Kansas, otherwise known as the Sunflower State, is one of those places that you are truly never going to comprehend its beauty until you experience it for yourself. Kansas is known for its gentle hills, green grass, blue skies, and nature. There is also a lot of history embedded throughout the country side and cities here from jazz, the mafia, and war. Kansas is the perfect destination to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life and just remember to take things slow again. We have put together a list of things to do when visiting the state of Kansas!
Take it Easy at Circle S Ranch
Kansas is known for their agriculture and farming and the best way to meet a local and see their way of life is staying at one of their ranches. We stayed at Circle S Ranch who knew just how to make us feel at home. Circle S Ranch is now owned by a mother, Mary, and her daughter and the ranch has been in their family since 1860! We got the opportunity to ride horseback around the ranch and also visit the longhorns!
Shop & Eat on Mass Street
On Mass Street in Lawrence, you’ll find a ton of cool antique shops, tasty restaurants, bars, and fun boutiques to shop at. We took a lunch break at Merchants which sources all of its produce from local farmers and ties in the community via their food menu.
The city of Lawrence is also one of the most diverse cities in Kansas and our favorite city from our entire trip. If you pop in the Lawrence Visitors Center located on 812 Mass Street, you can find out more about upcoming events during your visit. Mass Street is known to host pride, music festivals, and other featured events all throughout the year.
Intimate Dinner at Saltwell Farm Kitchen
The best part about Kansas is the accessibility to get fresh, organic and local foods to eat. Saltwell Farm Kitchen is queer owned and a magical place to dine at and visit when you’re near Lawrence. Their farm to table dining experience was fantastic and the cocktails were unmatched. We personally loved that they offered a wine tasting and a zero-proof tasting so both of us could feel included! On the night we went, they amazing staff was donating proceeds to fund scholarships for queer farmers
Experience Nightlife in Topeka
Explore the capital of Kansas that has an art district and great nightlife. NOTO, or North Topeka, is a vibrant part of town where you can find cute bars, restaurants, and fine art experiences.
There are also many LGBTQ+ owned and welcoming businesses and things to check out in this part of town such as Pinkadilly, the Rainbow Bridge, and Brookstone Books. I would also grab a drink and stick around because Studio 62 is a bar on this strip that hosts fun drag shows and themed parties!
The Equality House was a very humbling experience as you are immediately reminded of the hardships and homophobia our community still faces today. The Equality House is painted the Pride colors, has "Black Lives Matter" painted on the side, and the house next door is painted in trans representation colors. These houses are a symbol of love, kindness, and peace. One of the remarkable things about these houses, is they are purposefully located directly across the street from Westboro Baptist Church. This church is known to be one of the most homophobic and extremist churchs in America - who are known for promoting the death penalty for the LGBTQ+ community.
Get Adventurous in Humboldt
Humboldt is a small town in Kansas and the perfect spot to get in the outdoors. Check out Basecamp that has everything outdoorsy if you are the adventurous kind! You can hop on a paddle board, rent a kayak, or ride the bike around to enjoy a beautiful side of nature!
The small town of Humboldt was also listed as one of New York Times' top travel destinations in 2022!
Watch the Sunrise from Casa Somerset
On our road trip through Kansas, we stayed at Casa Somerset located near Paola, Kansas. Staying at these type of bed and breakfast, you are directly supporting the local community of Kansas but this also a great opportunity to mingle with locals and learn about the deep rooted American history that came to be Kansas. Mike and Christine were incredible hosts that created a home cooked meal and treated us like family on their beautiful estate.