Best Campgrounds in Kansas

Where to Camp in the Sunflower State

Kansas is truly the heart of America. Its central location combined with its Great Plains topography, along with the friendly, down-to-earth people who inhabit the state, have made it widely considered to be the embodiment of middle America.

But don’t let that fool you — Kansas isn’t a dull place! There’s plenty to do and see in this state, and it’s perfect for a quick camping getaway. Here are our picks for the best places to camp in Kansas.

1. Pomona State Park – Topeka

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This 490-acre park on the shore of 4,000-acre Pomona Reservoir features scenic beauty as well as an abundance of wildlife. Well-known by northeast Kansas residents for shady campsites and a great family atmosphere, Pomona State Park is in a transition zone from prairie to eastern woodlands and also offers great wildlife viewing. The park is nestled in an area with historical connections to the Santa Fe Trail, as well as easy access to several metropolitan areas. Learn more.

2. Cimarron National Grassland – Cheney

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Welcome to the Cimarron National Grassland, one of twenty National Grasslands administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Located within Morton and Stevens Counties in southwestern Kansas, the Cimarron National Grassland contains 108,175 acres. Learn more.

3. Wilson State Park – Sylvan Grove

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Located in the heart of the Smoky Hills, Wilson State Park is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the state. Wilson Reservoir features a rugged shoreline punctuated by scenic cliffs and rocky outcrops. The park and surrounding wildlife area offer the opportunity to view and photograph deer, pheasant, waterfowl, songbirds, and furbearers. Learn more.

4. El Dorado State Park – El Dorado

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One of the top state parks in America based on fishing, boating and family fun, El Dorado State Park is conveniently located at the edge of the Flint Hills near three state highways and an interstate (the Kansas Turnpike). With about 2,000 acres of park and 4,000 acres of wildlife area surrounding 8,000 acres of water with 98 miles of shoreline, there are plenty of opportunities to explore this premier lake destination. Learn more.

5. Tuttle Creek – Manhattan

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Located near Manhattan in the Flint Hills of Northeast Kansas, Tuttle Creek State Park offers a broad variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. Tuttle Creek Reservoir is the state’s second largest impoundment, offering 12,500 acres of water and 100 miles of rugged, wooded shoreline. The park consists of 1,250 acres and is made up of five individual areas including River Pond, Rocky Ford, Cedar Ridge, Fancy Creek and Randolph. Learn more.

6. Ozark National Scenic Riverways

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Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a river system. The Current and Jacks Fork Rivers are two of the finest floating rivers you’ll find anywhere. Spring-fed, cold and clear they are a delight to canoe, swim, boat or fish. Besides these two famous rivers, the park is home to hundreds of freshwater springs, caves, trails and historic sites such as Alley Mill. Read more.

7. Hillsdale Lake – Paola

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Conveniently located south of the Kansas City Metro Area, one of Kansas’ newest reservoirs awaits visitors to its more than 12,000 acres of park and wildlife area. Completed in 1982, more than 70 percent of the standing timber was left in the reservoir basin to provide fish habitat. Walleye, catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill are abundant. Approximately 4,500 acres of water and 51 miles of shoreline are open to fishing. Learn more.

8. Clinton Lake – Lawrence

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Located only four miles west of Lawrence, and the University of Kansas, Clinton State Park meets the needs of traditional recreationalists while also providing a venue for a variety of non-traditional uses. Some special events draw visitors from across the country. One of the largest marinas in the state, and abundant scenic beauty, offer satisfaction on the lake. Learn more.

9. Cedar Bluffs Reservoir – WaKeeney

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Cedar Bluff State Park is divided into two, unique areas along the shorelines of Cedar Bluff Reservoir. The Bluffton Area, on the north shore, provides nearly 350 acres for visitors. It is the most developed area and provides a variety of facilities to meet the outdoor enthusiasts needs. They include: two boatramp facilities, 96 utility campsites, two community shelters, a reservable group utility campground, two large showerhouses and dumpstations; five modern rental cabins and numerous undesignated primitive campsites and picnic areas. Learn more.

10. Lake Scott State Park – Scott County

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Hidden within the western Kansas prairie, Lake Scott State Park is a startling oasis of natural springs, deep wooded canyons, and craggy bluffs. A 100 acre spring fed lake created by a dam constructed in 1930 is nestled among the picturesque hills. Groves of hackberry, ash, elm, willow, walnut, and cedar trees compliment the bank and several majestic cottonwoods as old as the lake also accent the area. Learn more.

Do you have a favorite camping spot in Kansas that wasn’t included on this list? Let us know in the comments!

And be sure to check out the rest of our Best Campgrounds in the US series.

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