The wild spaces of southwest Kansas still cut loose today with captivating culture and genuine Western heritage. Towns corral their rowdy charm in bandits’ hideouts, Front Street gunfights, frontier forts, Old West museums and cavernous 109-foot-deep wells. Outside of town, life-filled landscapes, such as Syracuse Sand Dunes Park and a 108,000-acre grassland, beckon explorers. Yet even in the farthest-flung places, you’re never too far from a comfy bed or a hearty meal to refuel. So go ahead: Trek the territory that even Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon couldn’t tame

This rugged range boasts riveting remnants from the past. It’s also home to state-of-the-art museums, a zoo, and a couple of renowned golf courses.

BIG WELL MUSEUM

Greensburg

Wielding pickaxes and shovels, crews in the 1880s dug one of the world’s largest hand-dug wells. Descend spiral stairs into the 109-foot engineering marvel, then resurface in the museum to learn about the well, Greensburg history and the town’s rebirth after its devastating 2007 tornado.

 

BOOT HILL MUSEUM

Dodge City

Scoot your boots to Front Street to relive its infamous heydays at the jail, saloon and general store. Old West history kicks up its heels in the new interactive exhibit hall, where the floor shakes during a simulated bison stampede. Take a swig of sarsaparilla at the museum’s Long Branch Saloon, and watch re-created Front Street shoot-outs during the summer.

 

BUFFALO DUNES GOLF COURSE

Garden City

A swath of modest sage- and grass-covered dunes creates a unique golfing landscape with numerous sand traps. Factor in a prairie breeze and you’ll find out by the end of the first hole why this moderately hilly course is significantly trickier than it looks.

 

CIMARRON NATIONAL GRASSLAND

Elkhart

Standing atop Point of Rocks, hikers can sense—and see—the human history that passed through the extreme southwest corner of the state. A well-worn path cutting through the prairie is a remnant of thousands of covered wagons that traveled along the Santa Fe Trail. Limestone posts mark the original route for hikers. Drivers follow the 30-mile Sea of Grass Tour that passes original trail ruts and prairie-dog towns on the 108,000-acre grassland.

 

DALTON GANG HIDEOUT

Meade

Tour the restored 1887 home of Eva Dalton Whipple, sister to the famous marauding band of brothers. Then escape through the home’s 95-foot-long stone tunnel that is said to have helped the robbers elude the law.

 

DUFF BUFFALO RANCH TOURS

Scott City

Climb aboard a flatbed trailer for a narrated, close-up encounter with some of the ranch’s 300 head of bison. Watch for the standout resident white bison and the new crop of calves. (Tour reservations are required.)

 

FORT LARNED NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

Larned

Nine original sandstone buildings and a visitors center focus on the tumultuous Indian Wars era and the fort’s 1860s duty of patrolling the Santa Fe Trail. A 1-mile nature trail rounds out a visit.

 

THE GOLF CLUB AT SOUTHWIND

Garden City

Southwest winds often add to the challenge at this semiprivate course in the sand hills. In the clubhouse, fine-dine with course views at The Bar or keep it casual at El Bar downstairs.

 

HISTORIC DODGE CITY WALKING TOUR

Dodge City

Pick up a map at the Visitor Information Center and set out on a 3-mile self-guided excursion. Sculptures and sidewalk medallions recognize local characters, like gunslinger Doc Holliday.

 

HORSETHIEF RESERVOIR

Jetmore

Whether you’re hiking, biking, boating, fishing or playing disc golf, pause at dusk to see why HorseThief is dubbed the Sunset Capital of Kansas. Overnight in cozy canvas yurts, a modern cabin or at campsites.

 

LEE RICHARDSON ZOO

Garden City

Walk for free (or drive for $10) around these 47 acres, where 300 native and exotic animals thrive. Encounter snow leopards in Wild Asia, black rhinos in the African Plains and river otters in the North American Prairie. The Lemur Forest is always a hit.

 

M.T. LIGGETT ART ENVIRONMENT

Mullinville

This newly preserved attraction—now with a visitors center—honors the offbeat creativity of late, self-taught folk artist M.T. Liggett. He’s most famous for his roadside metal sculptures and whirligigs, but you’ll also see other creations and a workshop used to restore his 1,000 metal art pieces.

 

MUSEUM OF THE GREAT PLAINS

Leoti

A WPA-built limestone building packs military, Old West, Plains, railroad and county history inside. In the basement, stroll a boardwalk through re-created 1880s Leoti.

 

SYRACUSE SAND DUNES PARK

Syracuse

Go off-roading through the state’s largest sand dunes park, a full 1,300 acres of airtime and thrills. Ride your ATV, SUV, cycle and buggy on trails and across dunes, bowls and speedy flats.

Syracuse Sand Dunes

Cimarron National Grassland

23 miles of historic Santa Fe Trail crosses the 108,000 acres of the Cimarron National Grassland. Today you can still see ruts and the site…

HorseThief Reservoir

HorseThief Reservoir is located in Hodgeman County; 9 miles west of Jetmore, Kansas. Our office hours are Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm…

M.T. Liggett Art Environment

Stop & marvel at these kinetic art displays made by local character MT Liggett. Unique art pieces from discarded metal that line Hwy 400 in…

Boot Hill Museum

This interactive recreation of Dodge City's historic Front Street-including the saloon, jail and church - will keep the entire family…

Syracuse Sand Dunes Park

The Syracuse Sand Dunes Park is the largest sand dunes park in Kansas and one of the largest in the Midwest. Opened in 2007, the Sand Park…

Duff's Buffalo Ranch Tours

There's a lot to see and do in our area. We are located on highway 83 and are part of the Western Vistas Historic Byway. You can choose to…

Buffalo Dunes Golf Course

Welcome to Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, ranked as the No. 1 municipally-owned golf course in Kansas by Golf Digest magazine. It has been…

Eat & Drink

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Get a taste of the southwest at pubs, steakhouses, a classic soda fountain, and a legendary pancake house.

BLACK BISON PUB

Syracuse

Black Bison’s hand-cut, 1½-inch-thick steaks cause stampedes to downtown. Crowd-pleasers at the casual bar and eatery include ribeyes, KC strips and the Bacon Mac Attack burger.

 

BOOT HILL DISTILLERY

Dodge City

On top of the original Boot Hill Cemetery (the bodies were moved in the 1870s), the distillery crafts vodka, gin and a variety of strong, smooth whiskeys from grain harvested on the owners’ farms.

 

MAJESTIC THEATER

Scott City

Prime rib and fillets are feature presentations at the 1922 opera and picture-show house. The stage, screen, fringed curtains and soaring ceilings surround diners in the elegant three-tiered theater. Order drinks at the concession stand, now a bar.

 

NINJA SUSHI AND STEAK HOUSE

Garden City

Come for dinner and a show by the knife-wielding hibachi chef, who grills the Ninja Combo (filet mignon, shrimp and chicken) and other tableside creations. You can also opt for calmer table service, with a menu that includes more than 30 different sushi rolls.

 

THE PANCAKE HOUSE

Liberal

A longtime staple in the hometown of the International Pancake Day Race, The Pancake House serves 30 varieties of flapjacks, including the soufflé-like apple pancake that sinks before your eyes.

 

REMEMBER WHEN ANTIQUES AND ICE CREAM

Cimarron

It’s all about nostalgia at the century-old store stocked with antiques and a vintage soda fountain. Treat yourself to a fresh limeade, fizzy old-fashioned soda, creamy malt, or a Black and White shake. Lunch is served here too.

Black Bison Pub

The Black Bison Pub is an exceptional establishment, unmatched in the quality of its decor, atmosphere, offerings and staff within 200 miles…

Majestic Theatre

Dinner guests feel like stars entering a movie premiere as they move toward the entrance. 8-ft leaded-glass doors open to a scene that…

Boot Hill Distillery

Dodge City's legacy, built on the ashes of a campfire and the footprints of a bar, proudly continues here at Boot Hill Distillery. With a…

Ninja Sushi & Steak House

Looking for dinner AND a show? Check out Ninja Sushi and Steak House, where the food is cooked hibachi style by chefs who’s skills in the…

Pancake House

Full-service restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. An almost-everything made-from-scratch dining experience with over 30 varieties of…

Before you hit the sack, stare at the stars, lounge in a saloon, or make a splash at these unique lodgings.
Parrot Cove

CLARK STATE FISHING LAKE AND WILDLIFE AREA

Ford

Flattened farmlands and prairies abruptly drop into dramatic canyons and bluffs surrounding this 300-acre lake. Visitors can camp at primitive sites along the water’s edge. Bring a pole to snag crappie, walleye, bass, bluegill, and catfish.

 

THE HERITAGE INN AND SUITES

Garden City

At adjoining Parrot Cove Water Park (extra fee), rush down the multistory enclosed water slides that snake in and out of the building or unwind on the lazy river. Dry off in comfy suites, some with bunk beds for the kiddos.

 

TRAIL CITY BED AND BREAKFAST/LOG CABINS

Coolidge

Sleep peacefully in the once unruly 1880s saloon and gambling house, renovated into four lovely guest rooms. The property also features two sunny-bright pine cabins for rent.

Heritage Inn & Suites

The Heritage Inn & Suites is a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel that offers business and leisure travelers the classic amenities they prefer…

Whether you prefer to follow the Yellow Brick Road, soar to Kansas’ largest air museum or admire an artsy attraction, Liberal fits the bill. Dorothy herself leads your whirlwind tour at Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz. Meet up with the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion on the magical yellow brick path to the Wizard, plus tour Dorothy’s farmhouse and an Oz memorabilia display. Get blown away, too, by more than 100 aircraft spanning 90-plus years of history at the Mid-America Air Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the country. It houses a futuristic Beechcraft Starship and other fascinating flying machines. The Baker Arts Center satisfies creative spirits with its collection of 300 art pieces and hands-on activities for kids. Sign up in advance for pottery workshops, dance and music classes, and more.

Mid-America Air Museum

With over 100 aircrafts on display, whether your interest is general aviation, warbirds, helicopters or experimentals and homebuilts…

Baker Arts Center

An organization heralded as "a cultural oasis on the prairie," the Baker Arts Center provides free rotating exhibits, workshops and…

Uncover more incredible sights, tastes and sounds across the state in the 2022 Official Kansas Travel Guide.