National Parks in Kansas National Parks in Kansas

4 Best National Parks in Kansas to Explore

Kansas State is one of the liveliest states in the US. There is so much to do here that no one can ever get bored in this beautiful heaven. National Parks in Kansas are popular for their historical buildings and rich history.

The state is rich in its historical sites and architecture, and there are so many wonderful things to do here. From amazing food to exciting trails, Kansas never lets you down with its great offers.

Tourists from all over the world visit this ‘wheat state‘ to experience the beauty of this state. And national parks in Kansas are just cheery on the top.

However, there are so many attractions here, and one of the best places to must-see is n the national parks in Kansas. You can never go wrong while exploring Kansas national parks with four national historic sites.

The National Parks in Kansas have everything to make your vacation or your family’s vacation memorable.

There are so many options for national parks in Kansas that you can explore. But here, we picked up the best sites, from hiking trails to the national historic site.

So, let’s dive into a few of the best Kansas national parks and see. And let’s explore how to get there and what fun activities you can do there.

Four Best National Parks in Kansas

1) Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Park

4 Hours at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

One of the popular historic national parks in Kansas, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trails, is one of the best expeditions in Kansas state. It is 4900 miles long, which further expands to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, crossing the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon.

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a historic site made mark 1803 to 1806 for the protection and identification and public use and to enjoy the historic site.

The longevity of the trail depends on how many sites you want to visit and see. If you want to cover the entire expedition from Pittsburg crossing the Pacific Ocean, then you would need at least 3-4 weeks.

Lewis and Clark’s expedition is the most popular among locals and tourists visiting here. The main reason for its likeness is that it connects 16 states, including many tribal lands. States it touches include Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Washington, South & North Dakota.

It is well preserved national historic trail which remained intact for a very long time. Its natural resources and culture related to US tribal history are also well preserved. That is why it becomes important that you must once visit the place to see this amazing historic site.

Board of Education National Historic Site runs several programs here to honor the tribal legacies. Several tribal lives were touched and changed by these national parks in Kansas service teams.

The National Park Service runs the park and it is the best national park for children.

Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Park
By EWYMedia from DepositPhotos

1.1) What Is It Best Known For?

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Park is known for its expedition. There are numerous species here that lives in water and dam. It is a great place to come nearer to nature.

There are so many places around the park which you can visit. Some of the historical sites in national parks in Kansas are:

  • Cahokla Courthouse
  • Winter Camp at Wood River
  • Gateway Arch National Park
  • Tavern Cave
  • Charbonier Bluff
  • St. Charles Historic District
  • Sugar Load Rock Cark’s Hill State Historic Site
  • Moniteau Creek at Manitou Bluffs
  • Leary Site
  • Platte Ricer Confluence
  • White Catfish Camp
  • Fort Atkinson
  • Blackbird Hill
  • Omaha Big Village
  • Sergeant Floyd Monument
  • Spirit Mound
  • Ionia Volcano
  • Bow Creek the Tower

1.2) Other Details

a) Address

1 River City Dr, Kansas City, KS, United States, PIN 66115

b) Entry Fee and Timing

You can visit the official site of the Clark National Historic Trail to get the updated details and book your expedition.

2) Fort Larned National Historic Site

Fort Larned National Historic Site
By Robert A. Redden from Shutterstock

Fort Larned National Historic Site is one of the best historic sites and national parks in Kansas. The national park has a rich history where you can see Santa Fe Trail guardians protecting the base.

The trail was once an army base in the 19th century from 1860 to 1870. It is still well preserved by the national park service team.

The trail also has a picnic area where you can enjoy yourself with your kids, family, and friends.

Located 5.5 miles west of Larned, Kansas, the national park has several picnic centers where you can spend quality time. The area is clean and has several facilities, making your trip memorable.

For those who are looking for different learning opportunities, Fort Larned can also provide that by turning its building into a classroom where lessons can be easily taken.

This national historic site has so many educational programs that you can learn about by visiting here. All you need is to spare a minimum of two hours here in which you can visit museums, see the buildings and watch a film based on the national historic site.

You can also take guided tours of this Fort’s national historic site. If you are visiting with a large group or individually, you don’t need to worry about it. Just make sure to book in advance, so you don’t feel any stress later.

Fort Larned National Historic Site

2.1) History

Fort Larned National Historic site has a rich history. Its trail, Santa Fe Trail, was once used as a route to transport commercial traffic to other states, including Missouri, Santa Fe, and New Mexico.

Santa Fe National Historic Trail was built in 1859, with the mission to protect commerce and settler and maintain peace on the trail.

When tension built among Native American tribes and authorities who were trying to restrict their movement and take their personal freedom, it protected travelers from the area from attacks from people. After that, several military outposts grew in this part of the area.

Fort Larned National Historic trail also served as a national historic site and was a base for the US army.

Today its building is still intact, and visitors can visit the place and get the feel of how people lived back in the 19th century. It has interesting buildings showing the life of people in the past century.

2.2) Other Details

a) Address

1767 KS-156, Larned, KS 67550, Kansas

b) Entry Fee and Timing

You can visit Fort Larned National’s site to get the updated details and book your expedition.

3) Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
By Barbara Kalbfleisch from Shutterstock

One of the most popular national parks in Kansas, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, was built to preserve the ecosystem in 1996.

The Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem was once spread over 170 million of the land but turned into farmland over time.

There is so much to see here, from historical buildings to natural wonders, the park has diversity and offers amazing sightseeing.

Visitors can visit hiking paths in the park and a cultural ranch to spend some time in the lap of nature. Tallgrass Prairie is also home to bison and herds, which can be seen from private farming sites.

In Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, every place is within walking distance, and you can easily walk around the enjoy the scenic area. You can also take a bicycle if you don’t want to walk much.

You don’t need to book to visit here; you can come here all year. Its hiking trails have ranch roads and mowed paths, giving the environment a natural feel. It is ideal if you come in comfortable footwear.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
By Ricardo Reitmeyer from Shutterstock

3.1) What Is It Best Known For?

There are so many things to do here. You can take:

  • Nature trails
  • Take a guiding tour of the Ranch
  • Do fishing
  • Explore the tallgrass visitor center
  • Bison viewing
  • Walking on Bottomland trail

However, you cannot bicycle on hiking trails as it is restricted to preserve the trails.

The national park hosts several activities for kids. There is also a girl and boy scout program where children can get real-life experience of their natural environment.

They can learn, discover and become paleontologists. Children learn how paleontologists work and get to know the tools they were using in ancient life. They get to know about the history of the earth and the ancient plants and animals that lived here, and what was the climate and atmosphere in the ancient world. They can further learn to protect national parks and found fossils and rocks.

There is also a Scavenger Hunt game in one of the best national parks in Kansas, where participants can participate and hunt for natural and cultural resources.

3.2) Other Details

a) Address

2480B KS-177, Strong City, KS 66869

b) Entry Fee and Timing

You can visit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve site to get the updated details and book your expedition.

4) Nicodemus National Historic Site

WNPA Featured Park—Nicodemus National Historic Site

Nicodemus National Historic Site is beautifully located in western Kansas. The site was the hub of the African American community who settled there.

Today the park is open to visitors who can visit here and experience the life lived by people back then.

There are five historic buildings here which are the township hall, Methodist church, Baptist Church, school, and hotel. All these buildings, from schools to Baptist churches, are well preserved today.

You can also see the township hall, built-in 1939, as a self-government building used for theatre, dance, activities, etc.

This one of the best national parks in Kansas is open for pets and is allowed in the town site. If you have pets, then you can also take them there. But take care of them and don’t take them to the Town Hall as pets are not allowed there.

4.1) History

One of the historic national parks of Kansas, the Nicodemus National Historic Site, started when the civil war ended in 1879. The formerly enslaved people started to move out of the south and started shifting to the north and west side of the country. This movement has been done because of finding support for themselves and shelter for their family and community.

The civil war changed everything and the exodus of 1879. The African Americans started to do farming on their land for survival.

The two groups settled in Nicodemus, the early settler, in 1877. And after that, 250 groups of people arrived in 1878.

WATCH: They Built Their Own Town | Nicodemus, KS

After that, Nicodemus National Historic Site turned into a western town where there are banks, law, stores, and a post office. Till the end of 1887, many professionals settled in Nicodemus.

Soon it became a flourishing place where people start living with new hope. However, the decline in population and jobless forced the people to fly the place.

4.2) Other Details

a) Address

304 Washington Ave, Bogue, KS 67625, United States

b) Entry Fee and Timing

You can visit the Nicodemus National Historic Site website to get the updated details and book your expedition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How many national parks are in Kansas?

There are 10 National Parks locations in the state, including preserves, parks, and sections of numerous historic trails.

2. Is Kansas hot or cold?

In general, the winters are mild, the summers are warm, and the humidity is average. The coldest month is January while the warmest month is July.

3. Is Kansas a friendly state?

You may be impressed by Kansas’ well-known friendliness. The locals’ generosity towards visitors would definitely make your visit more comfortable and wholesome!

Conclusion

All these National Parks in Kansas were once home to native people. Many of the tribes still live here. But as time passed, all these tribes vanished. And the place is remained open for visitors and tourists who every year come here to experience the beauty of the land.

If you ever come to Kansas, don’t forget to check the history of the native people and how they live here. These national parks in Kansas will give you a glimpse of ancient life and take you to the era when these tribes live.

If you are interested in National Parks, do check out 6 Best Oregon National Parks. 

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Last Updated on March 3, 2023 by Ananya Sreen