If you talk to anyone that is not from Kansas, most will say, “Why do you want to visit Kansas, there’s nothing to do!”
Sure, I “might” have said the exact same thing, but after traveling for a great while, I have come to realize the beauty of my former state.
So, here’s why Kansas should be the next destination for your next trip!
#1 The Weather
Look, it may not be as crazy as the weather in Iceland, but the weather in Kansas changes frequently.
I have seen 70 degree (21 degree celsius) days on Christmas.
And later that year, I saw thundersnow. (It’s a real thing, look it up!)
The weather in Kansas follows the Midwest Principle, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around. It will change in an hour.”
Extreme weather conditions in Kansas are primarily due to the wind. (My old hometown is the windiest city in the United States!)
If the wind is from the North, it’s cold. If it comes from the South, it’s hot. (Except in Winter.)
On the bright side (ha-ha), it is really sunny in Kansas.
When I first left the state, I was shocked when I had four cloudy, dreary days in a row!
#2 The Sunsets
All Kansans know this.
Kansas is ranked consistently as one of the best sunset destinations in the world!
The combination of open plains, lack of pollution, optimal cloud cover, wind, and great atmospheric conditions produce great sunsets.
#3 Hiking The Highest Point
For some people, visiting the highest peak in every U.S. State is on their bucketlist.
And for those who don’t have that dream, don’t worry! Hiking the highest point within Kansas is easy for anyone!
It’s mostly flat, with an elevation of a mere 4,039 feet above sea level.
#4 But Kansas Isn’t (Always) Flat!
Most people (especially from Missouri) believe that Kansas is flat! But did you know Kansas is not the flattest state in the United States of America?
Kansas is the seventh flattest state within the United States. (Coming after Florida, Illinois, North Dakota, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Delaware. Here’s the scientific research to prove it.)
Central Kansas is filled with rolling hills, and Southwest Kansas is filled with bluffs and cliffs to climb.
Even in the Northwest portion, there are many interesting rock formations such as the Monument Rocks.
#5 Kansas Is A Great Place To Acclimate
For people who live at Sea Level, which is most of the world, Kansas provides an excellence stopping point to acclimate.
It may not seem like it, but from East to West, Kansas is slowly rising in elevation,.
Just walking around in Kansas at 3,ooo feet above sea level helps with the transition to the 10,000 feet (3,000 meter) above sea level Rocky Mountains.
#6 The Night Skies
If you enjoyed the sunset, stick around for the Night Skies.
Kansas is fortunate to have minimal light pollution. (Although this is changing due to the rapid development of Wind Turbines. More in this below.)
So, as long as it is not cloudy, you should be able to see the stars.
#7 Most Famous City In Kansas
It’s ironic that the most famous city within the state of Kansas is actually in Missouri.
#8 Kansas Food
If you like steak, Mexican food, or Chicken Fried Steak, Western Kansas is a treasure grove for foodies.
Kansas lacks variety in its traditional offerings, but it makes up for it in other ways.
Some restaurants purchase their meat direct from the supplier, which equates to two things.
Number 1: Food is Cheap
Number 2: Food is often fresh and really good.
#9 You Can See For Miles
Everyone has heard the joke, “Kansas is so flat, you can watch him run for three days.”
Now, this is most definitely not true.
However, visibility during the day is often around five miles. At night, you can see bright lights flashing over twenty miles away.
#10 Kansas Is In The Middle
Because Kansas is located in the middle of the lower 48 United States, most people often either
A) Drive through the state of Kansas
B) Fly over the state
Kansas is over 400 miles wide, which is an eight hour drive from East to West.
I would highly advise breaking that trip up, as road hypnosis is a real thing.
#10 A Green Energy Powerhouse
As a republican-controlled state located right in the Midwest, most people would not expect Kansas to focus on Green Energy.
Recent developments have left Kansas to become an energy stalwart, mostly in the sphere of Wind Energy.
In 2021, over 43% of the electricity produced is created from renewable sources. Impressive.
It will be interesting to see the State of Kansas grow in the Renewable Energy Sector, as previous growth suggests that Kansas could become a major energy supplier for the South and Eastern portions of the United States of America.
#11 The Road System In Kansas
Compared to its neighbors, Kansas road quality is superb.
There are two primary reasons for this. The first is there is less population density. The second is due to the frequent maintenance schedules of the roads.
In Kansas, roads are not simply re-glazed. They are re-paved.
However, those are the asphalt and concrete roads. Within Kansas, most roads are made of sand or dirt.
Composition of roads such as sand, dirt, or gravel drastically affect your car’s performance.
On sand especially, reaction time is key, as there is less traction than other surfaces. Therefore, the speed limit on all non-asphalt surfaces is 55 miles per hour. If you begin to drive faster, you will quickly lose control.
Kansas is a giant sandbox.
Around 85 million years ago, Kansas was covered by the Western Interior Sea… which is weird because Kansas is land-locked.
Because of this, fossil finds in Kansas have ranged from mastodons to shark’s teeth.
Limestone deposits have created unique digging opportunities within the state. Most fossil digs are surprise findings, as they can happen as randomly as kayaking down a river.
#13 Rock Formations
Kansas has some odd rock formations, mostly in the central and Western corridors of the state.
Sadly, you cannot climb on them due to size, fragility, and conservation.
However, pictures are always welcome!
#14 Quirky Tourist Sites
Like every state, Kansas has its fair share of quirky (and just plain odd) tourist sites.
The cool thing? Most of these tourist sites are free.
In Goodland, Kansas (3 Hours East of Denver), the world’s largest easel (80 feet/24.3 meters) is displaying a 32×34 foot (9.75mx10.3m) replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s popular sunflower series.
Cawker City holds a world record for the largest ball of twine. That twine ball weighs over 25,000 pounds, and it would be over 1600 miles if stretched out. The twine ball grows daily, as anyone is welcome to add more twine. (That they provide.) And every year, Cawker City holds a Twine-A-Thon.
#14 A Bread Basket
If you like agricultural tourism, Kansas is the state for you.
Kansas has an extensive history in the development of ranching and farming. The former cowtowns of Abilene and Dodge City were the respective ending points for the Chisholm and Western cattle trails. (When the cowboys would bring the cattle from the state of Texas to Kansas.)
Quick Facts about Kansas agriculture.
- Kansas has three main goods: wheat, sorghum (Milo), and cattle production.
- Kansas produces more than 25% of the U.S.’s winter wheat crop.
- If Kansas was it’s own country, (and each state was its own country) the state of Kansas would rank at the 86th largest country by GDP.
- Kansas is the 3rd largest producer of cattle in the United States.
- Kansas exports $3.8 billion dollars of agricultural products annually.
#15 A Storied Aviation History
Kansas has housed some large aviation companies manufacturing facilities.
Cessna Aircraft, Beechcraft, Learjet, Spirit Aerosystems, and Boeing are just a few companies that have ties to the Wichita community.
Wichita, at one point, had so much airplane manufacturing jobs that it was named “Air Capital of the World.”
Outside of Kansas City, the childhood home of Amelia Earhart is a popular tourist attraction.
#16 (The) University of Kansas Basketball
KU’s first basketball coach? The inventor of basketball, James Naismith.
One of the best basketball arenas in the world with a HUGE home court advantage? Allen Fieldhouse
A program with a top 5 all-time winning percentage? The University of Kansas.
#17 Kansas’s Historical Importance
For a state in the middle of nowhere, Kansas has some interesting history.
It was home to President and Five-Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower. (But he was born in Abilene, Texas.)
Both the Kansas-Nebraska Act and Bloody Sunday were instrumental in the lead-up to the U.S. Civil War.
Recent history includes: Landmark Supreme Court Case Brown v. Board of Education was argued in Topeka.
(Although, when this court case was heard at the Supreme Court level, it was actually a Class Action Lawsuit.)
Fun Fact: Kansas banned the sale of alcohol from 1881 until 1948.
#18 Weird Festivals
The Testicle Festival. Also known as Rocky Mountain Oysters or Calf Fries, this event during Dodge City Days is dedicated to the eating of Cow Testicles.
A town that glorifies the Western Cowboy, Dodge City Days is a week that consists of herding hundreds of cattle down the main business road and live-action gunfights.
It also has the PRCA Rodeo for 5 straight nights where the contestants compete for over $250,000 in prize money (one of the largest) and a crowd that exceeds 100,000. I saw “Yee”, you say “Haw!!!”
Have any questions about visiting Kansas, our editor is an expert! Let him know down in the comments below or tweet at him @worldembark.