Dodge City, Kansas, a haven for would-be cowboys and cowgirls
Bison roaming the tallgrass prairie in Flint Hills, Kansas
Summertime, the peak blooming season in Kansas, The Sunflower State
Wetland views at Cheyenne Bottoms, a Kansas waypoint for migratory birds
Stepping back to the late 1800s at the Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Kansas
Exploring the Circle S Ranch by horseback in Lawrence, Kansas
Leisurely group ride at the Gyp Hills Guest Ranch in Medicine Lodge, Kansas
Tasting local beers at Central Standard Brewing in Wichita, Kansas
“Keeper of the Plains” statue overlooking where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers meet in Wichita, Kansas
Ribs cooking to perfection over a hot grill at Woodyard Bar-B-Que in Kansas City
Unspoiled beauty in the heart of the USA
Pioneer History, Past and Present
Maybe because of its central location, Kansas has always played a vital role in the pioneering of the USA and is rich in American Indian history. Explore the Santa Fe Trail’s still-visible wagon tracks, travel the path of the Pony Express, see Civil War sites at Fort Larned and Fort Scott, and learn American Indian history at tribal museums and landmarks like the Council Oak tree, the site of an 1825 treaty with Osage Indians. Walk in the footsteps of Old West outlaws and pioneers at the Boot Hill Museum and the Old Cowtown Museum. The country lifestyle is alive at dude ranches, cattle drives and chuckwagon suppers under the stars, complete with classic Western music and cowboy poetry.
Pristine Prairies and Other Outdoor Wonders
Kansas’ pastoral landscape is wide open and sparsely populated, making for unbeatable scenery that you’re free to explore at your own pace. Twelve scenic byways crisscross the state, taking you from areas like Flint Hills’ tallgrass prairie, where the bison still roam, to the 80 million-year-old Monument Rocks in the south’s Badlands. Prepare for fishing and kayaking along the Kansas River Trail, dotted with small prairie towns and teeming with wildlife and natural beauty. Delve into caverns nearly 200 meters underground at Strataca Underground Salt Museum, see spectacular flocks of migrating birds at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and cycle or ride horseback along the 188-kilometer Flint Hills Nature Trail that follows the old Santa Fe Trail route. Dazzling sunflower fields in summer almost make it worth planning your trip around peak bloom season.
Food to Remember
When you sink your teeth into the unmistakable flavors of Kansas City-style barbecue – meats slow smoked over a variety of woods and covered with thick tomato- and molasses-based sauces – you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. And don’t forget to order famed Kansas beef served in steakhouses across the state. Kansans are friendly by nature and are happy to direct you to their favorite places to get barbecue, fried chicken and homemade pies – just some of the preferred comfort foods in abundance. You can even go straight to the source and pick up field-fresh produce, milk, cheese and flowers at working farmsteads. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to Kansas cuisine: Don’t let curb appeal fool you. Some of the best eating is in mom-and-pop, off-the-beaten-path local hangouts.