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Camping in Kansas

Rolling wheat fields may dominate the landscape these days, but camping in the same wild Kansas that the pioneers would recognize is still possible.

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Kansas may be a farming state, but where else can you find a piece of the Great Plains that hearkens back to the Pioneer era? Beyond the wheat fields, you find cool reservoirs, pocket forests, and preserved prairies—many just a short drive from Kansas City.

Whether you're itching for hiking, horseback riding, or kayaking, Kansas' 28 state parks are a great starting point for any trip. Most parks offer cabins as well as tent and RV camping spots, but private RV parks with full hookups are always available nearby. Luckily, this slow-paced heartland state is wildly underrated, meaning you never have to worry about crowds.

Eastern Kansas charms travelers with its rolling terrain, sprawling reservoirs, and urban hubs. Clinton Lake, an hour's drive from Kansas City, is a fishing and boating hot spot with one of the state's largest marinas.

The Flint Hills, a rolling prairie ridge stretching from northeast to southeast Kansas, are a sight to behold. In this region, you find Tuttle Creek, a park perched on the state's second largest reservoir where kayaking is always in style. El Dorado State Park is another favorite camping spot in the Flint Hills, featuring 98 miles of shoreline on El Dorado Lake.

Western Kansas is mostly farmland, so camping here is harder to find. One hidden gem worth visiting in Lake Scott State Park. Settlers' cabins and a Native American battleground stand amid rocky bluffs, lush natural springs, and lakeside campgrounds. In the southwestern corner lies Cimarron National Grassland, hosting more than 100,000 acres of prairies and sunflower fields.

Like other Midwestern states, Kansas is known for its extreme temperatures. Most travelers avoid Kansas during the harsh winter months, but June through early September has camping weather. Just keep in mind summer is also the tornado season—bring a radio, and camp responsibly.

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