Best Camping in Kansas

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Camping in Kansas

By Alex Murphy

Kansas, known for the Wizard of Oz, long stretches of flat prairie fields, and as the center of the contiguous United States, is also home to several rivers and even forests. And even more of a surprise, it's not as flat as many believe, as you slowly gain elevation traveling from east to west, ending at about 4,000 feet before hitting Colorado.

Tourists in the Sunflower State can also learn a lot about history, particularly about settlers heading west with some forts and other areas preserved.

See a map of all camping in Kansas.

Kansas State Parks

In total, there are 28 Kansas State Parks, and officials say they offer everything from biking and horseback riding to hunting and fishing with some unique spots for visitors to check out.

Starting with El Dorado State Park, the park is the state's largest and is a big draw for anyone interested in fishing with campsites near El Dorado Lake. This park has multiple campgrounds along the lake with Walnut River Area and Bluestem Point Area on opposite shores.

For a great mix of RV sites and tent camping, there is also Cedar Bluff State Park, where visitors can see the tall limestone bluffs that makeup parts of the park.

National Parks in Kansas

A lot of Kansas history is focused on the late 1800s with its formation and reconstruction following the Civil War.

National Historic Sites in Kansas include Fort Scott which was a military base for the U.S. Army during the Civil War, and Fort Larned, another military base, this one focused on protecting travelers along the Santa Fe Trail, which led west.

Visitors can also visit Nicodemus, a town originally established by newly freed slaves following the Civil War.

Free Camping in Kansas

When it comes to Free Camping in Kansas, some campsites have great views and include a chance to go fishing. The state has multiple State Lakes that often allow free camping. This includes Leavenworth State Fishing Lake, not far Topeka and Lawrence, and Pottawatomie State Fishing Lake, a little further west.

For those traveling through the state and requiring a location close to highways like I-70, the best bet is businesses like Walmart that allow people to stay overnight in their parking lot. Be sure to get permission from management before settling in for the night.

RV Parks in Kansas

A great way to see the state is by overnighting at some of the RV Parks in Kansas.

Anyone looking to be near Kansas City for barbecue ribs or a Royals or Chiefs game can stay on the Kansas side of the Missouri state line at Walnut Grove RV Park. For those visiting the University of Kansas, a similar option can be found at Kansas City West-Lawrence KOA, just down the road in Lawrence, KS.

On the opposite side of the state, just before the Colorado border and off of I-70, is High Plains Campground and RV Resort.

Kansas National Forests

In the southwest corner of the state, just north of the Oklahoma panhandle, sits Cimarron National Grassland. The area is the largest piece of public land in Kansas and surprisingly has a fairly high elevation as it sits closer to the Rocky Mountains. Those at the park can check out fishing ponds and miles of the Santa Fe Trail where wagons once traveled through bringing western settlers.

The National Grassland offers some of the best camping in Kansas, including free dispersed camping and established campgrounds like Cimarron Campground that sits along a creek.

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Recent Kansas Campground Reviews

Lawrence, KS

Clinton State Park

Apr 21, 2021

"Large park with lots to do."

I was here in January (camper) $21 and early April (tent) $10 both times the park was still in off-season mode even though the April weekend was warm and nice, they open up in mid-April no exact date. There are hiking trails, MTB trails, frisbee golf, a beach, multiple boat ramps, many people fishing off the shore too. Easy access to...
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EnOne avatar
Nicholas Peeke
5 reviews
Mount Hope, KS

Cheney State Park

Apr 19, 2021

"Peaceful water front"

This place is way bigger it seems on the map. Nice large body of water. Hardly anybody here, it’s mid April. Zero staff present. Camping seems to be free when it’s off season. We’ve seen three people in travel trailers out of many dozens of sites. Great Kayaking spots if the winds allow. Signs of beaver activity and other wildlife. ...
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Roaming Gnomes placeholder avatar
The Schwind’s
1 review
Manhattan, KS

Tuttle Creek State Park

Apr 18, 2021

"Nice grass sites spaced apart. "

Overall it was a nice park. The showers were a little on the cooler side and it’s not as clean as I would like but overall not bad. It was a fair walk from my site to a bathroom if you don’t have your own option. Easy to reach from I 70. It was fairly quiet. The campsites are behind the dam. You hear the traffic going over the dam during the...
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barbara placeholder avatar
barbara noordsij
1 review
Cottonwood Falls, KS

Swope Park

Apr 18, 2021

"Great RV camping at a reasonable rate in east-central Kansas"

This is a great little RV camping location in east-central Kansas. We were visiting family and it fit the bill. It is $15/night and that is for electric and water. There is one water supply and one electric pedestal for every two sites. You might have to use the 30amp connection if your neighbor is using the 50amp connection. The sites are...
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AndrewG avatar
Andrew Goodrich
16 reviews

"Well it’s not Walmart"

Quiet. Solitude. Windy. Lake super low so won’t be any fisher dudes around. No feedlot smell as of yet 🤞Vault toilet. Bring your own paper. I did not turn left at the sign cause it looked like a cow path. Instead drove all the away around the “lake” and across the dam. I’ll drive straight out when I leave as I see it is not a cow path 🥴

3 cats avatar
Cat Milks
5 reviews