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Kansas is the 34th state in the United States and is located in the Great Plains. Kansas encompasses 82,000 square miles of open skies and a thriving population of about 2.9 million residents. The state is one of the largest wheat producers in the country, earning its nickname “Wheat Capital of the World.” The Sunflower State is also famous for its connection to the Wizard of Oz, its contributions to jazz music, and its barbecue! In 2024, there are numerous tourist attractions throughout the state that highlight its rich history, heritage, and scenery, many of which can be found in Kansas’ cutest small towns.

Wamego

Wamego, Kansas, USA. Photo credit: Sabrina Janelle Gordon / Shutterstock.com
Wamego, Kansas, USA. Photo credit: Sabrina Janelle Gordon / Shutterstock.com

Wamego is one of the quirkiest towns in Kansas! Wamego prides itself on being a small town with big experiences, with the “Wamego magic” running through its streets and residents. Located in Pottawatomie County on the Kansas River, this town is an ideal vacation spot for avid fans of the Wizard of Oz. Wamego is home to several charmingly creative Toto statues and Oz-themed attractions, including the OZ Museum with its collection of over 2,000 artifacts.

Wamego has several historic gems that add to its small-town charm, notably the restored 1890s Columbian Theater, a venue for live productions and concerts, and the largest collection of decorative arts from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The Wamego Historical Museum and Prairie Village is another place where visitors can learn about local history.

Don’t forget to stop by the wineries of Wamego. Sample award-winning wines at Oz Winery and sample flavors with names inspired by the Wizard of Oz, from the lush “Auntie Em’s Prairie Rose” to the elegant “Emerald City Lights”!

Atchison

View of the Commercial Street Mall in downtown Atchison, Kansas. Image credit: dustin77a / Shutterstock.com
View of the Commercial Street Mall in downtown Atchison, Kansas. Image credit: dustin77a / Shutterstock.com

Atchison is a quintessential Missouri River town with beautiful views of the bend in the river, tree-lined streets, and Victorian architecture. This charming Kansas town is located about 45 minutes northwest of Kansas City Metro and an hour from Topeka.

Atchison pays serious tribute to Amelia Earhart, the world-famous aviator who called this place home. This small Kansas town has several attractions dedicated to Amelia, including the 40,000-square-foot portrait of the American aviator overlooking Warnlock Lake, the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, and the 16,000-square-foot hangar of the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum. Each July, visitors can also join in the festivities at the Amelia Earhart Festival!

The city also boasts 20 sites on the National Register of Historic Places and museums that highlight Atchison’s railroad heritage and Victorian past. Visitors can also enjoy a peaceful outdoor stroll on the Atchison River Walk along the Missouri River or enjoy the surroundings of the International Forest of Friendship (a living monument dedicated to global aerospace history).

Sound Center

Clay Center, Kansas. In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_Center,_Kansas By an unknown professional photographer, paid for by the Clay County Commissioners - The original photo is from a CD provided by the Clay County Commissioners with permission, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41164525
Clay Center, Kansas. In Wikipedia. By an unknown professional photographer, paid for by the Clay County Commissioners – The original photo is from a CD provided with permission by the Clay County Commissioners, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikipedia

Clay Center is located just a few miles northwest of Milford State Park at the intersection of Highway 24 and Kansas Highway 15. Discover this Kansas gem, affectionately known as “The City Beautiful”!

Creative souls looking for inspiration are sure to find it in Clay Center – art and agriculture flow through the veins of this vibrant Kansas community. Clay Center features more than 25 murals created as part of its Mural Movement program. Discover the stunning art that draws traffic from Highway 15, including the massive Bucolic America Mural that stretches over 80 feet (symbolizing Clay County’s rural roots).

The family-oriented community of Clay Center also offers a handful of family-friendly attractions. Visit the downtown Clay County Museum, housed in a 20th-century building and home to a collection of artifacts related to Clay County’s history. In September, visitors can also enjoy the festivities of the annual Piotique Festival. A community tradition since 1936, this annual festival features an array of arts and crafts booths, food vendors and dancing on the lawn in front of the Clay County Courthouse.

Abilene

The house where President Eisenhower lived as a young boy. Image credit: spoonophol / Shutterstock.com
The house where President Eisenhower lived as a young boy. Image credit: spoonophol / Shutterstock.com

Abilene is famous as the hometown of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 5-star general and 34th President of the United States. Discover this city in eastern Kansas on the Smoky Hill River, which is Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “best small towns to visit”!

The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is one of the top attractions in Kansas. This popular Abilene attraction honors the legacy of the former president and is an exciting outing for history buffs. Along with other historic attractions like Old Abilene Town or the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad, visitors can feel like kids again when they board the CW Parker Carousel, the oldest carousel still in operation, owned by the CW Parker Carousel Amusement Company and dating back to 1901.

Abilene is also the proud owner of large and unique sculptures! Admire the Big Spur and marvel at its 28-foot height, once considered the world’s tallest spur (until 2017), or visit the World’s Largest Belt Buckle in Eisenhower Park, which is over 13 feet tall and has a wingspan of over 19 feet.

Lucas

A shot of the bathroom in Lucas, Kansas. Image credit: Robert D Brozek / Shutterstock.com
A shot of the bathroom in Lucas, Kansas. Image credit: Robert D Brozek / Shutterstock.com

Artistic inspiration is not lost in Lucas – this farming community in northern Kansas is also called the “Grassroots Arts Capital of Kansas.” The Kansas Sampler Foundation has named this unique Kansas city one of the 8 Wonders of Art.

Visit Bowl Plaza’s beautifully decorated accessible restrooms, designed by Mri-Pilar and Eric Abraham, made from repurposed glass bottles, travel plates, hubcaps, tableware and other unique materials. Find more unique art at the Grassroots Art Center and the Florence Deeble Rock Garden and Mri-Pilar’s Garden of Isis.

Let your creative inspiration flow while visiting the Garden of Eden, a popular attraction in Lucas since 1907! Built by Civil War veteran SP Dinsmoor, this beautiful attraction is home to over 150 surrounding sculptures.

Lindsborg

Supermoon rises near Coronado Heights Castle.
Supermoon rising near Coronado Heights Castle.

This American city is one of the most unique cities in the state. Located just a few miles south of Salina in McPherson County, Lindsborg is famous for its Swedish roots, earning it the nickname “Little Sweden USA.”

Wild Dala horses roam the streets of Lindsborg and can be found throughout Little Sweden, USA. These tailless horses are a Swedish icon and each one is designed in bright colors and patterns. These icons can be seen in and around Lindsborg, whether along Main Street or in the town’s buildings.

Learn more about Lindsborg’s connection to Sweden by visiting places such as the historic Swedish Pavilion, the workshop at Hemslöjd and the exhibitions at Lindsborg’s Old Mill and the Swedish Homeland Museum.

Visit Coronado Heights, located northwest of Lindsborg. Rising over 300 feet above the Smoky Hill River Valley, this popular tourist attraction was named after Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who reportedly stayed in the area in 1541 after abandoning his search for the Seven Cities of Gold.

Spend the afternoon outdoors, climbing the 4.5-mile Välkommen Trail, which encircles the renovated railroad bridge and passes through Lindsborg. Continue on to new adventures on the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway, a 56-mile route in northern Kansas that passes through Lindsborg and other small Kansas towns.

The prettiest small towns in Kansas are worth visiting this year to experience the Sunflower State’s unique highlights, from the Oz-themed attractions in Wamego to the Dala horses in Lindsborg. The beautiful small towns, each with unique attractions, provide a perfect backdrop for unforgettable travel experiences.