Some of Kansas’ hidden gems are having a moment in the limelight.
Travel Awaits, a travel website highlighting small towns and unique experiences, named two Kansas towns on its list of 14 best small towns to visit in the United States in 2023.
Coming in at No. 1 on the list is Abilene, Kansas. A two-hour drive west of Kansas City, the home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower tops the list for the third year in a row.
The site takes nominations from reader submissions, which a panel of travel industry experts and writers review. Readers then vote for the remaining finalists to determine the winners in each category.
Presidential history in the Wild West
Abilene is home to the Eisenhower Presidential Library, which Travel Awaits said may be what pulls thousands of visitors off Interstate 70 every year. Among the various exhibits, the library is features the Head of State gifts Eisenhower received from political leaders worldwide.
The town also boasts Western charm in the form of Old Abilene Town. This part of the town of around 6,500 residents takes visitors back to the Old West, with its rail station, log homes, saloon and general store.
If that doesn’t fill your Old West needs, you can ride on the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad’s authentic steam engine for a 10-and-a-half-mile ride to nearby Enterprise, Kansas.
When you get hungry on your trip, several members of The Star’s staff recommended the fried chicken from the Brookville Hotel, now called Legacy Kansas under new ownership.
Little Sweden in Kansas
Lindsborg, Kansas, came in at No. 5 on Travel Awaits’ list. The town is a three-hour trip west of Kansas City, nicknamed “Little Sweden,” since around a third of the 3,500 residents are of Swedish descent.
“Little Sweden” is full of traditions that honor the country’s roots, such as the high school’s Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers.
The town is growing so fast, it’s struggling to find housing for everyone who wants to move there.