When talking about places to go in Kansas, one might stop and consider the fact that Kansas, for some reason, isn’t exactly the most sought-after tourist location in America. However, contrary to popular belief, The Wheat State offers a lot of bang for your buck.
Heck, the longest railroad bridge in the country has a home in what is also commonly referred to as The Sunflower State, and it’s called the Rock Island Bridge. But, enough about the general information. Let’s get down to why Kansas is actually one of the few remaining hidden gems of U.S. tourism.
10. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home
22 acres of landscaped grounds along with five buildings can be experienced at this Abilene complex. The former president grew up in the on-site two-story wood-frame house along with his parents and five brothers. After Mrs. Eisenhower’s death in 1946, furniture, along with other items, were left in the house. The Presidential Library features papers and books written and used by the man himself, and the museum is home to items that played a significant role in both President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s boyhood and post-presidential life.
9. Waterfall at Pillsbury Crossing
While very popular with locals who frequent the falls for canoeing, hiking and fishing, it can be said that the Deep Creek Waterfall at the Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area is relatively unknown among tourists. A short, 5-foot drop coupled with a 60-foot width means the waterfall is very serene; Pillsbury Crossing itself is actually a low-water river crossing, which makes it perfect if you’re looking to splash your ankles a bit in hot weather. But the waterfall itself is not the only reason why this is one of the most interesting places to visit in Kansas. The entire 59-acre Wildlife Area boasts tons of fishing spots, hiking routs and rocks ideal for climbing, as well.
8. The Boot Hill Museum
More than 60,000 displays can be observed at this museum, each and every one dating back to the Dodge City days. The museum boasts genuinely unique collections ranging between the 1870s and the 1920s. If you’re on the market for a taste of the Wild West, your options here are the Long Branch Saloon, the First Union Church, as well as the Boot Hill Cemetery. As a culmination of your visit, we recommend a slow roasted Kansas beef with potatoes, butter corn and sweet cream traditional dinner. Definitely on our list of the most authentic places to go in Kansas.
7. Monument Rocks
This natural formation is among some of the most impressive feats of nature and at the same time tourist places to visit in Kansas. Found some 20 miles south of Oakley, it is often referred to as the Chalk Pyramids. This has to do with the fact that it has historically served as a landmark for both American Indians and pioneers. Visitors to the area are able to admire a wide variety of marine reptilian fossils.
6. The Drinkwater And Schriver Flour Mill
Otherwise commonly referred to as the Cedar Point Mill, this stone building was completed back in 1875, which is also the same time it became a genuine Kansas landmark. It was originally a sawmill and is today found standing by a stone dam in the Cottonwood River. Why is this one of the most interesting places to go in Kansas, you ask? Well, because it is a historical landmark nestled in idyllic surroundings and one that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Both the river and the legendary mill provide time-accurate reminders of the pioneers of America.
5. Kansas State Capitol
Also known as the statehouse, the Kansas State Capitol is actually home to legislative and executive government departments of the state of Kansas. Dating back to the 1880’s, visitors today have the opportunity to go on a guided tour of the building; part of the tour actually involves climbing to the top of the imposing dome, which is done via nearly three hundred stairs. The Kansas State Capitol is certainly among the more intriguing places to go in Kansas as its many floors allow you to explore fascinating galleries and exhibits, as well.
4. Lake Scott State Park
Boasting a man-made 100-acre lake that exists today thanks to the construction of a dam back in 1930, the 1,000-acre Lake Scott State Park is today a true gem of the state’s natural attractions as well as one of the best places to visit in Kansas. Groves of cedar, walnut, willow, elm, ash and hackberry trees can be found in the park, as well as ample hiking, camping, swimming and biking opportunities. Additionally, you’ll also be able to explore the site of El Cuartelejo, which was occupied by the Picurie and Taos Indians back in the 1600’s.
Set against the backdrop of the wild countryside, Wichita offers plenty of contrast in terms of civilization. Boasting tons of entertainment and culture, the largest city in Kansas was historically a trade post and meeting place for Native Americans. Nowadays, part of the reason why it’s become one of the most authentic places to visit in Kansas is because it’s home to the world’s largest “western-wear” store. Here you’ll be able to pick up a new pair of cowboy boots or hat with ease. It’s also been nicknamed Cowtown for its historical importance in the cattle trade.
2. Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center
This place is the state’s take on a tourist attraction designed to provide visitors with interesting collections of U.S. space artifacts. As a matter of fact, part of the reason why this is deemed one of the best places to visit in Kansas is the fact that the Hall of Space Museum is the second-biggest space artifact display after the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. You’ll be privy to such interesting attractions here as the Apollo Gallery, Justice Planetarium and the Carey Digital Dome Theater.
1. Botanica Gardens
The Botanica Gardens is home to a vast and astounding collection of fauna designed to amaze and provide a fun time for entire families. Photo opportunities number in the thousands here, with one of the most photographed backgrounds being the legendary Chinese Garden of Friendship. The Butterfly Garden also offers views of whimsical and insanely colorful butterflies, the Beverly R. Blue Teaching Garden is also home to several species of exotic, rare flowers. If you’re looking for a family-friendly attraction, then this place is among the most incredible places to go in Kansas.