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Kansas – Unusual Attractions & Day Trips

Kansas Off the Beaten Path

Kansas has a rich history for visitors to explore, including these many unusual and off-the-beaten-path attractions.

Historic Landmarks

Vieux (Vermillion) Crossing – Several westward-bound trails used by settlers once ran through northeastern Kansas. The historic toll bridge and homestead built by the Vieux family is gone, but the family cemetery remains. You can also find remnants of an ancient elm tree.

Route 66 – The legendary route passed through Kansas for only 13 miles. However, Route 66 fanciers tend to agree this short stretch is one of the best-preserved on the entire highway.

Monument Rocks and Castle Rock  These ancient chalk bed formations rise starkly from the prairie of western Kansas. They have yielded fossil finds dating to the Cretaceous period, about 80 million years ago. Generations of nomadic Plains tribes and later-arriving Europeans used these formations as navigational landmarks. They are located on private land with dirt roads, but the owners have long allowed public access.

Weird and Curious

Big Brutus – In the 1960s coal was big business in Kansas. Big Brutus and its giant scoop (large enough to fill three railroad cars) played an important role in the industry. Now it is one of Kansas’ largest curiosities; it was too expensive to move.

Mushroom Rocks State Park – Kansas’ smallest state park (5 acres) is a peaceful and rarely visited spot on the prairie. It contains a number of mushroom-shaped concretions: sandstone and sedimentary rock held together by natural concrete.

Great Photo Ops

Post Rock Scenic Byway – Located just a few miles from the all-too-familiar boredom of I-70, the 18-mile route cuts through an area of limestone outcroppings past the sandstone bluffs of Lake Wilson. The Post Rock Scenic Byway was one of the finalists for the selection as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Geography.

Waterfalls at Chase State Fishing Lake – These waterfalls are so off-the-beaten-path that many locals don’t even know they exist.

Other interesting off-the-beaten-path places in Kansas include Big Basin, Rock City, Alcove Spring, a Dutch-style Windmill at Smith Center, Clements Stone Bridge, Pillsbury Crossing, the Cimarron National Grasslands and many other lesser-known places in Wichita.

Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about off the beaten path attractions in Kansas.

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