Midwest Road Trips

Get the Heck into Dodge City with the Kids

Dodge City Kansas and Boot Hill museum tops the list for family fun.
Boot Hill Museum tops the list for family fun in Dodge City, Kansas. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Midwest is big and if you’re crossing it, road trip stops are a must. Since the 80s, visiting Dodge City in Kansas sat on my bucket list, especially after  watching National Lampoon’s Vacationwith Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo. Here’s what to do in Dodge City, Kansas.

The Boot Hill Museum

Find The Boot Hill Museum in the middle of Dodge City with lots of parking. It offers the ultimate stop for adventure-loving families with a love of the Old West. See stagecoaches, saloons, old schoolhouses and scraggly characters, some wearing holsters and side arms.

Dodge City's Boot Hill Jail is a must for families when road tripping.
Locked up for bickering in the jail at the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, Kansas. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

If you time it right, see the summer gunfight, (once or twice daily depending on the day). After dusty cowboys swagger into town, misunderstandings are moments away.

A hungry cowboy looks at a barmaid wrong and the barkeep throws him out the swinging doors. Words are exchanged then the revolvers come out. Onlookers take in an authentic a Dodge City gun fight, dust cloud included. For boys, see their eyes pop out of their heads.

Stop at the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, Kansas, for an Old West shootout.
The pretty barmaids cause a ruckus at the Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Meander through the rest of Dodge City’s restored buildings as thee creak of the wood floors take you back in time. Dodge City houses  more than 60,000 antiques that date back to the 1870s, from Dodge City residents. Don’t forget to hop abroad the stagecoach for an authentic frontier road trip experience.

Hop abroad the Stagecoach at Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, Kansas.
Not our next road tripping vehicle. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

History of Dodge City

Dodge City represents the Wild West for most Americans, and named after nearby Fort Dodge. In 1865 as the Indian Wars intensified, the U.S. Army constructed the fort, near the Santa Fe Trail, used for cattle drives.

Dodge City became a boom town after a Texas Longhorn quarantine pushed the cattle drives west. At the intersection of the Santa Fe Trail, the Chisholm Trail and the Western Trail, Dodge City collected cowboys and cattle rustlers alike.

Gambler-turned-lawman Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson tried to keep the town in order. Yet Dodge City’s reputation as a wild frontier town, made it a legend. The name Boot Hill Museum originated after the Boot Hill Cemetery, where the city buried the outlaws with their boots in place .

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How to Visit Dodge City

Located at 500 W. Watt Earp Blvd. in the center of Dodge City, Kansas. Dodge City is about 350 miles east of Denver, Colorado.

Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Open at 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year.

Adult admission is (13+)  is $15, kids ( 5 to 12)  is $11 and senior admission (65+) is $14. Family Pack  includes admission for two adults and two kids ages 17 and under for $52. Admission includes entry into the museum, an introductory video and the summertime shoot-out.

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Other Dodge City Sites

Find a bronze sculpture dedicated to the Texas cattle drives, El Capitan, at Second Avenue and West Wyatt Earp Boulevard. The 100th Meridian Marker offers another interesting road trip stop at 1105 East Wyatt Earp Boulevard.

If you have a bit more time, the Historic Dodge City Trolley Tours hits all the stops around town. Additional admission.

Dodge City Kansas offers family fun at Boot Hill Museum.
Climb abroad the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Steam Engine parked in front of the Boot Hill Museum. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

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Know Before You Go

  • Boot Hill Museum features a variety show and a country-style dinner for an additional fee.
Head to Dodge City, Kansas, for road trip fun with the family. Find all the details for summer visits in this guide. What to do in Kansas | What to do at Dodge City | Road Trip Stops in Kansas #DodgeCity #Kansas
credit: Catherine Parker

Head to Dodge City, Kansas, for road trip fun with the family. Find all the details for summer visits in this guide. What to do in Kansas | What to do at Dodge City | Road Trip Stops in Kansas #DodgeCity #Kansas


Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

1 Comment

  1. Wow, what a neat adventure for kids- history and action all in one place! I remember my parents taking me to Six-Gun Territory in Florida when I was little- and the Western gunfight in the street- though it really did scare me at the time. I don’t think my kids would be as chicken as I was back then lol. This is a great idea for a family trip, thanks for sharing it!