Named after the river which runs through the state, which in turn was named after the tribe of Native Americans who lived in the area, Kansas is one of the original Great Plains states, and today is known as “Tornado Alley” due to the large number of tornadoes and hail storms that zip through the state during the summer months. The eastern parts of the state are similar to western Missouri, with rolling hills, forests, and rivers. As you go further west you begin to get into the Great Plains section of the state, and from the Flint Hills until the foothills of the Rocky Mountains the plains extend in one vast, open landscape which stretches on for hundreds of miles.
Most people assume that Kansas is just one great big flat landscape with nothing to see or do. And while that might the true for the western portions of the state where everything is primarily taken up by agricultural-based activities, the Flint Hills running down the center of Kansas provides some geographical wonders, and as you get further east, especially in the southeast corner of the state, you get into the Ozark Mountains regions, packed with gentle hills, thick forests, and plenty of lakes and rivers. The state has several national parks within its boundaries as well.
Kansas City is probably the most prominent city within the state, known for its BBQ sports teams like the Kansas City Chiefs or the Kansas City Royals. Wichita is known as the Air Capital of the World, and home to Wichita State University, but perhaps the most interesting town is Lawrence, which is home to the University of Kansas, and has one of the most vibrant cultural and music scenes between Chicago and Denver, which is at odds with the rest of Kansas’ quiet farming communities. All in all, while it might be a wide open space, there are plenty of little things to see and do while in Kansas, as long as you are willing to get off the beaten path.
If you want to be smack dab in the middle of the United States, venturing to Wichita will get you pretty close.
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