Kansas evokes a strange assortment of associations, not all of them agreeable: yellow-brick roads and Dorothy in Oz, heated conflicts over the legacy of slavery in the United States, powerful tornados that flatten entire towns. But the more conventional portrait of Kansas is perhaps the more accurate one: A slow-paced state in the nation’s heartland with rolling plains and an endless horizon, amber waves of grain extending as far as the eye can see. Most of the major cities in the “Heart of America” are concentrated in Eastern Kansas. The topography lends itself to green hills and rivers while Western Kansas is sparsely inhabited, with acre upon acre of fertile, flat farmland. From the weight of historic monuments like the Brown vs. Board of Education site in Topeka to the simple natural beauty of the Tallgrass Prairie National preserve, a visit to Kansas will offer a surprising number of hidden gems to the traveler who seeks an American destination off the beaten path. Our Kansas travel guide will point you to the best sites around the Wheat State.
Things Not To Miss in Kansas
• The Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka
• The Cosmosphere & Space Center in Hutchinson
• The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, north of Strong City
• The Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, an open-air recreation of the Wild West
• The Eisenhower Center in Abilene, where you can see Ike’s childhood home
• The Grassroots Arts Center in Lucas, which displays offbeat works made by local artists
When to Go to Kansas
The best time to travel to Kansas is during the summer and fall months, especially June through late September, when temperatures are warm and dry; however, Kansas is located at the heart of the U.S.’s “Tornado Alley,” and tornadoes and severe thunderstorms may strike during the summer months. Before you visit Kansas, be sure to read up on tornado safety – but remember, many Kansas residents have never experienced a tornado. Avoid visiting Kansas during the winter months, which can be brutally cold, with frequent ice storms and blizzards.