A story of redemption and recovery keeps Fort Scott, Kansas, going and thriving.
Situated on the Marmaton River, this city was a vital part of the wars in the United States during the 1800s.
Several challenges have affected its beauty and rich history, however, especially the 2005 fire that gutted historic buildings in the city’s downtown area.
Rebuilding was a challenge, but Fort Scott has bounced back, recovered its beauty, and preserved its history.
Today, the seat of Bourbon County offers diverse agri-tourism, adventures with nature, entertainment scene, and festivals which attracts visitors.
Nature trips abound in this place because of its location and natural resources.
As a tourist, you have various options on what you can do and see in Fort Scott.
Here are the best things to do in Fort Scott, Kansas, if you are planning your next trip with your family or friends:
Explore the Fort Scott National Historic Site
The United States attributes its early growth partly to the notable Fort Scott National Historic Site.
Established in the early 1840s, Fort Scott watched history unfold.
During your visit to this historic site, you will see 20 old buildings and structures built during the early years of Fort Scott’s existence.
These well-preserved historic structures remain there to this day.
Guided tours are available for visitors if you want to explore the Fort Scott National Historic Site.
If you are bringing your kids, check out the Junior Ranger program, which offers fun ways for kids to learn about the national historic site.
Smell the Flowers at the Lavender Patch Farm
If you love the smell of lavender, you will surely enjoy a visit to The Lavender Patch Farm along Locust Road.
In 2010, couple Betsy and Davin Reichard started planting their first lavender plot, which has grown to more than a thousand plants.
You can try planting and picking lavender in the vast area where these flowers are grown at the farm.
Lavender-flavored ice cream, drinks, and cookies are also worth trying during your trip.
There is also a gift shop at the Lavender Patch Farm, where you can buy items like lavender oil, dry flowers, lip balm, lotion, and even bath salt.
If you are coming with your kids, you can also play outdoor games on this farm.
Ride Your Bike at Gunn Park Trails
The 6.5-mile single-track trail for your mountain biking adventure is the main feature at the Gunn Park Trails.
Located along Park Avenue, this trail provides riders with a relaxing ride with views of tall trees and the river.
Established in 2009, the trails at Gunn Park took two years to finish.
Since then, people have used the trail for biking events in the locality and the whole of Kansas.
Uphill and downhill parts are the most thrilling since the skills required are more complicated.
If you are a beginner, try the more manageable sections at the start of this trail.
Completing the Gunn Park Trails will be fulfilling and fun because of the adventure and the views you will see along the way.
Appreciate Contemporary Art at Gordon Parks Museum
Lovers of the arts, photography, film, and music will enjoy events and exhibits at the Gordon Parks Museum.
Drive to Horton Street to see a display of artworks and memorabilia of American musician, director, and photographer Gordon Parks.
You can find most of his works and collections at the Gordon Parks Museum.
The place also keeps all of Parks’ medals, awards, diplomas, and other distinctions.
Bring your kids or the entire family to the Gordon Parks Museum and learn together about arts in Fort Scott.
Hop aboard the Iconic Fort Scott Trolley Tours
Look back at the city’s history with the Fort Scott Trolley Tours, which will take you around the historic county seat for 50 minutes while teaching you about its beautiful history.
While aboard the iconic Dolly the Trolley, you will get a glimpse of the Historic Mansions, Courtland Hotel, Gunn Park, and the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, among others.
Aside from the tour, you can also rent Dolly the Trolley to transport you from one place of Fort Scott to another, especially during special events like weddings, parties, and other celebrations.
Enjoy private guided tours with your group, where you will learn and discover more about Fort Scott’s history.
Bring your family and friends to the Fort Scott Trolley Tours!
Learn How to Milk Cows at Foster Dairy Farms
For lovers of milk and dairy, Foster Dairy Farms along Highway 39 is a perfect destination when visiting Fort Scott.
The dairy farm features robotic milkers who help milk cows during the season.
When you visit the farm, you will encounter cows freely roaming around.
Owners of Foster Dairy Farms said that this helps them milk on their schedules and results in higher milk production.
You can also join tours around the farm to see their equipment and the animals.
On your trip to Fort Scott, make sure to visit this productive cow farm.
Enjoy Water Activities at Fort Scott Aquatic Center
During the summer, check out the Fort Scott Aquatic Center, equipped with slides, play areas, diving boards, floating walk pads, and other equipment for water activities.
Kids and adults will enjoy soaking themselves in the pools and enjoying the sun’s heat.
Built in the 1930s, the Fort Scott Aquatic Center’s total swim area is 25 yards with eight lanes.
Swimming competitions for kids and adults in Fort Scott usually occur in this venue.
Head to Scott Avenue to enjoy a day under the sun with your friends and family.
You can also book private gatherings and celebrations at the Fort Scott Aquatic Center.
Get Up Close with Light-Colored Deer at the Anderson Elk Ranch
At the Anderson Elk Ranch along 245th Street, you will have the chance to meet light-colored deers with large antlers called elks.
Also called “wapiti,” these elks are larger versions of the usual deer.
Their antlers can reach as high as four feet, a noticeable feature.
You can visit the ranch to see these elks and other wildlife interact with them.
Harvest these antlers without harming the elks and use it to aid the metabolism and immunity of the human body.
Starting in 1990, the Anderson Elk Ranch also breeds these animals for its meat.
Elk meat is not only rich in flavor but also in nutrients like protein and iron. So, if you also want to taste this deer meat, you can also try it during your visit to the ranch.
Go Fishing and Camping at Lake Fort Scott
If you love the outdoors, Lake Fort Scott provides a vast 352-acre open space where visitors can fish, camp, and boat.
You can take a boat and then fish on the lake, which has a variety of fish species, including large flathead, crappie, muskie, walleye, channel catfish, and bluegill.
Likewise, bring your camping gear when you visit this property because of its green and broad shoreline.
Docks are also available for those who want to sail and practice for sailing competitions.
Head to Indian Road to discover numerous outdoor activities which you can do at Lake Fort Scott.
Make sure to bring a checklist of what you need for your camping trip to avoid any inconvenience.
Learn a New Hobby at the Museum of Creativity
If you love to collect things, play games, or share new hobbies with others, the Museum of Creativity is a must-visit during your trip to Fort Scott.
Here you can see game collections and try exciting activities in the museum.
Some of the main attractions in this museum are Barbie exhibits, models of trains, lego exhibits, and a maze challenge.
You can also practice your creativity and create your crafts.
Take home some memorabilia from their shop, including gifts, decorations, toys, and even jewelry.
The Museum of Creativity is open to the public Fridays and Saturdays.
Find the Perfect Gift at Bids & Dibs
If you are scouting for gifts for your family, loved ones, and friends, drop by the Bids & Dibs store along Scott Avenue.
You can score quality apparel, home improvement stuff, pre-loved items, decorations, furniture, and more here.
Houseware and kitchenware are also centerpieces at this store because of their design and quality.
Grab costumes for all occasions at the Bids & Dibs store, with displays varying depending on the monthly celebrations.
Do not forget to stop by this place before concluding your trip to take home the best souvenirs from Fort Scott.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Fort Scott sits amid other equally beautiful places worth visiting and exploring.
Some attractions and destinations are just a few minutes away from Fort Scott.
If you have already explored the rest of Fort Scott, try visiting neighboring towns and cities that offer accessible and commendable tourist attractions.
Here are some recommended things to do and explore near Fort Scott during your trip:
Discover Farming Technologies at Muddy Water Farms
Are you interested in methodologies of farming various crops?
A visit to the Muddy Water Farms along Soldier Road might be the answer.
Established in 2010, Muddy Water Farms houses various crops like wheat, corn, soybean, and sorghum.
Besides produce, livestock is also raised at the farm.
Despite the challenging terrain and soil condition, Muddy Water Farms manages to maximize its crops using modern farming technologies.
It can market its fresh produce not only to the local community but also to neighboring localities.
You can find this farm in Hiattsville, Kansas, ten minutes from Fort Scott.
Hunt Deer at the Big Drywood Creek Conservation Area
Occupying a 13-acre space, the Big Drywood Creek Conservation Area is famous for its wildlife activities like fishing, deer hunting, and bird watching.
Take a 19-minute drive from Fort Scott to reach this conservation area in Nevada, Missouri, a renowned destination for deer hunters.
At the Big Drywood Creek Conservation Area, you can hunt several animals, provided you follow regulations.
Use a bow and arrow to hunt deer, because the place strictly prohibits firearms and explosives.
Hunting is seasonal at the Big Drywood Creek Conservation Area.
You can also hunt turkeys from April to May, while deer thrive from September to November.
Just keep in mind the hunting rules implemented in this conservation area.
Try an Off-Road Adventure at Kansas Rocks Recreation Park
Take your 4x4 ride on an exhilarating adventure at the Kansas Rocks Recreation Park in Mapleton, Kansas, 23 minutes from Fort Scott.
Challenging trails and obstacles await you in this park located along 130th Street in Mapleton.
You can bring your 4x4 drive, SUVs, ATVs, motorcycles, and even mountain bikes to explore the trails at this park.
Visitors have access to courses of up to 30 miles and the entire 380-acre area of the park.
Traditional camping and RV camping grounds are also open here if you want to spend a night or two.
The Kansas Rocks Recreation Park also hosts events both for kids and adults.
Historical sites and adventure places make Fort Scott a fascinating place to visit during a vacation.
It offers tourists various options regarding the things they can do and explore.
Scenic views, stunning architecture, and well-maintained tourist destinations have driven tourism in the city over the years.
Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Fort Scott, Kansas!