A closer look: Consider these four Airbnbs in western Kansas for a top-notch vacation idea

Vince Marshall, Meghan Flynn, Jennifer Stultz
Gannett

Looking for an interesting in-state vacation idea? These Airbnbs in western Kansas just might be the right ticket.

Dodge City - Cottage on Boot Hill

Get away to the Old West

Located at 406 W. Spruce Street, Cottage on Boot Hill owned by Tracy and Ross Smith is a vacation rental for locals and tourists to enjoy for overnight stays for weddings, graduations or to relax for a weekend in the Old West.

Want to lay your head down during a visit to the Old West? Cottage on Boot Hill is the place to rest when experiencing all that historical Dodge City has to offer.

Located at 406 W. Spruce Street in Dodge City, Cottage on Boot Hill is owned by Tracy and Ross Smith. The rental began with the couple turning their hobby of do-it-yourself house projects into a prime destination for Dodge City.

"With a blend of our hobbies, we dreamed that we should find an old house to fix up and turn it into a vacation rental," Tracy Smith said. "We could give it a western decor to give tourists and guests an extra taste of our western heritage."

The cottage is a renovated bungalow built in 1925 near Boot Hill Museum. The Smiths opened for business at the end of 2019 right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. "We didn't even have a year under our belt," Tracy Smith said. "As things opened up a bit in the summer, our stays increased because a lot of people preferred to stay with us than at a hotel."

Cottage on Boot Hill features two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and laundry, basic toiletries, and a spa-like bathroom. To book a stay visit Airbnb.com, search Cottage on Boot Hill. Photo provided by Tracy Smith.

In that time, Cottage on Boot Hill and the Smiths have been listed as a "Superhost" by Airbnb, based on its rating system for guests. Currently, the vacation rental has a 4.97 star-rating out of five based on 100 reviews, according to its Airbnb listing.

The cottage comes with a fully equipped kitchen and laundry and provides basic toiletries, two bedrooms and a spa-like bathroom as well as being set in a prime location within walking distance to Boot Hill Museum, Boot Hill Distillery, Dodge City Brewing and downtown Dodge City. The rental also holds a rustic-chic coffee bar.

According to Tracy Smith, bookings can be made through Airbnb.com as well as direct bookings. For updates, follow Cottage on Boot Hill on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cottageonboothill/. To book a stay, the listing can be found on Airbnb.com by searching Cottage on Boot Hill.

More:Kansas historic hotels offer a look back in time for guests. Here are eight you can road trip to this summer.

Pratt - Art Barn in the Country

Art and life feed the soul

A beautiful view with wide-open spaces welcomes visitors to an artistic paradise at the Art Barn in the Country Airbnb near Pratt.

Art is life and life is light for Dick and Nancy Bixler, who built the Art Barn in the Country, an Airbnb and working metal art studio near Pratt.

Incorporating art and light into life is something that feeds their souls, and something they hope others who come to stay for a night, or longer, will experience as well. Located on a country road just two miles from the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake (fishing hole extraordinaire), and surrounded by wildflowers, wildlife and prairie sunset and sunrise vistas, the Bixlers' Art Barn in the Country provides a unique setting for visitors to unwind and relax.

The Art Barn incorporates gallery space for clean and thought-provoking metal art, full amenities for guests and even special horse stalls nearby for guests with equine friends.

"We have a walking trail with a couple of exercise stations and two holes of pasture golf and much more," said Dick Bixler. "Many of our guests say they've never seen anything like this and it somehow affects their soul. That makes us happy because we feel the same way."

Beautiful, original metal artwork created by Dick Bixler adorn inside walls like this large oval mirror that reflects shelves of metal art, as well as Nancy Bixlel at the Bixlers Art Barn in the Country, Pratt.

The Art Barn hosts tour groups by reservation, is handicapped accessible and enjoys a special collaboration with the nearby Vernon Filley Art Museum, which doubles guest opportunities to experience soul-stimulating sights to see and experience in the Pratt area. A special link on Airbnb https://www.airbnb.com/ details more of the accommodations to be found at the Art Barn, which features three sleeping areas, modern bathrooms and a dining area with full-length western-horizon windows.

The official Airbnb site also shows that 100% of guests have left a 5-star rating review. According to the Bixlers, bookings are steady with many out-of-state visitors, some from as far away as L.A., Delaware, New York and Virginia. On Facebook, Bix Art Gallery provides updates and site happenings.

More:Kansas outdoor calendar: Great Kansas Fishing Derby coming up next weekend

Garden City - Sunnyland Bed & Breakfast

Rent a room or the entire house

The largest room at Sunnyland Bed & Breakfast in Garden City is on the third floor. Blue and white is the color scheme of the room as the floors in it were painted blue when Kathryn and Fred Askren purchased the property.

Looking to avoid a hotel or motel while in Garden City? Head to Sunnyland Bed & Breakfast for a unique place to stay.

Constructed in 1909, the former retirement house is one of the oldest homes in the city and has four floors, three above ground and one below for a total of 7,500 square feet.

Fred and Kathryn Askren purchased the building on Aug. 1, 2002 and opened as a bed and breakfast in the spring of 2003 after refurbishing the building to its former glory. Much of the original wood flooring and woodwork remains but it also has modern amenities, including internet.

Fred Askren said they tried to keep it as a period home and allow people to "step back in time" but still have the comforts of 2021.

A ballroom is located on the third floor of Sunnyland Bed & Breakfast in Garden City and is one of the public areas of the establishment. It can also be rented out for small events such as a baby shower or bridal shower.

Kathryn Askren said Sunnyland has a homey feel to it. “When we’ve had families in … we can set up some tables in the ballroom and they can go up and play games or cards or whatever and we’ve had people that like to sit around the kitchen table … and work off their computers or do book work,” she said. “They just kind of feel like they’re at home.”

Public areas include the parlor, music room, dining room and front porch on the first floor and the ballroom on the third floor. Each of the five available rooms has a private bathroom, refrigerator, microwave and air conditioning.

Kathryn Askren said besides just renting a single room, people can rent out the entire house and they allow extended stays. Sunnyland has three different rates, $95 for smaller rooms, $105 for the larger ones or ones that have access to a balcony and $130 for the largest room, which is by itself on the third floor and includes a jacuzzi. Sunnyland B & B is at 501 N 5th St, Garden City.

More:Ruby Howell and her mule, Molly, honored to carry national flag for area rodeo

Russell - Good Karma Micro Dairy Bed & Breakfast

Micro farm animals are a big draw

Nestled in the bluffs of the Saline River Valley, the Good Karma Micro Dairy Bed and Breakfast provides a complete get-away from city and suburban life near Russell, Kansas.

Tranquil rooms in a renovated home, part of a 185-acre farm located in the scenic Saline River Valley near Russell, are a haven for those wanting to get away from it all. But it is the 7-head jersey cattle herd, half a dozen Nubian dairy goats and assorted pigs, chickens, cats and dogs that have guests at the Good Karma Micro Dairy and Bed & Breakfast oohing and ahhing on a daily basis.

“Unless we block it out, we are booked solid every single day by guests from near and far away who want to come experience farm life,” said Erin Renard, who with her husband manages the dual business. “Our guests are able to participate in as much farm life as they want. We milk goats, feed bottle babies, find baby calves born out in the bluffs and play with the pigs. I would say the animals are a really big draw here.”

The Good Karma Micro Dairy has been operating just 10 miles from Russell for many years, but just three years ago the Renards decided they wanted to share their blessings with others.

Jersey cows graze the hills at Good Karma Micro Dairy Bed and Breakfast and they can become an integeral part of any Airbnb visit, if the customer so desires.

“We really have two things going on here, the raw milk, organic dairy, and then the Airbnb,” Renard said. “The two seem to mesh well together as we love to visit with our customers and people who want to get away, to escape, relax and enjoy themselves by helping with our farmwork.”

Dark nights on the farm lead to fantastic meteor shower sightings, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets are common at the Russell County farm.

“We are near the Wilson Lake for those who like to fish and hike, and just 10 minutes from downtown for those who want to shop,” Renard said.

Airbnb reservations can be set up on the farm’s Airbnb site, and day tours can be made by calling Renard at (785) 483-1234.