Aerial view of a university in Manhattan, Kansas.

9 Best Small Towns In Kansas For Retirees

Kansas is an American state along the westward-rising landscape of the Great Plains in North America. It is named after the Kansas-American people, the land's first inhabitants. Kansas, meaning the “The People of the South Wind,” is home to farmers and bison herders, giving the state the name “Agricultural Heartland of America.” The native people of Kansas are full of life and are always ready to receive new neighbors with open arms.

Sunflower stands for positivity, cheers, health, good luck, and hope. These qualities perfectly describe the atmosphere of Kansas, year in and year out. It's no wonder that the state flower of Kansas is the Sunflower. This populous American State might not look like a perfect place for retirement, but don’t let Kansas's big towns and cities deceive you. Among the big cities in the most unlikely locations are some of the best small towns in Kansas for Retirees. 

These towns are characterized by a quaint and tranquil atmosphere, providing retirees much-needed peace after a busy work life in the big cities. If you’re looking to relocate to Kansas after retirement, here is a list of the best small towns in Kansas for pocket-friendly and peaceful retirement. 

Wamego, Kansas

The Oz Museum, a green building on the main street of Wamego, Kansas, United States.
The Oz Museum is a green building on the main street of Wamego, Kansas, United States. Editorial credit: Sabrina Janelle Gordon /

Welcome to the small town of Wamego, located in Pottawatomie County, in the Sunflower State. This town is filled with many historic sites and lovely neighborhoods. 

This town is perfect if you are looking for a change of environment after retirement. There are a lot of activities going on in this place to keep you busy for a long time, from picnics at Wamego Park to learning about the town's history at The Historical Museum. 

Do you remember the famous movie The Wizard of OZ? The OZ Museum is dedicated to keeping the memorabilia of the iconic Wizard of Oz. There is even an event called OZtober Fest dedicated to celebrating this character. 

Have an up-close interaction with the Bisons at Lazy Heart D & Plumlee Buffalo Ranch. You might make new friends when you go for lunch at Friendship House restaurant, and If you’re feeling unwell, the town has a fully-equipped Health Center that caters to the health of its people.

Mission Hills, Kansas

Typical house in Mission Hills, Kansas.

Typical house in Mission Hills, Kansas. Editorial Credit: By Iknowthegoods at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A small, exceptional town developed by one of Kansas's best city developers, J.C Nichols, in the 1920s. Mission Hills is defined in an old-fashioned way with peaceful valleys and beautifully organized gardens perfect for evening strolls. 

As a retiree, check out Mission Hills if you want quiet places with low energy-consuming activities. You can walk around the lovely gardens at the Community Garden, Mission Hills Garden, or anywhere around the town. Almost every part of the town is adorned with various flower species. Looking for activities to do now that you have retired? Learning more about these flowers and taking a stroll can be a way to start your retirement journey. 

If you are lucky, you might kiss your partner under the mistletoes during the Christmas party at Mission Hills Nursery. Enjoy a game of Golf with the locals and fellow retirees at the Mission Hills Golf Club. Stay healthy by regularly visiting The University of Kansas Health Hospital. There are few rental homes here, but you can own a home in this town as part of your investment. 

Sabetha, Kansas

Post office building at the northeast corner of 9th and Virginia Streets in Sabetha, Kansas, as seen from the northwest.
Post office building at the northeast corner of 9th and Virginia Streets in Sabetha, Kansas.

Welcome to the scenic town of Sabetha, based between the Brown and Nemaha counties in Kansas. This town was named after the “Sabbath Day,” when the first settler arrived in 1854. 

If you are looking for a place filled with millennials and Gen Zs for your retirement, Sabetha is the right place. 

The town lost some of its structures during a horrible tornado storm 1998, destroying most parts of the city hall. 

Despite this challenge, the town has not stopped. The locals have made the most of the city, and it has now become one of the best small towns in Kansas to retire to. 

If you have ever wished to work on your fitness but could not find time because of your busy work schedule, this is the right time. Sabetha has a Wellness Center that gives you the best fitness experience, from picking a personal trainer to personal training with state-of-the-art gym equipment. Spend the afternoon at  Sabetha’s Aquatic Center diving into the cold swimming pool. Don’t know how to swim? This is the best time to learn.

Take leisure strolls down the serene Sabetha Park; watching its beautiful scenery should be part of your daily routine in Sabetha.

Lindsborg, Kansas

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

The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas, USA, now houses City Hall and features a vibrant red exterior. Editorial credit: Stephanie L Bishop /

Imagine yourself dressed in a Swedish dress, eating and dancing in a Swedish town. Stop dreaming and pack your bags for the best retirement experience of your life. 

Welcome to Lindsborg, Kansas, the “Little Sweden” of America. Nestled in the smokey valley is this town filled with warm-welcoming locals and a perfect place for retirees looking for a small-town feel. 

Swedish immigrants settled on the land in the spring of 1869, led by Pastor Olof Olsson. Over a hundred and fifty years later, the town has held on to its Swedish roots, celebrating different Swedish festivities all year round.

From the Messiah Festivals of Arts during Easter to the Midsummer's Festival in June. Christmas festivities are the town's highlights, from the Snowflake Parade to the St. Lucia Festival. Aside from the festivities, the city has many historic sites scattered around, like the Swedish Museum and The Old Mill, where you can learn about Lindsborg's journey over the last one hundred and fifty years. 

The town is warm and cozy, with many bars and restaurants like the Renaissance Cafe, giving the city an active nightlife; there are also Ice-cream parlors scattered around town for the hot days. With a population of less than four thousand, the city is a perfect place to enjoy your retirement. 

Manhattan, Kansas

Aerial view of the college town of Manhattan, Kansas, during the summer.

Aerial view of the college town of Manhattan, Kansas, during the summer. 

Find Manhattan on the northern edge of the rolling Flint Hills that form the Turtle Creek Lake between the Big Blue and Kansas Rivers. This town is named after a famous city in New York.

Also known as the “Little Apple” of America, Manhattan is a small town with a big-town feel, perfect for people used to the big city life but need a small town for retirement that will not make them miss the big city. This town might not look like much, but it has a lot of honorary awards, including the Top 10 Places to Retire by the Money Magazine and Top 10 Places to Retire Young by CNN Money.

There are a lot of activities for the elderly in Manhattan, from kayaking down the Turtle Creek Lake to strolling down the Flower Farms with your partner to enjoying a locally brewed beer at Tallgrass Tap House. As the Number 1 walkable destination in Kansas, Konza Prairie Nature Trail, Manhattan, is perfect for hiking and long evening strolls. Visit Ascension Via Christi Health Center for a regular checkup. 

Lake Quivira, Kansas

Northern pintail ducks in flight over Little Salt Marsh on a sunny day at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge near Stafford in South Central Kansas.

Northern pintail ducks in flight over Little Salt Marsh on a sunny day at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.

Lying between the Johnson and Wyandotte Counties of Kansas is a small town named Lake Quivira. This town was initially constructed to be a resort in the 1920s until the depression struck, and the developers could no longer continue the work.

This resort town, home to less than a thousand five hundred people, is the perfect retirement destination. If you are looking for a serene and beautiful place to stay, Lake Quivira is the place for you. 

There are a lot of activities for you and the family. From swimming, waterboarding, and kayaking down Lake Quivira to playing golf at the Country Club and hosting big family gatherings at home, this town is all about building family intimacy. You can pick up treasures and keepsakes at the lake while scuba diving. The Lake Hospital is also open 24/7 during medical emergencies or checkups.

Parsons, Kansas

Former public library building in Parsons, Kansas, funded by Andrew Carnegie.

Former public library building in Parsons, Kansas, funded by Andrew Carnegie. Editorial Credit: By Kaethesson - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Labette County of Kansas is the beautiful small town of Parsons. This town was founded in 1870 and named after Levi Parson, the President of the Missouri-Kansas railroad. This town has been through many turbulent times, the major hit being the F3 tornado in 2000 that destroyed several homes and businesses.

This did not deter the locals, as the town went ahead to win the Great American Main Street award in 2006 for their efforts in revitalizing Downtown Parsons and maintaining its historic foundation. 

Parsons is a perfect retirement destination because of its rich cultural heritage, quiet neighborhoods, and a lot of extra-curricular activities. From fishing at the Neosho Fishing Lake to kayaking down Lake Parsons, there are a lot of activities for a retiree in Parsons. 

Don’t miss out on the iconic Founders Day celebration held yearly in honor of the town's founding fathers. Labette Health and Parsons State Hospital are some of the most populated healthcare centers in the city.

Iola, Kansas

South side of the downtown square in Iola, Kansas.

South side of the downtown square in Iola, Kansas. Editorial Credit: By Thrive Allen County - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Iola is a quaint town right at the county seat of Allen County. Founded in 1859, the town's size and population make it a perfect retirement destination. 

The town might be small, but has the largest Town Square west of the Mississippi. The Square has antique stores, boutiques, restaurants, and historical buildings. Walking around the square is a perfect way to pass the evening time. 

There are many events to attend in Iola, including its Famous Farm City Festival in mid-October. 

As a retiree, you have to cut down on costs and start eating healthy. The Farmers Market at Iola is the perfect grocery stop for all your fresh produce at a pocket-friendly price. 

Housing is also relatively cheap, so you can buy a house and move to Iola with your family.

Abilene, Kansas

Monument of President Eisenhower in a park in Abilene, Kansas, USA.
Monument of President Eisenhower in a park in Abilene, Kansas, USA. Editorial credit: spoonphol /

Lying along the Smoky Hill River East of Kansas is the County seat of Dickson County, Abilene. This town was first settled in 1858 and was known as the Mud Creek. It was later named Abilene in 1860, meaning “Grassy pains” from the biblical reference of Luke 3:1.

Since then, the town has become a perfect retirement destination in Kansas. Abilene offers retirees many activities to keep them occupied, from shopping for wear at Rittel’s or The Other Jones to eating at Joe Snuffy’s Grill or getting baked goods at Amanda’s Bakery.

The locals are welcoming and have created a beautiful community where visitors can mingle and feel at home. It is just like home. They also have a standard Memorial Hospital that provides healthcare services for residents.

Discover Tranquil Retirement in Kansas' Small Towns

The Sunflower State is home to retirees and young people looking to start a new phase of their lives. These small towns in Kansas are quiet, quaint, and perfect for retirement.

From Wamego to Abilene, each town has unique features to offer Retirees. Just retired? Why not hop in your car and road trip around these towns? Take your time to explore every nook and cranny, learn new things, and check out the city that best suits your needs. Don’t forget to savor the moments and enjoy the experience while at it.

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