Members of the Local 4-H club riding their horses on Main Street during the Washunga Days Parade in Council Grove, Kansas, USA. Editorial credit: mark reinstein /

7 Delightful Towns to Visit in Kansas

Kansas is a wondrous state, well-known for its agricultural history and expansive plains. The often-overlooked small towns of this state are truly worth discovering. Most visitors head to Kansas’s cities, such as Wichita and Kansas City; however, many less populated charming small towns are just as scenic and historically significant as their bigger neighbors. These towns boast several natural and cultural attractions and welcoming residents. History lovers, nature enthusiasts, and those looking for an escape from big-city living will appreciate visiting these seven delightful Kansas towns.


The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas, USA, now serves as City Hall and features a vibrant red exterior.

The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas. Editorial credit: Stephanie L Bishop /

Settled in 1869 by Swedish immigrants, it’s no wonder Lindsborg has been dubbed “Little Sweden.” Visitors to Lindsborg can experience true Scandinavian culture in the heart of America. There are several ways to immerse oneself in Swedish culture while in town, including visiting the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery. The Gallery, named after its famous Swedish patron, features several paintings he created of Utah, Kansas, and Colorado. A stop at downtown Main Street is a must for a taste of Sweden or a Swedish souvenir. Several fascinating stores line the street, such as Anderson Butik Scandinavia, which sells the famous Dala horses, preserves, jewelry, and more. Another great store to visit is White’s Foodliner, which sells Swedish cookies, candy, sausages, and other delicious fare.


A green museum building on Main Street in Wamego, Kansas, United States.

Main Street in Wamego, KS, USA. Editorial credit: Sabrina Janelle Gordon /

Wamego is a charming small town that sits along the banks of the Kansas River and is the home of the Oz Museum. With a collection of over 2,000 Wizard of Oz memorabilia, the Oz Museum opened in 2003, and it is the town’s premier attraction. The Museum is pet-friendly, has 15 hidden Toto’s to find, a yellow brick road, and an Emerald City playground, making it perfect for families. One of Wamego’s best outdoor attractions is the Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie. Mount Mitchell is a 170-acre tallgrass prairie that overlooks the Kansas River Valley and offers visitors picture-perfect views of the prairie and surrounding natural limestone formations.


Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas, USA.

Abilene, Kansas, USA. Editorial credit: Michelangelo DeSantis /

Smithsonian Magazine named Abilene one of the “Best small towns to visit,” and there are many reasons why. Firstly, the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home. Once home to the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the museum features an 11-foot tall statue of the former president and offers visitors an insight into his life. Secondly, the Eisenhower Park & Rose Garden which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Apart from the garden, the park features a pool, playground, and stadium from which, in 1952, General Eisenhower announced his intention to run for President.

Cottonwood Falls

Horizontal photo of the old downtown area of Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, with the courthouse at the end of the street.

Downtown Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.

Cottonwood Falls is a peaceful, historic small town in Flint Hills. One of its best attractions is Swope Park, with its outdoor BBQ grills, playground, picnic area, swimming pool, and fitness trail. Also in the Park are the Cavalry Historic Barn and All Veterans Memorial. The Barn, a former armory, is now a museum of sorts that displays infantry equipment from the 1900s. The Memorial honors veterans from every war and features a tank, helicopter, anchor, and cenotaph of Chase County veterans. Another scenic stop would be the Chase State Fishing Lake and Chase Lake Waterfalls, 1.5 miles from Cottonwood Falls.


Aerial view of downtown city center of Atchison, Kansas, in mid-morning light.

Aerial view of the downtown city center of Atchison, Kansas.

Atchison is a small town with 20+ locations on the National Register of Historic Places. The town sits on the banks of the Missouri River and there is a well-maintained and scenic trail that runs adjacent to the river for residents and visitors alike. Atchison State Fishing Lake is another outdoor marvel. It is a 66-acre lake surrounded by 186 acres of land where fishing and hunting are permitted. Atchison is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Amelia Earhart - the first female pilot to try and circumnavigate the globe. As such, there is a museum dedicated to her in Atchison - The Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum. It is a National Historic Site that sees thousands of visitors annually.

Council Grove

Members of the Local 4-H club riding their horses on Main Street during the Washunga Days Parade in Council Grove, Kansas, USA.
The Washunga Days Parade in Council Grove, Kansas, USA. Editorial credit: mark reinstein /

With only 2,100 residents, Council Grove is a quiet town with over 25 nationally recognized historic sites. The Council Grove Federal Reservoir and Council Grove City Lake are popular attractions among fishermen, campers, and boaters. Council Grove was once home to the Indigenous people of the Kaw Nation; as such, the Kaw Mission State Historic Site, a former school for Kaw boys, is now open to the public as a museum. Similarly, the Kaw Nation’s Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park is a prominent landmark. The 164-acre park is the site of the Kaw Nations' former village and features restored ruins and a walking trail.


Iconic Picken Hall on the campus of Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

Iconic Picken Hall on the campus of Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

Formerly a wild frontier town, Hays was settled by Volga Germans in 1879, and therefore, the town features distinctly German culture, even hosting its own Oktoberfest. The town has several award-winning eateries, including Gella's Diner & Lb. Brewing Co, a microbrewery and downtown diner. Another notable attraction in Hays is the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. The museum is open seven days a week and displays fossils and live animals and has several interactive exhibits. To learn about the town's German heritage, a stop at Volga German Hause is a must. Located on the Ellis County Historical Society Museum grounds, the house is a replica of the homes built by the Volga German settlers.

Discover Kansas's Charming Small Towns

Hays, Council Grove, Lindsborg, Cottonwood Falls, Atchison, Abilene, and Wamego are some of the most charming small towns in Kansas. Each town is picturesque, rich in history and culture, and offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visitors can explore Lindsborg’s Swedish heritage, the German roots in Hays, or the Presidential charm of Abilene, which contribute to Kansas’s allure. These towns beckon travelers to slow down and connect with the heart of Kansas. So, for your next trip, step off the beaten path and explore these seven delightful towns in Kansas.

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