Whether you’re a Wichita local or you’re visiting this beautiful and lively city in Kansas with your family, exploring the great outdoors is the perfect way to bond with the people you love. Wichita and the surrounding Sedgwick County area have everything a family needs to enjoy a staycation or a nice, long weekend away.
From various entertainment to local food offerings, adventurous and outdoorsy families can truly experience it all. Wichita, the Heart of the Country, has just the right trails and campsites to visit. And don’t worry, we’re certain the kids will love them too.
A quick walk or a slow stroll through nature can reset your family’s frame of mind during a trip, but you should know that not all trails are created equal. Luckily, Visit Wichita has done the legwork (literally) to ensure your family can trek safely through these trails without too much difficulty.
Swanson Park Loop
The Swanson Park Loop is located in Swanson Tract Park, just west of the Wichita city center. It’s a 1.2-mile loop trail and only takes around 22 minutes to walk – perfect for family groups! It’s not too strenuous (a bonus for kiddos or those with limited mobility) but still long enough to get some serious exercise and spend your energy. The paved trail allows for the convenient use of strollers and eliminates the risk of tripping over rocky terrain. You’ll also see a variety of wildlife – from deer to birds – so make sure you keep an eye out.
If your family is looking for a longer trail to enjoy for a few hours, consider the Redbud Trail. It’s an 11.5-mile point-to-point trail in the Wichita area but extend an extra seven miles to Augusta, with more than three miles of pavement before it transitions to gravel. The Redbud Trail has multiple access points so it’s easy to enter no matter where you’re staying in Wichita. Families can enjoy a long 3.5-hour stroll or a quicker (and fun) bike ride. It is recommended to wear appropriate shoes and comfortable hiking leggings for a hike this long.
Trust us, you do not want to be five miles into this hike and realize you wore the wrong attire. Also, if you’re traveling on two wheels, don’t forget to pack helmets since the gravel makes for a slightly bumpy ride. On the Redbud Trail, your kids will be able to point out the beautiful wildflowers that grow along the path and even spot some wildlife too.
Sedgwick County Park West Loop
The Sedgwick County Park West Loop is another short and easy option for the whole family. The 1.6-mile loop usually takes around 28 minutes to walk and passes a beautiful body of water where wildlife can be spotted. Since it is fully paved, it’s the perfect choice for parents with young children – you can confidently let your little ones run or walk on their own. Also, keep an eye out for the relics near the west trail.
If you’re looking for more than a hike, a great way to truly experience this beautiful area is by camping. No matter your family’s level of camping expertise, we’re confident that there is a campsite you’ll enjoy. Check out some of our favorite locations around the Sedgwick County area below.
Fall River State Park
Fall River State Park is located about an hour from the center of Wichita, and is an easy drive on US 400 E. You can find campsites for tents and RVs or you can spoil your family with a cabin! There are cabins, primitive sites, standard full hookups and standard water and electric hookups available for you to choose from. We love this campground because of the showers, plenty of parking and boat docking station. The activities are endless and you’ll get to admire nature in the Tallgrass Prairie with your family. Reserve your site in advance to ensure you get a spot, especially during peak season.
Cheney State Park
Are you new to camping and not sure where to even start? Pack the car and head down to Cheney State Park located 16 miles west of Wichita. Cheney State Park covers about 1,913 acres and surrounds the windiest lake in the lower 48 states with an average wind speed of 13.9 mph. Considered a “recreational getaway,” Cheney Lake is perfect for sailing.
This park has 223 campsites with water and electricity, 22 boat launching lanes, 10 clean shower houses, and more. The beautiful lake offers a great fishing experience for the entire family and if you’re not up for baiting and catching, you can always cruise along the water and see the 100-plus multicolored sailboats. Though there are hundreds of campsites throughout the park, we recommend booking your spot in advance.
Santa Fe Lake
What’s better than a day at the lake? Camping at the lake with your family! Santa Fe Lake is a short 10-minute drive from Wichita – a convenient trip for both locals and out-of-state visitors. This popular campsite has short line access, grills, fire pits, RV electric sites, restrooms and showers to use. Families can swim, picnic, bike and fish all in the same place without having to drive far. The lake is known for having a beautiful waterfall and a kayak outfitter on site. Contact Santa Fe Lake to reserve your spot for a weekend of fun with the family.
Find more things to do and events that make Wichita the ultimate vibe. Wichita is a movement – one that is essential for creating long-lasting memories with your loved ones. Solo travelers passing through to families on an annual vacation can all enjoy what this vivacious city has to offer!
More South Central Kansas Fun
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