Kansas State Parks

We will be returning back to Ohio this summer, from Colorado. Since we’ve never camped in Kansas before, I’m looking at a few places- Wilson SP, Cedar Bluff SP, Pairie Dog SP, and Meade SP. We will probably just “wing it,” not make any reservations. Any suggestions on that list, pro or con? I’ve got a 5th wheel, just looking for some quiet lakeside camping. Thanks

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We stayed at Cedar Bluff last September. It is a very large park with a developed and undeveloped section. It was very quiet when we were there but it might be a very different story in the summer. Depending on your route, we also stayed in a city park very close to I70 (Ellis Lakeside) - not much to do but it was very convenient for a place to spend the night (we were traveling to/from Colorado from Iowa.

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@Bob_M I’m way behind on my reviews but went back to my notes on Cedar Bluff. Don’t know what kind of family activities you are looking for but I would recommend the Butterfield Loop as there are many activities including an archery range, BMX track, playground, and an interesting game called Neos 360 which is part electronic game and part competitive sport, suitable for all ages.

@bbvanlife vanlife Thanks so much, any info helps. We pretty much just hike around the park if available, maybe play some golf, swim, & vegetate at night by the campfire.

On our way out to Colorado, we’re checking out the Nebraska Sandhills based on reviews here and elsewhere. Should be fun!!

@Bob_M We like to get off the Interstates when we travel if possible.

Two years ago traveling from CO to MO to visit some friends there, we took Hwy 36 from it’s junction in Byers CO, across KS. We stayed at Prairie Dog SP. It was in the fall after Labor Day. Only staying one night on our road trip, the park was so nice we wanted to return. No idea what it’s like in the summer so far as humidity or bugs, but in the fall it was wonderful. There’s a beach to swim from, and it has a shower house with flush toilets, and dump station.

So last year we wanted to go back to Prairie Dog SP, on an excursion from CO to Ohio to visit family, but couldn’t because of Covid. In the end we took I-70 all the way to Topeka KS before heading north to Hwy 36. I don’t remember where in KS that Hwy 36 goes from 2 lane to 4 lane, but north of Topeka, it was a 4 lane Hwy all the way to Indianapolis, IN. Yes, you have to go through some smaller towns, but what an awesome highway. So much less traffic and trucks. And I’m pretty sure we made just as good of travel time as being on the interstate.

Enjoy your travels.

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@Phillip_E thanks. Yes, I have read about US 36 and since you and others suggest it, I’m fairly certain we’ll drive it too. I agree, the interstates get real boring.

My initial plan is heading out to Colorado we’ll hook up with Nebraska Rt. 2 up towards Chadron, worm our way to Black Canyon of the Gunnison, then heading back through Kansas on 36. I was thinking about Dodge City, but now leaning towards the northern Kansas region, not 100% sure yet. We’re lucky as we have the time, so just trying to discover America through back roads is fun. The only tourist trap that is luring me in is the big ball of twine near Cawker City lol, and as luck would have it, there’s Glen Elder SP near there which looks pretty good too.

Thanks for chiming in. Prairie Dog SP does look cool and reviews on here are positive. Happy travels to you as well.

@Bob_M We made the pilgrimage to see the Giant Ball of Twine in Cawker City but were kinda disappointed. The town itself has seen better days and the ball of twine - meh but certainly go see it and make your own decision. I think on the same trip we did spend some time in the small town of Lucas - lots of fun stuff to see there including “Bowl Plaza”. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by all Kansas has to offer but my favorite was Monument Rocks, south of I70 - amazing!

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Little Jerusalem State Park is amazing. We took the guided tour down in the canyon, well worth it. It was not an extra charge, just had to sign up. There is no camping at LJ state park, but we stayed at Historic Lake Scott State Park which is about 10 miles south of there. It was a good place to camp for a few days and check out Little Jerusalem an

d Monument Rock, which is also close by.

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@Matt_K thanks. This looks fantastic, thanks a lot!!

We went to Monument Rocks last year and it was incredible!