Fall is a time for exploration and travel and right here in Great Bend and Barton County there are plenty of things for the family to see and do and a great way to get outdoors to enjoy the cool weather.
“Fall is such a great time to get out and enjoy what the city has to offer,” Convention and Visitors Bureau Visitor Service Coordinator Emily Goad said. “Long’s Pumpkin Patch and Kansas Wetlands Education Center just to name a few are great places to visit. There is so much to do outdoors during this time of year.”
Other attractions in the area that people can visit during Autumn include:
• Rosewood Winery and Ranch, 1171 SW 20 Rd. Pawnee Rock. People can enjoy the outdoor air with friends and family and the indoor tasting room.
• Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway: Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
• B-29 Memorial, 9047 6th St. Located at the Great Bend City Airport, this memorial pays tribute to the B-29 bomber training base, located in Great Bend during World War II.
• Take a self-guided adventure searching for more than 70 over-sized uniquely decorated birdhouses that adorn sidewalks and business fronts all over town.
One of the biggest attractions for people to visit is Cheyenne Bottoms, including the Kansas Wetlands Education Center. Cheyenne Bottoms is a globally important stopover for thousands of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. Over 200,000 use the area in autumn. It has been estimated that 45 percent of all migratory shorebirds nesting in North America stage at Cheyenne Bottoms,
“We get the fall migration of waterfowl in the area and there are so many different species of birds to see, it is such a wonderful thing for people to do in the fall,” Administration Assistant for the KWEC Linda Penner said. “We also have different events throughout the fall where people can come and enjoy a day at the KWEC.”
There are other events that take place in October and these include: SRCA Races, Rosewood Rodeo, Healing Hearts Rodeo, Downtown Halloween Candy Walk and Zoo Boo at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo. In November there is the Home for the Holidays Parade and Festivities, with the Mayor’s Tree Lighting and Downtown Cookie Contest.
For more information about these places to visit and events contact the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau, 620-792-2750.
Fall attractions away from home
For people that are wanting to get away from home and take a longer trip during the fall months, AAA has some suggestions.
According to a new survey from AAA, more than one in four Americans (28 percent) expects to take a vacation this year between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
“We have seen strong demand for travel throughout the course of the year, and Americans are discovering that traveling during the fall season is a best kept secret,” AAA Senior Vice President of Travel and Publishing Bill Sutherland said, “Travelers increasingly prioritize immersing travel experiences and autumn offers more opportunities for them to explore a destination’s local culture, thanks to fewer crowds and mild weather.”
Travelers say the top benefits of taking a fall trip include:
• Fewer crowds and children
• Weather that is more favorable
• The opportunity to find better value for the cost of their trip
“Savvy travelers can often find lower prices on everything from airfare and hotels to cruises and vacation packages, as travel companies offer incentives to fill their vacancies during the fall,” Sutherland said.
Road trips are the preferred activity for fall travelers, with 62 percent of those planning a vacation intending to pack up their cars and hit the road.
Thanks to milder weather, outdoor events such as fall festivals and visits to national and state parks are particularly popular with travelers this time of year. Twenty-six percent of those who are planning a fall vacation will take a trip to view fall foliage, a favorite pastime from the northeast and New England, to the mountains of North Carolina and Colorado.
According to AAA Kansas travel agents, Kansas travelers are booking autumn adventures, including:
• Alaska cruises
• Florida theme parks
• New England and Canada fall foliage tours
• Southwest United States (for example, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Sedona, Monument Valley, Bryce and Zion National Parks)
• European river cruises
• Mexico resorts
Nationwide, the majority of fall travelers will stay within the United States, with Orlando, southern California, Hawaii and New York the most popular domestic travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings. Approximately one-third of fall travelers are planning an international vacation, with European destinations including Rome and London especially popular this time of year.
This year’s top fall destinations based on AAA Travel bookings nationwide include:
• Orlando, Florida
• Rome, Italy
• Anaheim, California
• Honolulu, Hawaii
• New York City
• Las Vegas, Nevada
• London, England
• Dublin, Ireland
• Boston, Massachusetts
• Cancun, Mexico