Kansas Small Towns
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Discover 25 of the Best Small Towns in Kansas

The best small towns in Kansas are each their own treasure waiting to be discovered in the heart of the American Midwest. From the rolling Flint Hills and historic Old West trails to architectural gems of yesteryear and must-see destinations on Route 66, every small town in Kansas offers a refreshing escape.

In these small towns, time seems to stand still, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the authentic spirit of the Heartland as they enjoy a unique blend of history, culture, and hospitality.

Wamego | photo via truetoearth


The welcoming atmosphere of this Northeast Kansas town makes residents and visitors feel like they’ve stepped into a classic American movie. That’s even more true when visiting the Oz Museum, a place dedicated to all things related to The Wizard of Oz. It features memorabilia, including original props, costumes, and collectibles from the iconic film.

After strolling through Wamego’s vibrant downtown, visitors can slip into the Wamego Historical Society and Museum to learn about the town’s pioneer past and its role in shaping Kansas history. The town’s annual April Tulip Festival is another can’t-miss event, with thousands of blooming tulips, celebrating the arrival of spring in style.


Swedish heritage meets small-town charm in a town known as “Little Sweden USA,” north of Wichita. Wander through downtown and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a quaint European village with colorful Dala horses, Swedish symbols, and Swedish delicacies like lingonberry jam or Swedish meatballs in Lindsborg’s cozy cafes.

Visitors who love culture can enjoy the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery, home to a renowned collection of Swedish-American art. Swensson Park is home to the iconic Svensk Hyllningsfest monument and the Valkommen Trail winds its way through picturesque prairies and woodlands.


The spirit of the Wild West mingles with small-town hospitality in Abilene and history seems to come alive around every corner.

The centerpiece of the city is the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home, where visitors can explore the life and legacy of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Elsewhere, visitors can stroll down Old Town Abilene, past beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings housing charming shops.

Train enthusiasts won’t want to miss a ride on the historic Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad through the Kansas prairie aboard vintage locomotives. History can even be found at the Greyhound Hall of Fame, which pays homage to an iconic American dog breed.

Cottonwood Falls

Nestled in the heart of the Flint Hills, Cottonwood Falls offers a peaceful retreat from the stress of everyday life.

Travelers with a love of history can visit the iconic Chase County Courthouse, a stunning limestone building that dominates the town’s skyline. The courthouse square itself features charming shops, art galleries, and cafes in beautifully restored buildings.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Cottonwood Falls is a quaint paradise. Trekkers can lace their hiking boots and hit the trail at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, which preserves vast expanses of native grasses and wildflowers.


Art and eccentricity collide in the most delightful way possible in this quirky central Kansas town. Lucas proudly wears its title as the “Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas,” and is a feast for the eyes and a playground for the imagination.

Vibrant displays of folk art, sculptures, and whimsical installations can be found at Dinsmoor’s Garden of Eden. History buffs can also explore the town’s historic landmarks, like the beautifully restored Post Rock Courthouse and the iconic World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things Museum.

Lucas also offers plenty of opportunities to get back to nature, with the Smoky Hills and tranquil shores of Wilson Lake nearby.

Council Grove	Kansas
Council Grove | photo via sjacobs18

Council Grove

The spirit of the Santa Fe Trail still whispers through the cottonwood trees of Council Grove, a town steeped in frontier lore and rich with stories of pioneers, traders, and Native American tribes.

Along Main Street, you’ll find yourself transported back in time, surrounded by beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings that once served as trading posts, stagecoach stops, and meeting places for travelers along the Santa Fe Trail.

For a deeper dive into the town’s history, visit the Kaw Mission State Historic Site, where you can learn about the Kaw Nation and its role in shaping the region’s cultural landscape.

Medicine Lodge

Known for its captivating landscapes and ties to Native American culture, Medicine Lodge offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and cultural exploration.

The Gypsum Hills — a stunning geological formation with vibrant red rock formations and rolling prairies — is the city’s most iconic landmark. Visitors can also attend the annual Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Treaty Pageant, which commemorates the signing of the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867.

Visitors can also take time to appreciate the Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum, which houses artifacts and exhibits detailing the region’s pioneer past and Native American heritage.

Baldwin City

Baldwin City is home to the oldest university in Kansas and is steeped in history. One of its claims to fame is its connection to the Santa Fe Trail and history enthusiasts can explore this legacy at the Santa Fe Trail Park and Interpretive Center, where exhibits and artifacts tell the story of the trail’s impact.

Baxter Springs

Situated on iconic Route 66, Baxter Springs offers visitors a glimpse into the heart and soul of small-town America. No visit here is complete without a stop at the Rainbow Bridge, a historic Route 66 landmark that spans the Spring River.

Baxter Springs’ historic downtown district features quaint shops, cozy cafes, and local boutiques. Believe it or not, Baxter Springs also played a role in the American Civil War, and history enthusiasts can learn about the infamous Battle of Baxter Springs and visit the Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum to learn about this pivotal moment in history.


Named after the Native American chief, Wabaunsee, this charming Flint Hills community blends beautiful scenery and rich history. Historic buildings like the Wabaunsee County Courthouse and the Alma Creamery offer glimpses into the town’s past and the local history museum further traces Wabaunsee’s roots.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to love too. The Flint Hills offer miles of scenic hiking and biking trails; the Kansas River provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and wildlife viewing, while the Konza Prairie Biological Station offers guided tours and educational programs.

Belleville | photo via turbo__stars


Like many of the smallest towns in Kansas, Belleville has ties to the Old West but also boasts a vibrant downtown that welcomes visitors of all kinds. The historic downtown district features beautifully preserved buildings housing house local shops, cafes, and galleries, allowing visitors to find treasure and enjoy a good meal.

Belleville was once part of the Pony Express route and the Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings showcases the work of artist Paul Boyer, whose intricate woodcarvings depict scenes from the town’s pioneer past.


Named “Wickedest Cattletown in Kansas” during the days of the Old West, Ellsworth in central Kansas still retains some of its frontier spirit.

Fans of history can delve into the town’s colorful past at the Ellsworth County Historical Society Museum, stroll through the historic downtown district, or visit the Old Ellsworth Jail and Museum, a former 19th-century jail that now serves as a museum.

Nearby Kanopolis State Park provides hiking trails, fishing spots, and stunning views of the Smoky Hills, while Kanopolis Lake offers opportunities for boating, swimming, and camping.


Named after the legendary Native American leader, Hiawatha is brimming with history and outdoor serenity. One of Hiawatha’s most notable landmarks is the Brown County Courthouse, which dates back to 1925 and serves as a symbol of the town’s enduring legacy.

Hiawatha offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the area’s natural beauty too. Riverside Park provides scenic walking trails, picnicking spots, and a tranquil setting along the banks of the Walnut Creek, while Perry Lake offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and camping.


Located In the heart of Kansas’ Smoky Hills region, Stockton offers visitors a tranquil escape. Nowhere is it more evident than Cedar Bluff State Park, a sprawling outdoor playground encompassing over 8,000 acres of rugged terrain, limestone bluffs, and sparkling water.

In town, visitors can learn about Stockton’s connection to the Old West at the Rooks County Historical Society Museum and stop by the Stockton Community Building and the “Prairie Horizons” mural, which depicts scenes from the town’s history and natural surroundings.


Known as the “Black Squirrel City,” Marysville is home to a beloved squirrel population and these furry critters are considered town mascots as they frolic in city green spaces.

On the banks of the Big Blue River, history buffs can appreciate Marysville’s ties to the Oregon Trail. This includes the Pony Express Barn Museum, which offers exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the daring riders who carried mail across the frontier.

Atchison | photo via bryan_in_kansas_city


Known for its rich history, Victorian architecture, and small-town charm, Atchison is best known as the birthplace of famed aviator Amelia Earhart. Lady Lindy’s legacy is on full display at the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, where visitors can explore exhibits and her childhood home.

History buffs will appreciate Atchison’s well-preserved downtown district, which boasts over 20 blocks of Victorian-era architecture. Be sure to stroll along Commercial Street and admire the historic buildings housing local shops, galleries, and eateries.

Fort Scott

Nestled in the verdant hills of southeastern Kansas, Fort Scott is recognized as a well-preserved historic city in the Sunflower State.

The town’s namesake Fort Scott National Historic Site preserves a military fort dating back to the 1840s. History comes alive as visitors tour the fort, gaining insight into the role it played in shaping the American West.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate Gunn Park’s hiking trails, fishing ponds, and scenic picnic spots, while Bourbon State Fishing Lake offers opportunities for boating, camping, and wildlife viewing.

St. John

As a thriving farm town in central Kansas, it’s hard for visitors to miss St. John’s vast fields of wheat, corn, and soybeans stretching across the countryside. Visitors can learn about the town’s farming heritage at the Stafford County Flour Mills, where locally grown wheat is milled into high-quality flour.

St. John also has ties to the Santa Fe Trail, which is showcased at the Stafford County Historical Museum. St. John also offers space to explore and visitors can enjoy outdoor recreation at Stafford County State Lake and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.


Situated in the heart of the High Plains, Norton is an outdoor haven. Visitors can start at Prairie Dog State Park, which offers opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking amidst scenic natural beauty.

Norton’s history as an Old West railroad town in the cattle trade is showcased at the Norton County Museum. For those interested in art and culture, Norton offers a thriving arts scene with galleries, theaters, and live music venues showcasing the work of local artists and performers.

Council Grove

As a vital stop on the Santa Fe Trail, Council Grove is brimming with culture and tales of the Old West.

The Last Chance Store, is a testament to its significance as a trading post along the Santa Fe Trail. Visitors can step back in time and imagine frontier life while exploring this historic landmark.

History enthusiasts can explore more of the town’s history at the Kaw Mission State Historic Site, which sheds light on the town’s Native American heritage, and the Santa Fe Trail National Historic Landmark, where remnants of the trail’s ruts can still be seen.


Known for its vibrant culture and rich history, Hays offers a diverse array of attractions and experiences.

Hays’ history as a part of the Wild West is preserved at the Fort Hays State Historic Site, which preserves the remains of Fort Hays, a frontier military post that played a significant role in the settlement of the region.

Today, Hays is a bustling hub with a lively arts scene, with galleries, theaters, and performance venues showcasing the work of local and regional artists.

Galena | photo via esappi1


On historic Route 66, Galena offers a unique dose of nostalgia. One of Galena’s most iconic attractions is the Cars on the Route, a vintage gas station-turned-diner that inspired the movie Cars. Visitors can snap photos with the iconic Tow Mater truck and enjoy classic American fare while soaking in the retro atmosphere.

Known for its historic Route 66 landmarks, Galena’s history and the impact of the iconic road are displayed at the Galena Mining and Historical Museum.


The “Czech Capital of Kansas,” celebrates its Czech heritage in every aspect of community life, including its architecture, festivals, and cuisine.

Visitors can explore the Wilson Czech Museum to learn about the town’s Czech roots and browse exhibits showcasing traditional costumes, artifacts, and photographs. They can also visit the World’s Largest Czech Egg, which towers 20 feet in the air. And no visit to Wilson is complete without sampling Czech delicacies, including kolaches, kielbasa, and homemade sauerkraut.


Nestled in Northwest Kansas, Goodland blends small-town charm with cultural excitement.

Nowhere is that more evident than the city’s most famous attraction, a towering reproduction of Vincent van Gogh’s famous “Sunflowers” painting. Standing at 24 feet tall, this larger-than-life masterpiece — also known as the World’s Largest Easel — is a must-see for art enthusiasts and selfie aficionados alike.

History buffs will appreciate Goodland’s ties to the Old West. The nearby High Plains Museum offers exhibits showcasing the region’s natural history, as well as artifacts detailing the lives of early settlers and Native American tribes.


Known as the “Gateway to Western Kansas,” Oakley offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the rich history of the Old West.

One of Oakley’s most iconic landmarks is the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, dedicated to preserving the legacy of the legendary frontiersman Buffalo Bill Cody. Visitors can also explore Oakley’s historic downtown and learn about its role as a stop along the Butterfield Overland Despatch route and the Kansas Pacific Railroad.

Fort Scott-Kansas
Fort Scott | photo via that40skid

Discover the Wonders of Small Towns in Kansas

Whether you’re an avid outdoor enthusiast, a keen admirer of Old West history, or you just love discovering the wonders of one-of-a-kind places, the best small towns in Kansas present something that all residents and visitors can enjoy.

From its role in shaping the American frontier and its importance as a railway thoroughfare to its scenic natural prairie land beauty, the Sunflower State serves up heaping helpings of Americana to all who visit.