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Welcome to Kansas

Welcome to the Sunflower State, home to wide-open prairies and welcoming small cities. Kansas is a quintessential slice of America’s heartland, connecting the Midwest to the true West. Where pioneers and cattle trains once crossed the prairies, modern thoroughfares now stretch through the farmland and pastures. Pull off the highway and explore all that Kansas offers.

Small yellow bird with black neck

State Bird: Western Meadowlark. Getty Images

Cowtown and Cowboys

Nicknamed “Cowtown” as it grew along the banks of the Arkansas River in the 1800s, Wichita would eventually become Kansas’ largest city. Wichita’s first visitors stopped at this trading post as they drove cattle along the Chisholm Trail. Today’s visitors will find the town packed with historical museums, family-friendly attractions and a thriving recreation area along the riverbanks. Head about 170 miles west and transport back to Kansas’ Old West days at Dodge City. Once a stop on the Santa Fe Trail, this town retains its Western charm.

Angle and Paddle

Known for both its scenic beauty and superb fishing, Scott State Fishing Lake is a great place to hit the water. Located in the wooded canyons of the western prairie, this lake offers cold, spring-fed waters, teeming with bluegill and saugeye. Paddlers will want to hit the waters of the Kansas River Trail, which connects several spots along this 173-mile waterway. Meander through small towns, big cities and sprawling wilderness.

Fun on the Prairie

Once, an endless sea of prairies covered 170 million acres of North America. Slowly, the prairies were turned into farmland and covered by towns; however, in Kansas, you can tour the remaining 11,000 acres of grasslands at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Guided bus tours help visitors learn about the flora and fauna of this habitat. While there, hop on the Flint Hills Scenic Byway to tour the expansive landscapes of eastern Kansas. While exploring the prairie, explore the astounding Castle Rock formation.

Castle Rock in Kansas prairie

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