So skyrocketing costs of gas and airline travel has you thinking about canceling that trip to the beach or Disneyland.

Where can you go that’s close to home?

If you really need to go to the beach, there are public swimming beaches at Harvey County East and West parks, Marion Reservoir ($1 per person age 12 and older, up to $4), El Dorado State Park and Cheney State Park (regular Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks entrance fees, for more information, visit www.kdwp-.state.ks.us).


So skyrocketing costs of gas and airline travel has you thinking about canceling that trip to the beach or Disneyland.

Where can you go that’s close to home?

If you really need to go to the beach, there are public swimming beaches at Harvey County East and West parks, Marion Reservoir ($1 per person age 12 and older, up to $4), El Dorado State Park and Cheney State Park (regular Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks entrance fees, for more information, visit www.kdwp-.state.ks.us).

The Flint Hills Scenic Byway is a National Scenic Byway, which begins in Cassoday (take First Street Road from Newton straight east to K-177), and goes north 47 miles to Council Grove. Points of interest on the byway include Cassoday, Matfield Green, Cottonwood Falls, Strong City, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and Council Grove.

Another National Scenic Byway is the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway, which begins in Hoisington and runs 76 miles south. This byway goes through or near both the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Other points of interest include Hoisington, Claflin, Ellinwood, Great Bend, Hudson, Stafford and St. John.

The Prairie Trail State Byway is a state scenic byway that begins in Canton (take Ridge Road straight north to the junction of U.S. Highway 56 and Kansas Highway 89) and runs west for 68 miles. Points of interest include Canton, the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, Roxbury, Lindsborg, Coronado Heights, Marquette, Kanopolis State Park, Mushroom Rock State Park and Ellsworth.

More information on Kansas Scenic Byways is available at www.ksbyways.org.

If you are a museum goer, there are museums galore within a couple hours of Newton. In Newton, there is the Harvey County Historical Museum at 203 N. Main (open 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, $3 adults, $2 children 5 to 17, $10 family rate, www.hchm.-com) and the Carriage Factory Gallery (www.carriagefactoryartgallery.-com), which opens a new exhibit, “The Land We Love,” Tuesday, featuring Kansas landscapes by Cally Krallman, Don Lind and Carolyn Wedel; and the Warkentin House, 211 E. First. Call 283-3113 for information at the Warkentin House. Through July 13, the museum home features a wedding gown display.

In North Newton, across the street from Bethel College, is Kauffman Museum (open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. weekends, $3 adults, $1.50 children ages 6 to 16, www.betheks.edu/Kauffman/), which features a tallgrass prairie reconstruction and a permanent exhibit, “Of Land and People,” which deals with the Mennonite migration from Europe to North America.

Other nearby museums include the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Goessel, the Halstead Historical Society Museum, Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, the Harvey House Museum in Florence, the Mennonite Settlement and William F. Schaeffer House museums in Hillsboro and the Peabody Historical, 1881 Morgan House and Printing museums, all in Peabody.

Harvey County operates three parks — East, West and Camp Hawk. All three parks offer fishing and camping (tent camping only at Camp Hawk). East Park and West Park both offer boating (trolling motors only at West Park) and nature trails. Camp Hawk has an 18-hole disc golf course. More information is available at www.harveycounty.com-/parks/parks.html.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates Marion County Reservoir, which offers camping, boating and fishing.

Nearby state parks include El Dorado, Cheney, Sand Hills (in Hutchinson), Kanopolis and Mushroom Rock.

If you really need to go to an amusement park, unfortunately, Wild West World closed almost as soon as it opened. Alternatives might include the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita and Carey Park Zoo in Hutchinson, the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Exploration Place and the Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita and Boot Hill in Dodge City.

If you need to ride all the rides, the Kansas State Fair is Sept. 5 through 14 in Hutchinson.

More Kansas tourism information is available at www.travelks.com.