliff tops, check out these picturesque parks and campgrounds nearby.
Smithville Lake: Just 25 miles north of Kansas City, Smithville has a total of 780 camping sites around the stunning reservoir. It’s popular with families and adults looking to unwind, with fishing and boating being the main diversions.
Watkins Mill State Park: More secluded than Smithville, Watkins Mill is a perfect choice for kids who love nature hikes. It’s also adjacent to Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site, where costumed interpreters transport your weekend back to the 1870s.
Hillsdale State Park: A great camping and fishing spot close to southern Johnson County, Hillsdale Lake has two beaches, an equestrian area with 32 miles of trails and a model airplane-flying course. With seven campgrounds, the park boasts more than 300 campsites – some of which include water and electricity hookups.
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Truman Lake: If you have an RV, look no further. This giant reservoir in west-central Missouri has more than a thousand campsites, and more than 600 have electrical hookups. Fishing is a big deal here, but don’t overlook the hiking and horseback riding trails and beaches for swimming.
Perry Lake: Who says Kansas is a flat prairie? Between Topeka and Lawrence, this hilly area offers shaded camping sites and trails that wind through the upland forest. Fishing is excellent if you’re looking to hook channel catfish or crappie, and the marsh in the wildlife area makes for great waterfowl watching.
I’m not much of an overnight camper unless an RV is involved. However, my sister and her family are camping enthusiasts, and we pop in from time to time for day visits. We enjoy sitting by the campfire, playing cards while eating s’mores, and my 5-year-old loves fishing with his uncle and cousins. We have been to Smithville, Watkins Mill and Perry Lake. Further south in Oklahoma is my hometown of Skiatook, where I grew up frequently visiting the lake – while still sleeping in my own bed.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.