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  • Writer's picturethebackpackingblotskes

Kids in Kansas

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

This post is sponsored by Kansas State Tourism

Sweet sunflower kids

Traveling with our three boys has provided us some of our most cherished memories. While it isn't easy, it is ALWAYS rewarding. The summer of 2022 brought us an opportunity to explore, adventure and ultimately, create more life-long memories. As we loaded up our young family with our camper trailer in tow, we were bursting with excitement as we headed out to an unfamiliar land, otherwise known as... Kansas!

Here are our top 3 kid-friendly outdoor activities in the sunflower state:

1. Waterfall Chasing

Geary Lake Falls

Visiting in August, we didn't quite hit the jackpot when it came to gushing waterfalls, however, we were still able to enjoy the beauty and serenity of these extremely accessible trickling cascades.

The boys had a blast climbing rocks, splashing in the water and "showering" near the rock wall. The great thing about the two waterfalls we explored was the fact that they were easily able to hike to them on their own. This is a major win for mom and dad, when we do not have to haul a 30lb child on our backs!

Chase Lake Falls near Cottonwood, KS

A short 7-minute drive west of Cottonwood, Chase Lake Falls is found by walking across the dam on the north side of Chase State Fishing Lake. Once across the dam, follow the trail to the left that will eventually lead you to a moderate descent down to the falls.

Slideshow of Chase Lake and the Chase Lake Falls (scroll right)

Geary Lake Falls near Junction City, KS

From Junction City, head south on Highway 77 for 14 miles. You'll then make a right-hand turn into Geary State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area. The trail to the falls is found at the northeast end of the lake. Once again, you will make your way across the dam. Continue on the trail to the right as it will lead you right to the base of the waterfall.

Slideshow of Geary Lake Falls (scroll right)

2. Lake Hopping

All smiles at Webster State Park

What kid doesn't like to play at the lake on a hot summer's day?! Our boys were in recreation heaven as they were able to swim, kayak, skip rocks and ride their bikes as we spent time at two incredibly beautiful waterholes.

Webster State Park near Stockton, KS

The Webster Reservoir is 8 miles west of Stockton, a quick 10-minute drive. Here you can rent a kayak for a day, half-day or even by the hour. It was the perfect activity for our boys as they went back and forth between swimming and kayaking. The beach was surprisingly similar to what you would find near the ocean, with its soft, white sand. It was the ideal spot to spend the day, underneath the hot summer sun.

Slideshow of Webster Reservoir (scroll right)

Good eats in the area: Thirsty's Brew Pub & Grill in Hays, KS

Cowley State Fishing Lake near Arkansas City, KS

Another lake in a gorgeous setting, Cowley State Fishing Lake is located northeast of Arkansas City, just over 15 miles away. Hoping to see the Cowley waterfall, we were bummed to find that it was completely dry, due to the time of year. Instead, we rode bikes around the area, as we literally had the entire place to ourselves! We also ventured down to the shoreline to skip rocks and take in the beautiful views that surround this man-made pool, built back in 1953 (fun fact for the day!)

Slideshow of Cowley State Fishing Lake (scroll right)

3. Trail Trekking

Tiny explorers at Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park

One thing we greatly appreciated about the outdoor adventure in Kansas is the fact that our small children, ages 2, 4 & 6, were able to get to where we were going all on their own! Coming from Montana, that is not always the case and we often have to carry one or two of the kids in our arms or on our backs. What a relief to find trails that were doable for their little legs!

Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park near Oakley, KS

Wow! What more can I say?! A visual delight is the best way to describe this hidden gem in the middle of nowhere Kansas. It was such a pleasant surprise, as we visited the area right at sunset, adding to it's splendor. With two different hiking trails to choose from, we let the boys lead the way in deciding which direction to go. It was truly a magical ending to a fun-filled day.

Slideshow of LJBSP (scroll right)

Good eats in the area: Los Jarochos in Colby, KS

Tunnel of Trees in Witchita, KS

Last but certainly not least, the Great Plains Nature Center's Tunnel of Trees was a HUGE hit with the imaginative minds of our three curious boys. We could have spent hours here, exploring the many trails through the mysterious Osage orange trees. If it hadn't of been for their growling tummies come lunch time, we would've had a very difficult time pulling them away from this fairytale setting.

Slideshow of the Tunnel of Trees (scroll right)

That's a Wrap!

And there you have it... our highly recommended suggestions for outdoor adventure and exploration with kids in Kansas! Head on over to Kansas State Tourism's website for more ideas on family fun and things to do with kids.

We cannot thank Kansas State Tourism enough for sponsoring our trip! We were blown away by all that we found during our short time in the sunflower state. Our boys are still raving about our trip and have been begging to return. With so much more to see and do, our return will certainly be sooner than later! #tothestars

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