Trip Review: A Quick Visit to Lawrence, Kansas

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Last week, we had the privilege to spend the 4th of July holiday with the hubby’s family in Lawrence, Kansas. And while Lawrence may not be the travel mecca that Dublin is, we had a great time re-discovering the city where my hubby grew up, and that we’ve been visiting once or twice a year for the entirety of our marriage.

Even after all this time, we always manage to find something new and fun!

Once again, we were able to take this last-minute trip thanks to our Southwest Companion Pass, which we earned by opening two Southwest credit cards and completing the minimum spending.

Flying in and out of Kansas — lots of farms, few buildings!

Flying in and out of Kansas — lots of farms, but few buildings — a very different experience!

As a result, I was able to use some of our accumulated Southwest points (16,998 points, in total) to book my round-trip ticket, and then the hubby was able to fly for free as my companion. That equals a savings of about ~$600 on our flights alone.

We also stayed with one of the hubby’s brothers, making our accommodation costs free as well. In fact, our only travel “expense” this trip was on a rental car — we booked with Alamo via the Southwest Vacations portal for a nice little discount: we paid a base rate of only $25/day for a full-size vehicle (a Chrysler 300!) and managed to earn an additional 1,200 Southwest points bonus (for booking the car through their portal) + nearly 500+ Marriott Rewards points (we get 5x points on travel with our Marriott Visa) on the spend itself.

And, of course, we found some time to get out and explore. One of our new finds this trip was a great Mexican restaurant called Port Fonda. We enjoyed a margarita flight, and I found a new favorite drink: the “Fonda Colada” is like a Pina Colada, but instead of rum, they used tequila. This helped to counteract the typically syrup-y sweet flavor of the coconut and made for a real winner in my book.

The margarita flight from Port Fonda in Lawrence, Kansas, contained a traditional margarita, a hibiscus margarita, a blood orange margarita, and my favorite, the Fonda Collada.

The margarita flight from Port Fonda in Lawrence, Kansas, contained a traditional margarita, a hibiscus margarita, a blood orange margarita, and my favorite, the Fonda Colada.

Another great discovery was Potter’s Lake on the University of Kansas campus (also pictured up top). As this was summer, and the campus was relatively quiet, this was an incredibly tranquil little getaway in the center of town. And even better, the water lilies were blooming for us!

Water lillies blooming at Potter's Lake on the University of Kansas Campus in Lawrence, Kansas.

Water lilies blooming at Potter’s Lake on the University of Kansas Campus.

We also went to an old-time-favorite to long time Lawrence residents, but a place that I had never visited before: an island-theme college bar in Lawrence called The Sandbar.

Drinks come with toys like sunglasses, beads, and lights at The Sandbar in Lawrence, Kansas.

Myself and my brother-in-law at The Sandbar, where drinks come with toys like glasses and beads!

And the Sandbar was a blast: because it was summer, the college kids weren’t clogging up the place, and so instead a mostly thirty-something audience was jamming out to 80s rock music, all while being served toys with each drink. The more you drank, the more toys you earned!

Overall it was a great trip to Lawrence, Kansas— we got to see family, shoot off some fireworks, and explore this charming little city. Hope you had a great 4th of July as well!

Tell me in the comments: what was the best part of your 4th of July weekend?


  • Lois Alter Mark

    I’ve never even heard of this part of Kansas but it sounds like a great place to visit! I love those water lilies, and the Fonda Colada looks yummy! How fun that you get toys, too!

  • yukti agrawal

    Kansas looks green and peaceful. I would love to have those Mexican coladas specially the coconut flavored one. Potter’s Lake with Lotus is beautiful and that island themed bar looks cool.

  • Marissa Abao

    That was a lot of savings! Southwest credit card offers a really good deal. I wish that I have the same credit card right now. I like the drinks by Port Fonda. They look refreshing and delicious.

  • Zainab Mohiuddin

    Wow you saved so much with the Southwest card! Also that margarita looks yummy!

  • Kristina @ The Nerdventurists

    Kansas isn’t one of those places I would ever really think of visiting to be honest. But this was a lovely little peek! That margarita looks so tasty!~

  • Parnashree Devi

    Seems like you had great time with family. Whenever I hear about Kansas, a flash of Sunflower gardens come alive. Would love to visit Lawrence someday.