"Kansas" Outdoor Travel Experience for the Whole Family
I know what you're thinking, Kansas as a travel destination, really? The answer, yes Kansas. But not just Kansas, I want to focus on the southeastern region of the state. This area is part of a network of state corners that locals call the four states. Southeastern Kansas is joined by southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma and the area provides a plethora of travel opportunities. From Casino's to public hunting, fishing, camping and hiking lands. There is something here for everyone and it's all within approximately thirty minutes of driving from one to another.
Mined Land Wildlife Area.
This area is what locals call the "strip pits." they are home to many different species of wildlife, such as whitetail deer, bobcats, quail and turkey, just to name a few. "The strip pits" originated as coal mines. The reason for the name "strip pit" comes from the mining days where they stripped the land away w/ large shovels and equipment to get down to the coal, in turn leaving vast holes in the earth of various shapes, sizes and depth's. It's comprised of 1500 acres of water and 13,000 acres of land that cover portions of Cherokee and Crawford counties. The waters are home to numerous species of game fish including Large-mouth Bass, Crappie, and Catfish. There is also a pit that is stocked annually w/ trout. Each pit has camping areas, boat docks and lots of land to explore. To get information on fishing and hunting regulations or maps of the area, refer to http://kdwp.state.ks.us/news/KDWP-Info/Locations/Wildlife-Areas/Region-5/Mined-Land.
Nestled in the "strip pits" is Claythorne Hunting Lodge. The lodge is a luxury resort that is home to one of the worlds greatest sporting clays ranges. They have hosted many tournaments for the sport, including The World F.I.T.A.S.C championship, two US Open Sporting clays championship tournaments, and several State and local tournaments. The lodge features two twelve station sporting clays courses, skeet, and five stand. They have lodging to suit all needs and dining facilities. There's a western style saloon and trophy room featuring trophy game taken from all over the US. They also have a large convention building for hosting corporate or private parties and meetings. In their pro-shop you'll find gear for the hunter and target shooter, as well as clothing and shotguns. The staff is dedicated to making all of their visitors feel welcome and comfortable. While at the lodge you can enjoy fishing in their private pits or make reservations for a guided hunt. Guided hunts include pheasant, quail, turkey and deer. Claythorne provides everything that is needed for a successful and memorable hunt. http://www.claythorne.com/
Just down the road is a small bait and sandwich shop called Angelo's. The shop has been open for nearly 30 years and is home to some of the best sandwiches you will ever eat. I recommend the Angelo's special featuring their own special sauce. They have camping supplies and live fishing bait for anyone wanting to enjoy a day or weekend of fishing.
Just a few miles from Claythorne is a historical site that cannot and should not be overlooked while visiting the area. It is the site of Big Brutus the second largest electric shovel in the world. It stands at over 16 stories tall and weighs over 11,000,000 pounds. It is responsible for stripping a large portion of the coal taken from the Kansas Mined Land Area. The shovel is now made into a museum and is truly a wondrous site that is open to visitors year round. http://www.bigbrutus.org/
Surrounding the "strip pits" are several small towns featuring local pubs, restaurants, and hotels. With Oswego to the west, Columbus to the east, and Scammon to the northeast, there is no shortage of places to grab a bite to eat or pick up some supplies for that camping trip. If you go south from Oswego on 59 hwy you'll come to a town called Chetopa. This town is the Catfish Capital and is also a great place to catch spoonbill and white bass. There are 3 restaurants in Chetopa and I recommend trying all of them. Each has their own menu featuring their own specialties. From the chicken fried steak at the Buckboard to Italian night at Deb's, you can't go wrong taking the family here for a great evening meal.
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