Kansas is a gorgeous state and there are many beautiful small towns that are scattered throughout the farmland that intersects the largest cities in the state, including the capital of Topeka and the largest of all the cities in the state, Wichita. The state is known as the Wheat State since it was named during the year 2000 as the state with the most wheat produced, wheat flour milled, and wheat flour milling. It is not surprising that the state is home to hundreds of small towns.
Kansas attracts tourists, family travelers, cyclists, adventure seekers, history buffs, foodies, and more each year who want to check out the beautiful landscape of the rolling hills and gorgeous sunsets every year. Some people are even searching for a place to live as they relocated to the Wheat State.
The small towns of Kansas have a heritage that is steeped in history and are each beautiful with a lot to offer in their own ways. Below is our detailed list of the 30 most beautiful small towns in Kansas for you to check out.
Table of Contents
- 1. Coffeyville
- 2. Lecompton
- 3. Abilene
- 4. Colby
- 5. St. Marys
- 6. Atchison
- 7. Cottonwood Falls
- 8. Atwood
- 9. Norton
- 10. Council Grove
- 11. Dodge City
- 12. Fort Scott
- 13. Leavenworth
- 14. Lindsborg
- 15. Lucas
- 16. Marysville
- 17. Wilson
- 18. Hays
- 19. Paola
- 20. Chanute
- 21. Garden City
- 22. Manhattan
- 23. Wamego
- 24. Victoria
- 25. Larned
- 26. Norcatur
- 27. North Newton
- 28. Bel Aire
- 29. Mcpherson
- 30. Douglass
Coffeyville boasts fun places to visit, including the Brown Mansion and the Midland Theater. You can camp at the pretty Walter Johnson Park Camping Area also.
It has a rich history that dates back to the middle of the 1800s when a group of bandits called the Dalton boys were terrorizing small towns that were nearby to Coffeyville. They were robbing banks, individual citizens, and small shops but the people of Coffeyville were having none of it. The members of the town organized a shootout with the Dalton boys. They shot and killed them which is the reason this small town is known as the “town that stopped the Daltons.” There is even an exhibit about the incident at the Dalton Defenders Museum that visitors can check out.
With a population of just over 600, Lecompton is the location where the Civil War started as well as the town where slavery began to die off. Lecompton offers several historical sites you can visit to learn more about the area as well as the Civil War.
While visiting Lecompton, many tourists like to visit the Territorial Capital Museum and the Constitution Hall.
Abilene is situated at the end of the historic Chisholm Trail, so it is an Old Western Town with plenty of history to learn about since it is the hometown of President Eisenhower. You can get a taste of the Wild West while visiting the local saloons in Old Town Abilene, complete with gunfight reenactments and cancan dancers.
Visitors also like to visit the amazing Seelve Mansion that features 25 rooms as well as the Eisenhower Presidential Library and the American Indian Art Center.
Nestled on the plains of beautiful Kansas, Colby is surrounded by rolling fields of wind-blown grass and boasts the Prairie Museum of Art and History.
You can relax in the beautiful small town while listening to some incredible music by bluegrass musicians that play at Pickin’ on the Plains every year. If you want to garner some sweet deals while shopping, the Southwind Antique Mall is the place to go while visiting Colby.
5. St. Marys
St. Marys is located in both Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee counties and the population is nearly 3000 people. It is home to the beautiful Saint Mary’s Academy and College as well as the historic Indian Pay Station and Museum.
it is peppered with beautiful parks the visitors can use for children to play or to read a book from the Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library. If reading is not your style, you can visit the city’s golf course or head to the big city of Topeka which is only 20 minutes up the road.
Atchison is well-known since it is the birthplace of Amelia Earhart. It is a beautiful, picturesque town situated near the Missouri River in the northeastern part of the state and was once a very popular transportation center in the 1800s.
The streets are aligned with gorgeous Victorian-style homes which visitors can check out while taking a trolley tour of the town along the brick streets. It is dubbed the “most haunted town in Kansas” since many people believe the older homes and buildings are haunted. It has become a hotspot for spiritual readings, mystery dinners, and paranormal events. This beautiful town also offers up the Amelia Earhart Festival every year.
7. Cottonwood Falls
Cottonwood Fall is nestled in the heart of the Flint Hills and features quaint little shops and restaurants throughout the downtown area. A guided tour is offered of the famous Chase County Courthouse that was constructed from native limestone from Flint Hills and is considered to be a Second-Empire-style architectural gem in the midst of brick-paved streets.
Cottonwood Falls is also home to the Tallgrass Nature Preserve that offers plenty of hiking on five different trails as well as an 1881 historic ranch house.
Located along the gorgeous Beaver Creek in the northwestern portion of Kansas, the small of Atwood features Lake Atwood which is the place to go for hiking, fishing, camping, and more. The town hosts annual barbecue festivals, restored car shows, and an amazing Fourth of July celebration every year.
The small town of Norton, Kansas, boasts amazing landscapes as well as historic attractions and is located near the border of Kansas and Nebraska. There are plenty of opportunities for fishing, camping, and water sports at both the Sebelius Reservoir and the Prairie Dog State Park.
Visitors can also catch a motorcycle race at the Norton Motor Cross Track and visit the Norton Theatre that offers two new releases almost nightly.
10. Council Grove
Council Grove is a historic town that is situated on the Santa Fe Trail. Visitors can check out the unique shops and restaurants, especially the historic Hays House Restaurant that opened in 1857. There are also tours available at the Kaw Mission State Historic Site and Museum as well as a former boys school that was built in 1851 by the Kaw American Indian Tribe.
11. Dodge City
Dodge city, like Council Grove, is located on the Santa Fe Trail and is a mecca of history. The town was founded in 1872 as an Old Western settlement and was referred to as “The Wickedest Little City in America” during its early years due because of the many colorful characters, including gamblers, prostitutes, and cowboys, that had moved there. cowboys, gamblers, and prostitutes. Travelers can stop in at the Boot Hill Museum that is rife with historical exhibits or take a trolley tour of the town.
12. Fort Scott
Whether you are a history buff or a nature lover, Fort Scott offers plenty of fun things to do for people of all interests and ages. You can visit the Fort Scott National Historic Site that features 20 buildings with 1840s furnishings along with many exhibitions, including the fort that was used from 1842 to 1853. There are also plenty of beautiful Victorian buildings to tour as well as boutiques and antique shops to check out. There are plenty of opportunities for hunting, fishing, and participating in water sports too.
Leavenworth is known as “The First City of Kansas” and was founded in 1854. This riverfront town features plenty of shops and restaurants as well as the historic Carroll Mansion as well as the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum. The oldest active fort west of the Mississippi River, Fort Leavenworth, which is the oldest active fort west of Mississippi River offers tours at the Frontier Army Museum. The National Cemetery is also located there and is one of the very first national cemeteries established by Abraham Lincoln back in the day.
Known as “Little Sweden USA,” Lindsborg is proud of its Swedish heritage that includes the settlers that that settled in the area in 1869.
Lindsborg offers the Old Mill Museum where you can learn more about the city’s history. It includes the Swedish Pavilion from the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and allows tourists to have a glimpse into what the town and its people were like from 1870 to 1910. The town is also home of the biennial cultural celebration, the Svensk Hyllningsfest, which Lindsborg is known for.
Known as the “Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas,” Lucas is a very small town with only about 400 people living there but it is rich with history. It features colorful buildings that are made with Post Rock limestone and visits can explore the S.P. Dinsmoor’s Garden of Eden which is a log cabin that is also constructed of Post Rock limestone and is surrounded by unique sculptures that were created by retired Civil War veteran S.P. Dinsmoor who began the project all the way back in 1904.
Other places in Lucas to check out include the Bowl Plaza, which is a public restroom that is flanked in beautiful mosaics, as well as the folk art from area residents at The Grassroots Arts Center.
Located nearby to the Big Blue River, Marysville was the first home station on the Pony Express route west of Missouri. Visitors can visit the local Pony Express Museum to learn about the history of this amazing little town as well as the Doll Museum, Lifetiles Murals, and various art exhibitions. Marysville also offers a gorgeous town park that features a free pool, steam locomotive, and a 1901 Union Pacific Depot.
Known as the Czech capital of the state, Wilson honors its Czech Republic ties every year with the amazing Czech Festival that attracts thousands of people from all over. The town also hosts the Kansas Originals Gallery which is one of Kansas’ largest exhibitions that promotes local artists and crafters. Wilson Lake is situated right outside of town and is known for having the clearest water in the entire state of Kansas. Visitors and locals swim there as well as fish, boat, and hike the trails. The nearby Wilson State Park offers plenty of campsites in the midst of the strikingly beautiful limestone formations.
Once an important piece of the Arapaho, Kiowa, and Pawnee territories, the town of Hays is a very significant town in Kansas since it is home to three universities, including Fort Hays State University, North Central Kansas Technical College, and the Kansas State University agricultural research center. The town holds several American and German cultural events throughout the year, including over the holidays.
Paola boasts a beautiful Historic Downtown Park Square that is surrounded by Victorian architecture that has been a gathering place over the years for Native American tribes. It also features a horse racing track, parade, and a circus area, and is simply a fun place to hang out. There are several specialty shops located in the business district that is surrounded by plenty of places to camp, swim, fish, and explore.
Chanute is a beautiful town that is rooted in interesting history. There are plenty of festivals, parages, and other annual events that are held on Main Street to honor the town’s old world charm and heritage. It is home to Neosho County Community College, art galleries, several museums, and the annual Artist Alley event.
21. Garden City
Garden City is home to the historic Windsor Hotel and has plenty of shops, restaurants, and boutiques to visit down on Main Street. There is a local art gallery that features more than ten exhibits every year and Hillside Sessions provides plenty of music and dancing. The town offers the Big Dipper mega-pool with three water slides as well as a historical museum, zoo, and several parks.
Manhattan is located where the Kansas River meets the Big Blue and was dubbed an “All American City” in 1952. The town is home to Kansas State University as well as the annual Country Stampede Music Festival, Juneteenth Celebration and the Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave. Visitors can also head to the nearby Tuttle Creek Reservoir or visit either the Sunset Zoo or the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.
Wamego’s motto is, ‘Small Town. Big Experience’ and features the beautiful Columbian Theatre that was built in 1895. You can take in the live entertainment or take a stroll around the city’s 12-acre park that boasts a Dutch Mill and the Historic Museum and Prairie Town Village. Wizard of Oz fans will really love checking out the Oz Museum and its thousands of movie-related artifacts and the grown-ups will enjoy sampling award-winning wines as the Oz Winery.
Victoria is located in eastern Ellis County near the Smoky Hill River. The town was settled by immigrants from two different cultures and has a rich past. You can visit the historical marker on the south side of town that features information about the town’s first settlers as well as the historic home of George Grant, who introduced Aberdeen-Angus cattle to the United States.
Home to the Guardians of the Santa Fe Trail, Larned is known for Fort Larned and other forts that were part of the process of the US control over the Great Plains. Today, Fort Larned is considered one of the most well-preserved military posts from the Indian Wars era. It was even a finalist for the 8 Wonders of Kansas. Visitors can check out the military buildings and other structures that were made of sandstone as well as Fort Larned’s History and Nature Trail that includes a mail station, stables, stores, corrals, and offices complete with wagons passing by.
Norcatur is located in Decatur County and features the Norcatur Museum Features which offers plenty of pictures and items from the past to share with visitors. The museum not only features the history of the town and Norcatur Schools and Community but also shows off items that belonged to Elden Auker. The major league baseball player grew up in Norcatur once struck out Babe Ruth.
27. North Newton
Located in Harvey County, North Newton is home to Bethel College and boasts a history with Longhorn Cattle since the town raised and shipped them to Texas from 1871 to 1873. It is named, “the wickedest town in the West,” since it was once home to brothels, saloons, and cowboys.
28. Bel Aire
This is not the same Bel Aire that the Fresh Prince grew up in, but it has a lot to offer anyway. With a population of about 7,800 people, you can immerse yourself in a small-town environment while exploring museums, parks, prairie land, and nature centers. Located in Sedgwick County and a suburb of Wichita, this small town is the newest one on our list since it was established in 1955.
Mcpherson is centrally located in Kansas and is named after James “Birdseye” McPherson who was a union general during the Civil War. Nestled in one of the largest wheat-producing areas of the United States, McPherson ranks among the top agricultural centers in the state of Kansas. It is also home to a college by the same name and tourists can visit the historic courthouse as well as the Mcpherson Opera House and the beautiful murals that are featured throughout the city.
Located in Butler County and home to about 2,000 people, the quaint town of Douglass offers a relaxed environment with plenty of places to visit, including rustic bridges, historic barns and homes, as well as the scenic views of amazing sunsets on the golden rolling wheat fields. It is located near larger cities with plenty of amenities and offers a huge public park to explore.