From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, giving and gratitude are hallmarks of the holiday season. When we pause to reflect on the past year – the challenges and joys – it’s a perfect time to appreciate the richness that the land and people of Kansas add to our experiences.In keeping with the season’s spirit of giving and gratitude, we’ve assembled the following top five reasons to celebrate our state. With these timely reminders, plan to enjoy and explore all Kansas has to offer in the coming year.

1.    Delectable Eats: Fine food prepared with love and skill is a Kansas staple. Sample world famous barbecue, fried chicken served family-style and pie just like Grandma used to make. Every café, diner and restaurant offers its specialty.

2.    The Great Outdoors: Our state parks provide just-right environments for outdoor fun, including: biking, bird watching, boating, canoeing, climbing, fishing, kayaking, horse riding, skiing and much more.

3.    “Old West” Authenticity: With a history marked by cattle drivesthe Chisholm and Santa Fe Trails and the Pony Express, Kansas “Old West” character is bona fide. See the past come alive in former cowtowns, historic walking tours and working ranches.

4.    People: Traveling through Kansas, you meet all kinds of Kansans – from chefs and waitresses, curators and historians, to farmers and ranchers. Our people are hard-working individuals who love their country and their state. Plus, we have our share of famous folks!

5.    Scenic & Historic Byways: Kansas offers 10 byways traveling through landscapes ranging from the picturesque to peculiar. Puzzle over towering limestone formations. Enjoy hickory and oak woodlands, glistening wetlands, historic sites and sun-drenched prairies.For more information on everything to do and see in Kansas, visit

Becky Blake is the Director of the Kansas Travel & Tourism Division, and has been involved in the Kansas tourism industry for the past 30 years. The TravelKS Blog provides a brief update from Becky each week, featuring communities, events and attractions throughout the state.