Kansas is a slice of classic America, with its rugged cowboy culture and sweeping prairies. “Home, home on the range,” are words from the state’s official song, and visitors can stay on authentic cattle ranches from rustic to luxurious. The state also offers Native American history, with several museums devoted to the American Indian tribes that once lived here (four still do). In the Flint Hills, you can tour the vast tallgrass prairie—in a covered wagon, if you choose—see American bison and attend a rodeo. Make time to eat: Kansas is proud of its smoked barbecue.
Don't leave without tasting...
Kansas beef, the finest steaks in the world. Like those at Puffy’s Steak and Ice House west of Topeka or the Grand Central Grill in Cottonwood Falls.
You might be surprised by...
Kansas Cosmosphere tells the story of the Space Race, with the largest collection of Russian space artefacts outside of Moscow. It’s one of only three museums in the world to display spacecraft flown in all three early-manned American space programmes—Mercury (Liberty Bell 7), Gemini (Gemini 10) and Apollo (Apollo 13).
Top photo opportunities
- Generations of real cowboys at the Strong City Rodeo (or hundreds of other annual ranch rodeos)
- Big Brutus in Pittsburg
- Herding longhorn cattle at the Moore Ranch in Bucklin/Dodge City
- Keeper of the Plains in Wichita
- Garden of Eden in Lucas.
When the hoist doors open after the 650-foot ride down to the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, you are literally standing in the middle of what was once an ancient Permian Sea. Everyone is invited to touch a 6,000 pound crystal salt block and experience the new ‘Permian Playground’. The eight-foot-long, three-compartment trough has powdery salt fines, road salt and Permian mud traced with red Sylvite to dig in and feel.
If you want to fit in...
When driving in rural areas, nod or give slight hand waves to oncoming traffic. This activity is a typical friendly acknowledgement Kansas farmers and ranchers practise. And find out what's happening in rural town by going to the local breakfast/lunch diners.
- Big Brutus, the world’s largest electric shovel
- Wetlands Education Center at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, Great Bend
- Flint Hills Discovery Center.
- Artisanal crafts from Kansas Originals
- Native American artworks from the American Indian Art Center
- Ceramic Turtles from the Bow Studio.
Famous people from the state
- Dwight Eisenhower (learn more at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene)
- Amelia Earhart (Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison)
- John Brown (John Brown Museum State Historic Site in Osawatomie).
Most of America’s virgin tallgrass prairie is located in the fascinating Flint Hills region of Kansas. The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Strong City and the Konza Prairie Natural Area near Manhattan are just a few of the places to experience the beauty of the prairie. And the Cimarron National Grassland near Elkhart offers experiences in a short-grass ecosystem.
Just want to indulge?
- Twelve-inch cinnamon Rolls are served at Neighbors Cafe in McPherson
- Tallgrass Toffee: simply the best toffee ever!
- Sliders at Cozy Inn in Salina and Manhattan: this historic restaurant serves big hamburgers grilled with a generous helping of onions
- Fried chicken at Chicken Annie's Original and Chicken Mary's in Pittsburg, or at Brookville Hotel in Abilene.