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Kansas Byways Sizzle Video
Kansas Byways Sizzle Video
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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 working cattle ranches that offer 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 Little Jerusalem and Monument Rocks in the western 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, and see spectacular flocks of migrating birds at Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. 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.

Kansas Byways Sizzle Video
Kansas Byways Sizzle Video
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Fun Fact

A field of wheat growing in Kansas
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Kansas farmers produce enough wheat each year to make 33 billion loaves of bread, enough to provide each person on earth with six loaves.

Competing at the Kansas Masters BBQ Championship in Wichita, Kansas
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The burnt ends of the brisket were once given away free at barbecue restaurants, but now the crispy and flavorful delicacy is a must-order item on menus in the Kansas City region.

Competing at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo in Kansas
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Cowboys and cowgirls test their skills at competitions throughout the state, and one of the biggest honors is winning events at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.

Must see places

Picturesque vistas in Flint Hills, Kansas

Flint Hills National Scenic Byway

Visons of endless prairie land under vast skies come to life on the 76-kilometer Flint Hills National Scenic Byway. This rural road passes through Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, home of the last undisturbed expanses of tallgrass prairie in North America. Stop for photos at picturesque vistas, visit pioneer-era towns and explore American Indian landmarks such as the Kaw Mission State Historical Site.

Birdwatching along the Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway in Kansas

Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway

This tranquil, 124-kilometer byway was made for nature lovers. Passing through the wetland landscapes of Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, the aptly named Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway is an important annual waypoint for millions of migratory birds and waterfowl. Stop in rural towns such as Hoisington, Ellinwood and Great Bend for interesting historical sites, quaint shops and dining.

A satellite dish turned into artwork to welcome visitors to Lucas, Kansas

Lucas

For a town of 400 residents, the arts-oriented community of Lucas has attracted a big name as the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas. Check out the eclectic collection of handmade art at the Grassroots Art Center and tour of the Garden of Eden, an unusual outdoor sculpture that was a finalist for one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas.

Preserving Old West history at the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, Kansas

Dodge City

The once-lawless, gun-slinging town of Dodge City, Kansas, epitomizes the Old West and is still a haven for would-be cowboys. Explore the Boot Hill Museum, see life-sized outlaws at the Gunfighters Wax Museum, attend a rodeo, follow wagon tracks on the Santa Fe Trail and walk the Dodge City Trail of Fame to discover Old West landmarks.

80 million-year-old Monument Rocks, sometimes called Chalk Pyramids, in northwestern Kansas

Smoky Valley Ranch

In the valley between Scott City and Oakley in western Kansas, this vast expanse of rare, shortgrass prairie is still roamed by bison. Part of the park, a region of delicate Niobrara Chalk rock formations called “Little Jerusalem,” features a stretch of 30-meter spires and cliffs. Explore two primitive hiking loops through wildlife-rich prairie with views of rocky geological formations.

Dala horse, a symbol of Swedish influences in Lindsborg, Kansas

Lindsborg

Settled in 1869 by Swedish immigrants, Lindsborg offers a slice of Scandinavia in the middle of Kansas. Browse Swedish art and gift shops, sample pastries or attend one of the themed events such as Våffeldagen (Waffle Day) or the Messiah Festival of the Arts, a tradition since 1882. Don’t miss the Swedish Pavilion, the Höglund Dugout and Coronado Heights, a castle in the middle of a prairie.

Exploring the attractions at the Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka, Kansas

Evel Knievel Museum

Dedicated to daredevil Evel Knievel, this is a must-see museum in Topeka. The extensive displays of motorcycles, equipment, helmets and other personal effects give a comprehensive picture of the stuntman’s life. Knievel novices and fanatics alike will enjoy movie clips of his stunts, the “Big Red” Mack truck used to transport his motorcycles and the 4-D jump simulator that puts you in the driver’s seat.

Museum of World Treasures

In Wichita, the Museum of World Treasures is one of those rare museums that appeals to visitors of all ages. Explore three floors of exhibits that span history and interests from dinosaur fossils to Egyptian mummies to Civil War artifacts. You can even stand next to a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum

A decorated U.S. Army general, Eisenhower went on to serve as the 34th U.S. president. He was known as the first “TV president,” created the interstate highway system and initiated important civil rights legislation. Visit his boyhood home and final resting place in Abilene, and tour the museum chock-full of artifacts and exhibits that examine Eisenhower’s life and cultural legacy.

Stock cars racing at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City

Kansas Speedway

There’s nothing quite like race day at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, which hosts several NASCAR races as well as many other racing events. Book a ride-along with a real race car instructor or learn to drive the car yourself; sign up with NASCAR Driving Experience for the thrill of a lifetime.

Explore Kansas destinations

Entrance to the Flying W, a guest and cattle ranch, in Clements, Kansas
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Explore Kansas destinations
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Ask a Local

Wichita local
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Wichita local
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Steel sculptures atop the Lewis Street Bridge
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Destination

Wichita

The regal Kansas State Capitol building on a winter day
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Destination

Topeka