Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

One Tank Trip for Kansas Camping

Map of KansasIt’s refreshing to see that despite this fast-paced, high-tech world that often consumes us, there are still places that remain unspoiled by the hands of the 21st century. Places where golden oceans of wheat sway with the wind, where broad prairies stretch in all directions, and where the proud buffalo still roam and graze, safe and protected. The beauty of it is that all this dazzling wonder is only part of the joy you can expect when you make Kansas camping your choice for a road trip getaway.

There’s no better place to start off this one tank trip than the city of El Dorado, which was founded in the late 1800s and is positioned at the foot of the stately Flint Hills. You’ll find an abundance of sites to pull over and set up camp for a while, particularly in the El Dorado lake area. More than 8,000 acres surrounding the lake are devoted to outdoor enjoyment, with boat ramps and several trails that are perfect for an afternoon hike or a horseback ride. Take a canoe ride down nearby Fall River, or just sit on the riverbank with your line in the water and see how the fish are biting.

When it’s time for a taste of city life, you’ll find a host of museums and galleries for your exploration. One particular highlight is the Kansas Oil Museum, which displays the area’s history as an “oil town” and features exhibits and photos revealing a look into the days of the pioneers and settlers who helped shape this land into what it is today.

A 14-mile southbound drive on the I-35 takes you from El Dorado to the town of Andover, which makes a fine staging area to visit some of the local attractions including Santa Fe Lake, with its abundance of wildflowers, hardwood and cottonwood trees, and waterfalls.

A short 11-mile drive on the westbound Highway 400 brings you into the big city of Wichita. Even though Wichita is firmly ensconced in the present, it maintains proud ties to its historic past and the days of the Old West. One of the most fascinating examples of this is the Old Cowtown museum, which spans nearly 20 acres and is a meticulous recreation of the area as it was in the late 1800s. Historic buildings have been equipped with authentic furnishings, tools and equipment of the day, and reenactors stroll the streets and perform live demonstrations, giving you the feel of having stepped back in time to a simpler, yet more adventurous age. You’ll find the local botanical gardens to be a feast for all five senses, and the famous red brick district has been turned into the Old Town Underground, a shopping district that features a wide array of unique and diverse products, some of which lean toward the unusual. The local zoo boasts an animal population of more than 2,000 animals from over 500 species; the gorilla preserve, especially, is very popular destination for tourists and locals alike who watch from a 50-foot suspension bridge as these fascinating creatures go about their day.

Continuing west on Highway 400 for another 25 miles, exit onto the KS-251-S and take it for 3 miles into your next stop, the town of Cheney. Like most of the stops in this great state, you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer majesty of the great outdoors, and be tempted to spend a few days here getting back to nature. Cheney Lake should be a focal point for your visit, as it’s a major draw for fisherman and boaters who return to her shores year after year. See for yourself what all the fuss on Kansas camping is about.

Return to Highway 400 and keep heading west for another 18 miles, and you’ll come to the final stop on this road trip, Kingman. There’s even more excellent fishing to be found here at Kingman Lake, but before you set up shop by the water, take a stroll through town and see some of the historic sites like the Kingman County Courthouse. This impressive building was built at the turn of the century and features some remarkable examples of construction and architecture. The courthouse was clearly built to be imposing, as everything about it is absolutely gigantic. Massive columns, unusually broad staircases, and stair railings carved from a single 20-foot long piece of limestone are a few of the distinctive ornaments you’ll find here.

As you return home, you’ll see that while Kansas has some terrific one tank trip spots to pull over and stay a while, the journey through the state is filled with natural majesty all its own. So set the cruise control, and let nature unfold before you.

Woodall's Recommended Kansas RV Campgrounds