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My Kansas Bucket List

My Kansas Bucket List

A while back, my family visited Wichita and had a great weekend. It surpassed expectations. Along the way, we stopped in Lindsborg for lunch and to see, well, a castle. And again, that quick stop exceeded expectations. So, given this trend, I figure, there’s quite a bit in Kansas that’s waiting to be discovered. I’ve begun a Kansas Bucket List in order to collect my thoughts and start making plans to get to know the state better.

If this list inspires you to travel, let me know!

Hike in the Flint Hills

The Flint Hills in eastern Kansas is an expansive, hilly region with rocky soil. It’s a unique region because it contains the densest coverage of intact tallgrass prairie in North America.

You won’t find a lot of farms due to the soil. There are several places to hike in the Flint Hills, including Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge, and Konza Prairie Biological Station.

Bucket list of things to do in Kansas -Hike the Flint Hills at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve trail in Kansas
Photo courtesy Kansas Tourism

Make it to Svensk Hyllningsfest

The biennial festival Svensk Hyllningsfest in Lindsborg celebrates the town’s Swedish heritage. My dad’s side of the family is proud of their Swedish ancestry so that’s right up my alley. There’s folk dancing, ethnic music, smorgasbord, and entertainment.

I took the kids to a Tulip Festival in Iowa one spring, and they enjoyed it, so I could see this festival also being good for them.

Add To Your Bucket List: While you’re in Lindsborg, there’s a nearby “castle” that should be on your bucket list! We stopped at the Coronado Heights Park, and my young kids were amazed at the picnic structure there that looks like a small, medieval castle.

It was so memorable, it’s on the 10 Beautiful Midwest Places To Inspire Wonder list!

Top things to do in Kansas - Celebrate Swedish heritage in Lindsborg
Photo courtesy Kansas Tourism

Pretend to be an astronaut

Hutchinson is home to Cosmosphere, a museum with displays and interactive exhibits like the Liberty Bell 7, the Apollo 13 command module Odyssey, and a version of Mission Control desk kids (and I) can sit at.

So maybe I’m less astronaut than Mission Control, but who’s counting?

Bucket list of things to do in Kansas - Pretend to be an astronaut at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson
Photo courtesy Kansas Tourism

Stay at a historic Kansas hotel

Why stay at a run-of-the-mill hotel when you can stay some place memorable in Kansas? Here are a few highly rated historic hotels to consider:

Hang with cowpokes

Old Cowtown Museum has been on my wish list to visit ever since I was planning my Wichita vacation. I still haven’t made it, so my dream of having a chuckwagon dinner or watching the 1880s reenacted remains.

I’ll find some similar action at Boot Hill Museum and Front Street in Dodge City.

Experience a cattle drive

There are places in Kansas where you don’t just watch actors re-enact the cowboy experience – you can live it. Some ranches like the Flying W Ranch in Cedar Point let guests experience the cowboy lifestyle with horseback rides, cattle drives, wagon rides and more.

Add To Your Bucket List: Love all kinds of close encounters with animals. Tanganyika Wildlife Park isn’t on my list because I’ve been there, but it’s definitely a worthy bucket list addition for you!

Why? Wildlife encounters there include feeding an okapi, lemur or giraffe!

See the out-of-this-world rocks

Mushroom Rock State Park has some of the oddest rock formations I’ve seen in pictures. Guess what it looks like. I just want to see it in person now.

Two others I want to see, located in Gove County in Western Kansas, are the Monument Rocks and Castle Rock.

Bucket list of things to do in Kansas - See the unique rock formations at Mushroom Rock State Park
Photo courtesy Kansas Tourism

Selfie in front of the book mural

Book lovers heads up. There’s a beautiful, huge mural on the side of a doctor’s office in Tonganoxie.

Explore Kansas’ Badlands

Yep, Kansas has a Badlands region. In the state’s northwestern corner, a scenic drive, called the Arikaree Breaks Wildlife Drive, takes you through landscape flecked with yuca and prickly pear cactus among the shortgrass prairie.

And a new state park, Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park, has even more picturesque views. Little Jerusalem is slated to open sometime in the summer of 2019. Neither place is what I imagine to be Kansas.

Bucket list of things to do in Kansas - see the new state park, Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park
Photo courtesy Kansas Tourism

Try unique eats in Kansas

Kansas has plenty of unique food and unique places to eat, I’ve discovered. On my list includes the hidden gem in Beaver, called Mo’s. Pretty much, it’s a microbrewery with a lot of loyal fans (it has a hard-to-come-by 4.9 Google review rating). One newspaper headline called it a piece of “Cheers” on the prairie.

Then there’s Wheatfields in Lawrence, a bakery that gets a lot of attention. It’s made a USA Today list for 10 great US bakeries, and it has been featured on the Food Network and History Channel.

Bucket list of things to do in Kansas - Eat at one of the nation's best bakeries, Wheatfields, in Lawrence. The bakery that's been named among the Top 10 in the U.S.
Photo courtesy Kansas Tourism

The Stearman Field Bar and Grill at the little Benton Airport made my Wichita Bucket List, but since I didn’t get to visit it when I was in the area last time, I’m including it on this list too so I don’t forget. Why? Where else can you dine that close to planes taking off and landing?

Go to the beer playground

In Overland Park, there’s this place called the Brew Lab, and it’s been nicknamed KC’s playground for craft beer lovers. Since this is a bucket list where time and money don’t matter, I’d go here to learn how to brew beer and then brew myself a big ‘ol batch of it.

If I’m short on time, I’ll just go and have a pint of someone else’s fabulous concoction and a bite to eat while I’m at it.

Kansas story archives

See pueblo ruins

The northernmost Indian pueblo in the U.S. is found in Kansas. El Cuartelejo Pueblo near Scott City dates back to 1650 to 1750 A.D., and the ruins of the site can still be seen today. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

Bucket list of things to do in Kansas - Visit the National Historic Landmark, El Cuartelejo Pueblo
Photo courtesy Kansas Tourism

See a sunflower field

It’s not the Sunflower State for nothing. Word is that peak viewing of sunflowers is in late summer, and a great place to find them is at Grinter’s Sunflower Farm near Lawrence.

Kansas is more than sunflower fields (though there are those!). Here's a bucket list of unique parks and trails, awesome Kansas restaurants, and unique experiences found only in Kansas. #Kansas #USA #Midwest
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JoAnn Sanders

Sunday 14th of March 2021

Just received your packet of information on Kansas. Are really enjoying looking thru it and anxious to come that way this summer

Kay

Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

More to see in Kansas. Don’t forget to go to Victoria to see the Cathedral of the Plains. Go to Hays to see the old Fort Hays, Dodge City also.

Kim

Thursday 4th of March 2021

Thanks for the tips! I'll look into those.

Deb G

Thursday 16th of July 2020

Advise from a fellow Kansan.... I would recommend checking out the Lake Wilson area for some good swimming and boating. Or visit the beautiful Red Hills country between Medicine Lodge and Coldwater. Lots of state history in this area!

Kim

Thursday 16th of July 2020

Thank you for the suggestions! I'll look into those.

Sage Scott

Wednesday 3rd of April 2019

Sooooooo proud of all the amazing things my (often overlooked) home state has to offer. Plus also, I need to get myself down the road to Lawrence to try that bread. Yum!

Kim

Thursday 4th of April 2019

Besides the bakery, what other things on the list are left for you to see?

cindy ladage

Monday 1st of April 2019

Wow so much to see and so much I didn't know was in Kansas! Thanks for sharing.

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