The first stop is the Franklin County Visitor Information Center located at I-35 and Hwy 68. It’s open seven days a week and offers a wealth of information on the local area, in addition to brochures and maps for all of Kansas and beyond. They can also help you plan your vacation or offer services for your local meetings and conventions.
A wonderful mixture of history and beauty await you in Ottawa/Franklin County, Kansas. Located approximately 20 miles south of Lawrence and 45 minutes southwest of Kansas City, Ottawa is a community blessed with historic architecture, great antique shopping and fun-filled community events.
In this historic community you can learn about the tragedies in the battle over slavery and see how Kansas was the beginning of the Civil War. You can see what an 1885 train depot was like at the Old Depot Museum or kick back and relax with an ice cream cone and stroll historic Main Street. Here, you can learn about the buildings built in the late 1800s from the interactive Kiosk system beginning at the Old Depot Museum and ending near the Carnegie Cultural Center. And don’t forget to stop by the beautiful Franklin County Courthouse, built in 1893 by famed Kansas architect George Washburn.
If outdoor activities are your game, Ottawa is just a stone’s throw from some of the best fishing and hiking in Eastern Kansas. Pomona Lake, Clinton Lake and Hillsdale Lake are just a 20-minute drive to the west, north and east respectively. Or hop on your bike for a ride or hike on the 51-mile-long trail named the Prairie Spirit Trail from Ottawa to Iola, KS. Local residents cherish this trail as a way to get out and enjoy the area nature and wildlife. In the fall, residents and visitors enthusiastically take part in annual day trips to Peckham’s pumpkin patch and Pome on the Range Orchards and Winery for fresh farm pickings.
For a taste of small-town culture, plan to attend any of the festivals and events put on in Ottawa, Lane, Richmond, Princeton, Wellsville, Williamsburg or Pomona. Each of these communities rolls out the red carpet for visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of what small-town life is like.
Come for a few hours, an entire day or the weekend. You won’t be disappointed, because you can find a little bit of everything in Ottawa and Franklin County.