20 AMAZING STATE PARKS IN KANSAS, The Midwestern state of Kansas also nicknamed the Sunflower State might supplicate up images of Dorothy in a blue checked dress saying, “ There’s no place like home ”, but there’s much further to the state than that iconic film. Kansas’s different geography creates an ever- changing background for those travelling around the state.

There are 28 state premises in Kansas offering everything from flume views to budgets. So check out these Kansas state premises when planning your coming midwestern road trip.



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Looking for the best Kansas State Parks to visit? Check out our top 20!


Head to the southern end of Tuttle Creek Lake in northeastern Kansas, around seven miles outside of Manhattan, and you will find Tuttle Creek State Park.

Tuttle Creek Lake is on the Big Blue River and was initially built as a form of flood control.

Today the water is used for a variety of fun water activities like swimming, fishing, and pleasure boating.

The area is also great to explore, with many hiking, biking, and horse-riding routes.

There’s also an 18-hole disc golf course, volleyball courts and horseshoe pits, so your group can enjoy some fun and games while you are there and will keep knowing there’s a course at Tuttle Creek and there are also camping spots too.

The five areas of the park, River Pond, Rocky Ford, Fancy Creek, Randolph Area, and Cedar Ridge, all have campsites.

Tuttle Creek State Park is at 5800 River Pond Rd A, Manhattan, KS 66502.


Kanopolis State Park is 93 miles north of Wichita in central Kansas and the vistas here are rugged but beautiful.

This was Kansas’ first-ever state park and it sits in the rolling hills and Smoky Hills region of Kansas.

The park is home to the unique Dakota sandstone bluffs, caves, and the crevices of Horsethief Canyon.

The park is split into two sections, north and south of the dam.

More than 30 miles of trails are open to horse riders, hikers, and mountain bikers within the park.

There’s a huge 3,500-acre lake that offers anglers plenty of enjoyable hour’s fishing.

If you are visiting during winter, keep an eye out for bald eagles and ospreys who visit the river to fish.

Kanopolis State Park is at 200 Horsethief Rd, Marquette, KS 67464.


In the landlocked state of Kansas, taking advantage of the state’s reservoirs and lakes is important.

Cheney State Park is located on the southern part of Cheney Reservoir, just 33 miles west of Wichita.

This is a wonderful place for a recreational getaway.

The park was built back in 1964 but now offers 223 electric camping sites, more than 20 boat launch lanes, seven boat ramps and all the restroom and shower facilities you will need.

This park is home to four designated swimming areas with day-use picnic spots.

If camping isn’t your thing, you can take advantage of the cabins on the lake’s west shore.

Cheney is well known for sailboating; the Ninnescah Sailing Center hosts the National Sailing Regatta.

Anglers will love having the chance to choose channel catfish, crappie, wipers, walleye and white bass.

Cheney State Park is at 16000 NE 50 St, Cheney, KS 67025.


Lovewell State Park is tucked away in northern Kansas, close to the Nebraska border.

You will find this state park on the northern banks of the mermaid-shaped Lovewell Reservoir.

This park is ideal for any outdoor enthusiast.

Lovewell offers camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

There’s a fun 14 target archery range in the north of the park and a playground, sand volleyball, disc golf course, horseshoes and two basketball hoops.

This is a fantastic place to take the kids or to visit with friends.

The Southwinds swimming beach is ideal for swimming, relaxing and basking on the beach.

Pack a picnic and spend the day exploring the park.

Lovewell State Park is at 2446 250 Rd, Webber, KS 66970.


The otherworldly Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is a fantastic Kansas state park.

Located in western Kansas between Scott City and Oakley, this park offers visitors a unique setting.

The incredible Niobrara chalk formation is the park’s distinguishing feature and is the most intriguing part of the park.

Look back 85 million years and this area of Kansas was home to flying reptiles and swimming wildlife.

It is not uncommon to discover giant clam and oyster fossils!

Many believe the park got its name because it resembled the ruined ancient walls of the city of Jerusalem.

There are two permanent hiking trails at the park, both of which take you to multiple lookouts.

There’s a short 1/24 mile trail and a 1 ½ mile self-guided trail.

Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is at County Road 400 and Gold Road, Oakley, KS 67748.


Prairie Spirit Trail State Park is based around a 51-mile rail trail that starts in Ottawa and finishes in Iola.

This trail state park follows the former Leavenworth, Lawrence, and Galveston railroad.

This park offers sections of the trail for hiking, jogging and bike riding.

The park is also open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year.

This is a tranquil state park in Kansas to escape the busy city life.

Wander around the tallgrass prairie and agricultural land that make up this state park.

Prairie Spirit Trail State Park is at 1800 S Princeton Cir Dr, Ottawa, KS 66067.


Technically designated as a wildlife refuge rather than a state park, Flint Hills is well worth a visit.

The wildlife refuge is around 100 miles southwest of Kansas City.

This refuge is 18,463 acres and was started as part of the 1966 flood control project.

Today the area is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The refuge has a diverse range of landscapes, including wetlands, prairie grasslands, hardwood forests and cropland.

You can fish, hike, and go boating.

Of course, because of the refuge, there is also an abundance of wildlife.

Some birds at the refuge include the blue and green-winged teal, the American wigeon and the northern pintail.

Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge is at 530 W Maple Ave, Hartford, KS 66854.


Hillsdale and Sand Hills State Park is in central Kansas, close to Hutchinson.

This park is on the shore of Hillsdale Lake.

The rolling hills of Miami County make for a superb backdrop for a day out at this state park.

The park has two hiking trails that allow you to explore some of the 12,000 acres of park and wildlife areas.

The lake has 50 miles of shoreline, so it’s an ideal place to fish, swim and go boating.

If you are an equestrian enthusiast, head to the Saddle Ridge equestrian area which offers more than 30 miles of marked horseback trails.

Hillsdale and Sand Hills State Park is at 4207 E 56th Ave, Hutchinson, KS 67502.


The Kansas River passes through Topeka, where you will find the Kaw River State Park.

This urban park is great for escaping the city and getting a little slice of nature.

While at the park you can kayak, canoe and head out along the hiking trails.

The park is covered in trails and it’s a wonderful place to walk and relax.

There are hiking trails for all abilities.

Including hikers, runners, and mountain bikers.

Head to some of the quieter parts to see deer and turkey.

Eagles and waterfowl are frequently spotted on the river during winter.

Kaw River State Park is at Topeka, KS 66615.


Head to Norton County on the northern shores of Keith Sebelius Lake and you will find the Prairie Dog State Park.

The name might give you a clue as to what to expect when visiting this Kansas state park.

The park is home to 300 prairie dogs which are not like dogs at all, more like chubby marmot squirrels!

The park has an interesting 1.4-mile hiking trail that has story walk signage which is ideal in keeping the kids entertained.

If you are a keen angler, head down to the Keith Sebelius Reservoir, where you can catch catfish, walleye, crappie, and wiper.

Prairie Dog State Park is at 13037 KS-261, Norton, KS 67654.

USA map with Kansas highlighted in yellow


This park is in southwestern Kansas is around a 15-minute drive from Meade.

The state park is located where the Turkey Track Ranch used to be and development on the park began in 1927.

Meade Lake is more than 80 acres and there are 440 acres surrounding the lake.

This is the perfect escape into nature.

If you love fishing, head to the lake year-round to be in with the chance of catching largemouth bass, trout, crappie and flathead catfish.

The nature trails offer a great birding, biking, and hiking environment.

Mead State Park is at 13051 S V Rd, Meade, KS 67864.


Around 11 miles outside of Scott City is the Historic Lake Scott State Park.

This is definitely a Kansas state park hidden gem.

National Geographic has even listed it as one of America’s 50 must-see state parks.

The park is filled with natural springs, wooded canyons and is home to some of America’s earliest history.

The park has 1,020 acres of land that surround a 100-acre spring-fed lake, and there’s also a 160-acre wildlife area.

Within this state park are 26 archaeological sites, making it one of the most historic places in Kansas.

The remains of the El Cuartelejo pueblo (the northernmost Native American pueblo) have been found in the park, now designated a National Historic Landmark.

This state park is great for camping, boating, hiking, fishing, swimming, and watching wildlife.

There are nature trails for hikers and horse riders too.

Historic Lake Scott State Park is at 101 W Scott Lake Dr, Scott City, KS 67871.


Head to the southeast of Kansas to discover the Fall River State Park.

This park is between the Flint Hills grassland and the Cross Timbers region.

If you are a nature and wildlife enthusiast, this park is definitely for you.

The park is 980 acres and has forested floodplains, savanna, and tall-grass prairie.

To enjoy this varied landscape, there are six hiking trails you can head out on and a unique orientation course.

One of the park’s most popular activities is canoeing the Fall River, which feeds into the huge Fall River Lake reservoir.

Fall River State Park is at 144 Highway 105, Toronto, KS 66777, United States


Cedar Bluff State Park is in Trego County, south of I-70.

This park is split into two sections on either side of the Cedar Bluff Reservoir.

There’s the Bluffton Area to the north and the Page Creek Area to the south.

The Bluffton Area is 300 acres and has two boat ramps, a picnic area, a campground, sand volleyball, horseshoes, a beach, a BMX track, and cabins to rent.

The Page Creek Area is larger by 200 acres but is less crowded than the Bluffton Area.

This area is known for its quiet primitive camping, trees, and beautiful sandy shoreline.

This section of the state park is home to Threshing Machine Canyon, which has some 19th-century rock carvings.

Cedar Bluff State Park Bluffton Area is at 32001 KS-147, Ellis, KS 67637.

The Cedar Bluff State Park Page Creek Area is at 32001 KS-147, Ellis, KS 67637.


Wilson State Park is set in the Smoky Hills central region of Kansas.

This park is set on the southern shore of Wilson Lake Reservoir, which is 9,000 acres.

This Kansas state park is all about the outdoors, and there are so many activities on and off the water for you to enjoy.

Rent a boat or bring your own and head out onto the water and there are also plenty of places for swimming too.

Once on land you can hike, mountain bike and horse ride, camp and spot wildlife.

The park has two main areas, Hell Creek and Otoe.

They both have campsites, marinas, swimming beaches and hiking trails.

Wilson State Park is at 3 State Park Road, Sylvan Grove, KS 67481.


To the west of the city of Glen Elder is the Glen Elder State Park.

This park sits on the northern shores of Waconda Lake (also known as Glen Elder Reservoir).

This is one of the state’s largest lakes and is a wonderful place for recreational fun.

This park played a part in Native American history as the reservoir is in the place of a sacred mineral spring.

While at the park, you can see the Waconda Springs Replica, a tribute to Native American history and Kansas geology.

You can head to Waconda Heritage Village, where there is a living museum and Hopewell Church.

Whether you want to swim, boat, fish, picnic, bird watch or hike, Glen Elder State Park has something for the whole family.

Glen Elder State Park is on the northern shores of Waconda Lake in northern Kansas.

Glen Elder State Park is at 2131 180 Rd, Glen Elder, KS 67446.


Eisenhower State Park is around an hour and a half drive southwest of Kansas City.

This park is on the northern shores of Melvern Lake.

This park features tall grass prairie and woodland.

With a total of 1,785 acres to explore you can certainly stay for the whole day if not longer.

There’s a campground at Eisenhower State Park as well as a sailboat beach and Omaha swim beach.

There are many other fun activities including a basketball court, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, picnic shelters, 18-hole disc golf, a kid’s fishing pond, and an archery trail.

The campground is well-equipped with a general store, laundry facilities and a shower block.

Eisenhower State Park is at 29810 S Fairlawn Rd, Osage City, KS 66523.


In the southeast of Kansas, around 112 miles (2-hour drive) south of Kansas City, is Crawford State Park.

Another of Kansas’ smaller state parks, this park is on the edge of the Ozark mountain region.

Look no further than Crawford State Park for a great camping spot, as the campground has excellent views of the 150-acre lake.

For more luxurious digs than camping, book one of the lakefront cabins.

The park also has two boat ramps, hiking and biking trails and a beach that is safe to swim at.

Crawford State Park is at 40468 CO-92, Crawford, CO 81415.


Head to Montgomery County in southeast Kansas and you’ll find Elk City State Park, just 10 minutes drive outside Independence.

This park is around 857 acres and is on the 4,500-acre Elk City Reservoir.

The park is an amalgamation of rolling meadows, Indian grassland, and hickory woodland.

It’s relatively small, but you can still enjoy swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing on the reservoir, mountain biking, horse riding, and camping in the surrounding area.

There is also a children’s playground and picnic spots with picturesque views of the surrounding woodland.

The 15 mile Elk River Hiking Trail is a fantastic hike.

Elk City State Park is at 4825 Squaw Creek Rd, Independence, KS 67301.


Mushroom Rock State Park is on the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway.

This park is considered to be one of the 8 Wonder of Kansas Geography.

It might be the smallest state park in Kansas, but it’s also one of the most unique and diverse.

It’s only five acres but has some wonderfully unique rock formations.

These rocks marked the meeting place for many Native Americans and pioneers like John C. Fremont.

Named because of their mushroom shape, they were formed from the remains of beach sand and sediment during the Cretaceous Period.

These mushroom rocks are made up of cemented calcium carbonate.

Walk around this state park for a unique look at Kansas’s diverse geology.


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