Many Kansas towns have charm. However, a few stand out as delightful places to visit and explore.
Allow us to share 10 towns that we feel are must-sees.
A larger town with a busy but inviting feel, named for Union General James McPherson of the Civil War. Enjoy the attractive architecture, particularly the stunning, castle-like county courthouse. Keep your eyes open for murals.
For a quieter neighborhood, try this one. Impressive architecture, such as the courthouse and the middle school, is present here. The highlight, however, is the Davis Walking Trail on the east side of town. The trailhead is across the highway from the Celebration Centre.
Amish country has a unique charm. When you’ve enjoyed the rural scenery a bit, stop at Carriage Crossing for a cinnamon roll or piece of pie. Or shop for food and gifts at Yoder Meats and Kansas Station near Kansas Highway 96.
Now for another truly small town! The historic Santa Fe Railroad depot on 3rd and Boone is an attractive building, well worth visiting and photographing. The most memorable part of Madison, though? Just spend a little bit of time driving through town, preferably from south to north. The hills are rather impressive.
6. Cottonwood Falls
If you like limestone, this is the town for you. Start at the historic and beautiful bridge over the Cottonwood River. Then follow Broadway right up to the spectacular Chase County Courthouse. This 1873 structure is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture.
Atchison is an incredibly interesting town—we’re just scratching the surface in our recommendations. If you enjoy history, start your trip at the visitor center and county historical museum on 200 S. 10th. If you like architecture, you could probably spend a whole day perusing the streets. If you want to get out of the car and walk around, head southwest of town to enjoy the scenery of the International Forest of Friendship. And, whatever your plans, drive over the Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge on U.S. 59. The 1938 bridge is unfortunately no longer with us, as it was too narrow for modern traffic demands. Still, the new bridge provides a spectacular view of the Missouri River well worth seeing.
This town has quite a bit to offer! Brownstone Hall and the Brown Grand Theatre are both worth seeing, as is the elaborate Nazareth Motherhouse. Outside of town is Camp Concordia, where German prisoners of war were kept during World War II. Joler Park at Peck and Crestview offers a chance to get out and walk on a shredded rubber path. On the quirky side, be sure to stop at the courthouse and contemplate the sight of a granite ball weighing just under a ton rotating slowly in a fountain.
Step back in time with the bright, well-kept downtown of Peabody. The historic buildings enhance the small-town charm. Looking for a specific recommendation? Just drive through town on Walnut Street and enjoy the ride.
2. Scott City
Scott City has an open, spacious feel. Check out the stately county courthouse, then drive around to admire the town. Don’t miss the sculpture titled Cattleman’s Harvest outside Security State Bank.
1. Council Grove
History, architecture, food, and scenic walkways—this town has it all! There is too much to pack into this brief paragraph, so keep your eyes open as you drive. Many of the historic landmarks of this Santa Fe Trail town are well marked. Must-sees include the beautiful downtown, the Kaw Mission, the Madonna of the Trail, and the gorgeous walkway along the Neosho River. When you’re done exploring, stop at the Trail Days Cafe and Museum for a fascinating combination of good food and over 150 years of local history. Little wonder that Council Grove is listed as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas History.
Need help finding the murals in McPherson? Find addresses and summaries here.
Madison Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Depot
A substantial amount of information from the National Register of Historic Places registration form.
Welcome to Yoder, Kansas
Good place to start planning your trip.
Council Grove & Morris County
This brochure will guide you to 25 historic sites in and around Council Grove.
Find out what you’ll see when you visit this stop in Council Grove.
Trail Days Cafe and Museum
Learn more about the amazing and varied history of this landmark in Council Grove.