Rural Business Photo Stories

Warsaw Adventures

Warsaw Adventures

Warsaw, Missouri, is on Truman Lake in rural west central Missouri. The small town on U.S. 65 south of Sedalia has been busy building new outdoor recreation options in addition to a fishing tradition. Warsaw’s Drake Harbor waterfront and extensive bike trail system have drawn a new generation of tourists, residents, and entrepreneurs.

The new local business Warsaw Adventures is a natural development. On May 1, 2021, owners Luke and Janelle Johnson stepped into the growing opportunity to rent kayaks, paddleboards and other equipment, and to guide people interested in exploring the Warsaw area by paddle or bike.

Warsaw Adventures is one of the first privately owned, tourism focused, non-fishing related businesses in the region, Luke Johnson said. “Every customer is a potential future outdoor enthusiast. The level of individual care they receive while with us is what sets us apart.”

Personal service from one of the more plugged-in Warsaw adventurers is more like it. Luke Johnson brought to the business his experience from four years as a park facility manager at nearby Harry S. Truman State Park. He adds perspective from his degree in geography. Tourists take it all in on sunset kayak tours that take place weekly in the summer on a 65+ acre stretch of wetlands located near downtown, just behind Warsaw Adventures’ Main Street location.

Connecting with the community and its focus on outdoor recreation is important to the Johnsons and Warsaw Adventures. They serve on the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce and Benton County Tourism and Recreation boards. They appreciate the town’s “focus on implementing and supporting outdoor recreation, healthy communities, and a tourism-based economy.”

Still, the fluctuating nature of the tourism industry is an ever-present hurdle for this new rural business. Warsaw Adventures goes with the flow, though.

“Just like a kayak on the water, you can fight the flow,” Johnson said. “But you’ll end up in the same place only more bruised and tired.”

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