From the Missouri River to the Riverwalk, it’s a long way between Kansas City, Kansas, and San Antonio, Texas. Over 700 miles, to be more specific! Most people might consider flying between these two cities in the Great Plains, but as fuel prices and airfare never seem to get cheaper, you might consider driving between them instead.
If you’re trying to decide about making the drive between Kansas City and San Antonio, you might have questions about the logistics: how far is the drive? How long will it take? Is there anywhere worth stopping along the way?
Below, you’ll find a complete guide to the best driving route between San Antonio and Kansas City (traveling in either direction). All of your questions will be answered, and soon you can hit the open road with confidence, knowing you’ll turn an otherwise standard drive into a memorable road trip.
Distance Between San Antonio & Kansas City
If you’re thinking of making a road trip out of your San Antonio to Kansas City drive, it’s useful to know what the distance is between these two cities.
As the crow flies, it’s roughly 703 miles one way between San Antonio and Kansas. When driving, the distance is a bit longer. A nonstop drive between Kansas City and San Antonio is about 815.8 miles along I-35. As you can see, it’s a pretty long road trip. Keep in mind that the total distance between these two cities will vary slightly depending on where you start in each city.
Drive Time Between Kansas City & San Antonio
The drive between San Antonio and Kansas City takes approximately twelve hours. Once again, this is an estimated time frame as you have to consider other factors, like traffic conditions, the cities you’re traveling to and from, the stops you make along the way, etc.
Doing the 12-hour drive from Kansas City to San Antonio without any stops is pretty unreasonable. Unless you’re traveling with a companion and taking driving shifts or are severely time-constrained, you’ll have to make a few stops to fill up your gas tank or take a bathroom break.
9 Stops to Make on Your Drive Between San Antonio & Kansas City
The drive between Kansas City and San Antonio might be a long one. But that only means there are tons of fun locations you can check out along the way.
Truckhenge is a collection of ’40s and ’50s trucks sticking up from the ground and has become a must-stop for anyone driving through Topeka.
The artist, Ron Lessman, decided to build Truckhenge after the county told him to pick up his trucks – and he literally did. He remembered Texas and Nebraska already had some artwork made of old, rusty vehicles and figured Kansas needed something like it, too. Lessman continued adding more trash-converted-into-art pieces, like the row of graffiti-painted upended boats and saw chain wooden sculptures.
The drive between San Antonio and Kansas City has yet another artsy attraction you can check out: Jurassic Art.
Phil Brinkly bought a welder in the late 1990s and learned to use it from his brothers-in-law and father-in-law. He soon started building some artwork with the welder using farm equipment and car and cast-off motorcycle parts. His first artworks were dinosaurs, which ultimately inspired the name of his “art gallery.” He then explored with different members of the animal kingdom. We can see eagles, bugs, pigs, and even dragons scattered around his yard.
Museum of World Treasures
Founded by Dr. Jon and Lorna Kardatzke, The Museum of World Treasures is a world history museum in Wichita. The museum honors its name as it houses a trove of invaluable historic artifacts spread over four floors.
The museum’s collection features items from all historical periods. You can see Tyrannosaurus, Daspletosaurus, and Tylosaurus specimens, Egyptian mummies, signatures of all the American presidents, a section of the Berlin Wall, and a genuine shrunken head!
Botanica, The Wichita Gardens
Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, is the definition of the perfect stop to stretch your legs. The property was opened in 1987 and comprised 17.6 acres of botanical-themed gardens and exhibits, including the Butterfly Garden, Shakespeare Garden, Rose and Wildflower Garden, and the award-winning Sally Stone Sensory Garden.
They also have a children’s area that will keep your kids entertained while you wander the grounds. The gardens feature over 4,000 species of plants, both native and new to the region. They are not only beautiful but also smell amazing.
Every Saturday from June to September, Guthrie returns to its Old West Town roots, and its streets get filled with cowboys and outlaws shooting at each other. Don’t panic and run, though. It’s just a demonstration.
Guthrie Gunfighters are a historical reenactment group that wants to show the public how life was back in the late 1800s. The experience feels incredibly authentic, with the actors dressed in period clothes and acting like many famous outlaws. Most shows take place at the Blue Belle Saloon in Guthrie.
Chickasaw Cultural Center
History buffs will love to visit the Chickasaw Cultural Center. Located in Sulphur, Oklahoma, it is one of the largest tribal cultural centers in the United States. The museum curates exhibitions that share and celebrate Chickasaw’s history and culture.
They also recreated a Chickasaw village that you can visit to learn how they lived. On set days, they do the stomp dance demonstration – a Chickasaw culture tradition that illustrates their spiritual and musical connection to nature through various songs and dances.
Historic Sinclair Gas Station
During the 1950s and 1960s, gas stations started popping up all over the country due to ever-increasing car ownership. Many vintage gas stations, like the Historic Sinclair Gas Station in Fort Worth, still exist.
Built-in 1950, this former Sinclair station looks exactly the same as it did in its heyday. Owner Paul Lemon has gone to great lengths to restore and maintain the old-style gas station building. In fact, this gas station received the Preservation Award from Historic Fort Worth in 2011. The building stills preserves the old-style gas pumps, an old pickup truck with Sinclair livery, and the iconic dinosaur on the roof. The office is also full of memorabilia.
Cathedral of Junk
The Cathedral of Junk is a must-stop on your drive from San Antonio to Kansas City. Vince Hannemann, who the art community has dubbed a “yardist,” built in his backyard a Cathedral made of junk.
It didn’t take long until the structure became one of Austin’s most offbeat attractions. He began building the Cathedral in 1988 because “he thought it was cool,” and now the structure contains at least 60 tons of junk. Beside the Cathedral is a little structure that shows pictures of the transformation over the years and the history of how it began. Please, make sure to call ahead, as Vince Hannemann gives tours by appointment only.
Don’t miss the chance to visit The Alamo on your Kansas City to San Antonio drive. A crucial piece of Texas history, this gorgeous building has had numerous throughout history. Originally a Spanish mission, Roman Catholic missionaries founded it in the 18th century to educate and convert local American Indians.
In 1793, the mission was secularized and then abandoned. Ten years later, the building became a fortress housing the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras military unit. Fast-forward to 1836, the fortress became the Battle of the Alamo battlefield. The site offers guided tours, living history demonstrations, and exhibitions to learn about the significance of this site.
Other Tips for Your Drive Between San Antonio & Kansas City
Now that you know the basics of the drive and are inspired to make a few stops, here are some final tips to help you finish planning your road trip:
- The route between San Antonio and Kansas City occurs across three states: Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
- There are several big cities along the route, including Austin, Oklahoma City, and Wichita. You’ll also skirt around the outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.
- If you’re looking for a good halfway point to stop for a few hours or overnight, consider Oklahoma City, which is just over five hours from Kansas City and about 7.5 hours from San Antonio.
- There are also plenty of rest stops and commercial truck stops to choose from along the way… literally dozens!
- There are also plenty of gas stations and truck stops along I-35 if you need fuel, toilets, snacks, or other services.
Should You Fly Between Kansas City & San Antonio Instead?
The need to travel from one city to another always poses the same dilemma: should you fly or drive to your destination.
There’s no right answer to this question, and what you decide boils down to two factors: time and costs.
Time-wise, the flying distance between San Antonio and Kansas City is 703 miles. It takes 3 hours and 26 minutes to cover that distance by plane – taking into account the time you need to get to the airport, do the check-in, and then drive to your final destination. By car, the drive between Kansas City and San Antonio takes 12 hours without any stops. So, we could say it takes two days with an overnight stay somewhere along the trip.
Cost-wise, a one-way flight ticket from Kansas City to San Antonio costs around $140, whereas, on the drive between San Antonio and Kansas City, you can spend around $300 for a round trip.
In the end, you should choose the best alternative that suits your needs and interests.
Have any other questions about making the drive between Kansas City and San Antonio – or reverse? Let me know in the comments!