Aerial view of Hutchinson and surrounding forests in Kansas.

7 Most Idyllic Small Towns in Kansas

Deep in the heart of the American Midwest, Kansas is a historical icon, preserving stories from the country’s westward expansion days and patriotic past. As the childhood home to legends such as President Dwight D. Eisenhower and famed pilot Amelia Earhart, it is clear that Kansas has played an important role in the American story. Moreover, the state is an abode of natural beauty, with its rolling prairies, endless landscapes, and herds of bison. For those looking to submerge themselves in the heart of American culture and beauty, look no further than these seven idyllic towns in the beautiful state of Kansas.


The Eisenhower Boyhood Home in Abilene, Kansas.
The Boyhood Home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Abilene, Kansas. Editorial credit: spoonphol /

Home to a little over 6,000 residents, the serene town of Abilene is full of history. Tourists from around the country pour into the little town each year to visit the childhood home of President Eisenhower, where they can immerse themselves in his early life by touring the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home. After learning about Eisenhower, architecture lovers can visit the Seelye Mansion, a 25-room home built in 1904 with many original furnishings from the 20th century.

Abilene is an oasis of art as well, hosting installations such as the Great Plains Theater, where visitors can attend live shows and plays, and the Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum, which tells the story of the county through stunning photographs from the Jeffcoat Photography Studio. Those who want to enjoy the beautiful Kansas weather outdoors can play a friendly game of disc golf at the Brown Memorial Park Disc Golf Course, a picturesque, 18-hole course in the town!


Aerial view of Hutchinson, Kansas.
Aerial view of the town of Hutchinson in Kansas.

Nestled along the Arkansas River, Hutchinson is a great location for adventure seekers. The town’s surrounding area offers over a dozen miles of scenic hike and bike trails, such as the Jim P. Martinez Sunflower Trail, which travels along the Arkansas River and Cow Creek. About 40 minutes away from Hutchinson, travelers can visit the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, where they can see over 300 species of birds, including bald eagles and wild turkeys!

In addition to its parks and trails, Hutchinson is a great place to wander around and appreciate street art, as it is home to over 40 colorful murals painted by local artists. While mural hunting, visitors may want to pop into one of the town’s unique boutiques, antique shops, or craft stores to buy a souvenir for their memorable trip.


The historic courthouse building in Ottawa, Kansas.
The historic courthouse building in Ottawa, Kansas.

When people think of “Ottawa,” they generally think of the well-known city in Canada. However, Ottawa, Kansas, also has many things in store for tourists who plan a visit. Cozy coffee shops such as Corner Market offer tasty coffee, bagels, and pastries to prepare travelers for an exciting day. Known for its agro-tourism, the best way for visitors to take advantage of their time in Ottawa is by visiting local farms, where they can participate in a wide variety of recreational activities, such as going apple picking, picking a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, or sipping wine from one of the area’s wineries.

Pome On the Range, for example, offers free wine tastings, sells mouth-watering local produce, and hosts tours to learn about apples and their growing process. After a day meandering through apple orchards, travelers can stop by one of the town’s delicious restaurants, such as Smoked Creations, a highly-rated Kansas-style barbecue restaurant.


The castle in Coronado Heights Park in Lindsborg, Kansas.
The historic castle atop Coronado Heights hill in the town of Lindsborg, Kansas. Editorial credit: Stephanie L Bishop /

Known as “Little Sweden,” the enchanting cultural and historical story of Lindsborg makes it a memorable destination. Visitors can stroll through the red brick street of the downtown area, admiring galleries, artist studios, boutiques, delicious restaurants, and Scandinavian import shops. History aficionados can visit the Lindsborg Old Mill & Swedish Heritage Museum to see fascinating exhibits that share the history of the region as well as the Swedish legacy that remains.

Continuing the historical trail, travelers can visit a hill near the town to reach the historic Coronado Heights hill, which contains lots of surrounding Spanish history and a beautiful, small castle built in 1936. The bluff is also a treat for nature lovers, boasting an idyllic view of surrounding landscapes. Lindsborg has a wide variety of parks and trails that visitors can explore. Carlson Memorial Park, for example, is a green, lush park in the town filled with urban wildlife and native flora that is a great place for a picnic or weekend stroll.

Dodge City

View of historic replica buildings in the Boot Hill Historical Museum in Dodge City, Kansas.
View of historic replica buildings in the the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, Kansas. Editorial credit: RaksyBH /

Pull out your boots and put on your cowboy hat because visiting Dodge City is like a trip back in time to the Old West! Walking through the historic downtown, visitors can enter a variety of cultural shops, art museums, and boutiques while learning about the city’s history through the Trail of Fame walking tour. Also downtown, travelers can enjoy the Boot Hill Museum, which is filled with entertaining, interactive exhibits and home to over 20,000 artifacts that tell the fascinating story of Dodge City.

After visiting the town’s famous museum, most people head to the Dodge City Brewing, also excellently positioned downtown, where they can try a handcrafted beer and enjoy a signature brick-oven pizza. Those visiting in the summer may want to stop by Dodge City during its annual Dodge City Days event in July and August, a 10-day community festival that celebrates the town’s heritage through cultural events and even hosts a rodeo!


A windmill surrounded by greenery in Wamego, Kansas.
A windmill surrounded by beautiful foliage in Wamego, Kansas.

Wamego has a special, magical atmosphere that is deeply rooted in the famous “Wizard of Oz” novel. Travelers can visit the Oz Museum to see Oz’s 100-year history and original props from the 1939 production and set. Fans can also walk Wamego’s Yellow Brick Road or search for the variety of colorful Toto statues scattered throughout the town! Wamego also has a rich wine culture, where visitors can visit wineries such as 465 Wineries, a collection of startup wineries offering wine sales and wine tastings to its guests.

Only 10 miles from Wamego, Lazy Heart D Ranch is a great place for animal lovers to see a herd of buffalo up close and even feed them! After the ranch, one can continue their day in the countryside by visiting the Oregon Trail Nature Park, which features hiking trails, picnic areas, and a panoramic view of the Kansas River Valley.


The Keoster House in Marysville, Kansas.
The historic 1876 Keoster House in Marysville, Kansas. Editorial credit: WanderinNomadPhotography /

With settlements dating back to the 1850s, Marysville offers many cultural and historical sites. The Koester House Museum and Gardens, for example, is a historical house dating back to 1876 with gorgeous gardens featuring 12 white bronze sculptures. The nearby Historic Courthouse, built in 1891, contains a museum and showcases beautiful historical architecture that visitors will cherish. Around town, visitors can shop for souvenirs to remember Marysville in one of the town’s pottery, jewelry, gift shops, or clothing boutiques. Those seeking a hearty, American meal can stop by the Wagon Wheel restaurant, which serves mouthwatering steaks, seafood, sandwiches, and more. The City Park is a great place to relax after a busy day, with picnic areas, a playground for the kids, and a nine-hole disc golf course.

Final Thoughts

Kansas, deeply entrenched in American history, offers not just a glimpse into the past but a rich array of cultural experiences across its idyllic towns. From the serene Abilene, with its presidential heritage, to the enchanting "Little Sweden" of Lindsborg, each town draws in visitors with a unique story and heritage. Whether wandering the historic streets of Dodge City or following the Yellow Brick Road in Wamego, Kansas promises a journey through time and natural beauty that captivates all who venture there.

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