Here’s a list of 5 outdoorsy day trips near Johnson County to get to this spring

A number of outdoorsy destinations are within an hour of Johnson County for residents to take a day trip to, such as the Powell Gardens in Kingsville, Mo. Image via Powell Gardens Facebook page.

Spring officially began on Saturday, March 20, and there are plenty of places nearby for Johnson Countians to enjoy the outdoors this season.

And after a year in which we’ve all been told to stay at home for large chunks of time, we may be ready to get away, if even for a day.

While there are a number of local parks and trails to enjoy — such as the Turkey Creek and Rock Creek Streamway Trails, Meadowbrook Park and Shawnee Mission Park — some may be itching to get out of Johnson County for a bit.

Below is our list of a few outdoorsy day trips — all of which are close enough to Johnson County to drive there and back in a day — and still enjoy spring for a few hours in between.

If we missed a good spot to get outside that’s within an hour’s drive of Johnson County, let us know by emailing

Clinton Lake

Clinton Lake
Clinton Lake in Lawrence, Kan., features a number of activities including fishing, like the person above is doing. Photo via Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism website.

About 45 minutes west of Johnson County, Clinton Lake State Park offers a number of outdoor activities to partake in from trails and dog parks to fishing and camping — there’s something for everyone.

Powell Gardens

Powell Gardens
Powell Gardens, located 15 minutes outside of Lee’s Summit, features seven different themed gardens including the fountain garden above. Photo via Powell Gardens website.

If you’re a fan of the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Garden but are looking to switch it up, check out Powell Gardens. Located about an hour away near Lee’s Summit, there are seven gardens for the public to enjoy. The gardens reopen on April 1.

Wells Overlook Park

Wells Overlook Park observatory tower offers views of Lawrence. Photo via Kansas Travel website.

Donated to Douglas County by William Wells in 1971, Wells Overlook Park features an observation tower that looks over the city of Lawrence. There are also picnic tables, a playground and a short hiking trail.

Weston Bend State Park

Weston Bend State Park offers a number of outdoorsy activities — the views are just the beginning. Photo via Missouri State Parks website.

Only a 45-minute drive north of Johnson County, Weston Bend State Park offers a number of activities like camping, trails, a dog park, fishing and even a historic site tour. There’s also a 3-mile, paved bike trail that is a journey “through the park’s woody terrain,” according to the website.

Prairie Park Nature Center and The Baker Wetlands

The 45-minute drive to The Baker Wetlands is the only thing standing between Johnson Countians and nature-filled birdwatching. Photo via Baker University website.

Another Lawrence attraction — The Prairie Park Nature Center, a 100-acre nature preserve featuring “wetlands, woodlands and prairie habitats and a five-acre lake,” according to the website. While you’re there, stop by The Baker Wetlands for birdwatching and stargazing.