When the weather is warm, experiencing the beauty and excitement Kansas has to offer is a must. This summer, hit the trails, splash in the water, listen to live music, shop at farmers markets and dine outdoors in Kansas. Here are our nine favorite summer activities to do in the Sunflower State.
The Prairie Spirit Trail is a 52-mile-long trail that winds through small towns, scenic prairies, wildflowers, wildlife, streams, rivers, family farms, and great outdoor adventures. It’s the same path the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Fort Gibson Railroads used and is now open to hikers and bikers alike. This trail begins at Ottawa and ends at Iola, and is an enjoyable summer trail which can be broken into smaller hikes or rides.
One of the best water parks for families, McPherson is over half a million gallons of exciting water entertainment. This water park offers a lazy river, diving areas, 50-meter swimming pool, water slides and gallons of fun!
This summer enjoy sitting on a park bench or stretching out on a blanket during Iola’s summertime concert series. A collective 48-plus member-band plays every Thursday evening during the months of June and July at the restored 1910 Iola Municipal Bandstand in Iola. Enjoyed by hundreds of people this concert series is the longest reoccurring performing city band in Kansas.
Treat yourselves this summer to one of the many outdoor performances by the Wichita Shakespeare Company of Wichita. This theater group performs Shakespeare in the Park during June at parks in the Wichita area. Theater goers attending park performances are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and simply enjoy.
Even if you live in the middle of the United States you can learn to sail. The Kansas City sailing crew in Lawrence will teach you, outfit you and point you to the many lakes where Kansans learn to navigate and sail. The Kansas City Sailing group offers classes on small and large sailboats by American Sailing Association certified instructors.
Nothing beats fresh vegetables and fruits, and throughout the summer Kansas farmers markets are located throughout the state. But a favorite farmers market is the Depot Market in Courtland. This family-owned farmers market store grows a variety of farm fresh vegetables, and sells them both wholesale and for retail sales at their farmer’s market location inside Courtland’s 100-year-old Santa Fe Depot. This is one farmers market you won’t want to miss this year.
Western Kansas was once filled with cowboys and outlaws. Ranch and farm animals and the beginning of what is now called Wright Park Zoo in Dodge City. Wright Park has a playground area and plenty of great spots for picnicking. But this park is home to over 120 animals that represent around 30 different species from all over the world. City maintained and accredited by the Zoological Association of America, this zoo is open to the public.
Warmer weather allows us to come out from inside our homes and business to enjoy summer and eating alfresco (dining outside). The Grille at Park Place restaurant in Kansas City is a great place to relax, wind down and enjoy a great menu in a great outdoor setting, the park.
The Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in Overland Park is a fascinating place to explore, admire, learn and get lost in the many exhibits and summer events. A few summer activities are mad science, the June bug ball, or build a gnome home. There is a world of excitement within the boundaries of the Arboretum’s 300 acres and 800 plant species, and the 45 acres of botanic gardens.