Swimming in Kansas? We know what you’re thinking, but this is not a joke! Kansas is indeed home to some must-visit beaches, and we’ve collected the top 10 for you. Grab a beach chair and a nice cold one, and prepare to be pleasantly surprised with all that the Sunflower State has to offer. With its state reservoirs and lakes, Kansas has miles of shoreline ready for beachcombing, hiking, boating, bird watching, and family fun. Make the most of your vacation and stay in a lakeside Kansas vacation rental. You’ll get all the comfort of your own home, but with an awesome view.

1. Wilson State Park

recreation park
Source: Flickr / Beatrice Murch

Some people consider Wilson Lake one of Kansas’ most beautiful lakes, so it’s no surprise that Wilson State Park is one of Kansas’ premier recreation hot spots. Not only is there a sandy beach, but you’ll get opportunities to fish, hike, water-ski, or just enjoy the great outdoors.

2. Glen Elder State Park

blue lake and sky
Source: Flickr / Steven Rodriquez

Located just west of the city of Glen Elder and on the north shores of the 12,500-acre, Glen Elder Reservoir lies Glen Elder State Park. There are almost unlimited recreational opportunities, and with its rural setting, Glen Elder is the perfect place to relax. The reservoir is set on a mineral spring that was once sacred to many Native Americans. The Waconda Springs Replica at the park pays tribute to Native American history. At the Glen Elder Wildlife Area, also near the lake, you can see and photograph many different wildlife species. It’s educational, but the kids will have a blast!

3. Kill Creek Park

sunset at the creek park
Source: Flickr / CJ Alexander

Kill Creek Park, in Johnson County between De Soto and Olathe, opened in 2001, making it the newest park in the Johnson County Parks & Rec system. It’s easily accessible yet still secluded and gives you everything you want in a beach vacation. Within the park, there are four picnic shelters, a swimming beach, a marina, and over 12 miles of hiking, mountain bike, and equestrian trails. There’s also one and a half miles of paved trails for walking, running, and bicycling.

4. Shawnee Mission Park

reflection of trees on the water
Source: Flickr / Mark Weston

Shawnee Mission Park is a 1,600-acre, multi-use park with a human beach and a dog beach! Located in Shawnee, this is the largest park in the county and the most visited park in the entire state of Kansas. The 120-acre lake provides ample opportunities for boating, fishing, sail boarding, and much more. You can rent canoes, pedal boats, and fishing boats at the Shawnee Mission Park Marina. The park also has a number of fantastic amenities like eleven spacious shelters, numerous picnic areas, nature trails, play areas, an archery range, a 53-acre dog off-leash area, a disc golf course, and is a great place to enjoy mountain biking and horseback riding.

5. Tuttle Creek State Park

gravels at the lake
Source: Flickr / Vincent Parsons

This 1,200-acre park has a swimming beach, boat ramp, courtesy docks, and campgrounds. Stay in a nearby vacation rental or reserve one of the eleven cabins offered, each with a full kitchen with basic pots and pans, table service for six, a full bathroom, heating, A/C, picnic tables, grill, and fire-ring. There are numerous trails for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding, scenic picnic areas, an 18-hole disc golf course, volleyball courts, horse shoe pits, and convenient restroom and shower facilities.

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6. Cherryvale Park

leafless trees
Source: Flickr / Granger Meador

Cherryvale Park is located on the crystal clear Big Hill Lake in southeast Kansas. The lake boasts three campgrounds, three equestrian trails and four day-use areas for the public to enjoy. There’s also a memorable swimming beach along with camping, picnicking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere by the water while you’re surrounded by thick oak-hickory forests in between prairie and farmland.

7. Perry State Park

water at the dam
Source: Flickr / jolynne_martinez

Perry State Park is a great place for a mini-getaway. Located between Topeka and Lawrence, Perry State Park offers forested rolling hills, 25 miles of horse trails, 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, and excellent channel catfish fishing. Hike along the lakeshore and through the nearly 11,000-acre wildlife area. Whether you’re just camping, or want to go fishing, hiking, or hunting, Perry State Park is a scenic location for anything and everything.

8. Milford State Park

sunshiny day at the lake
Source: Flickr / Acorns Resort at Milford Lake

Located on the southeast shore of the state’s largest lake, Milford Reservoir, Milford State Park is a favorite destination for anyone who loves outdoor activities. It’s especially popular for anglers looking to catch walleye, crappie and large mouth bass, white bass, catfish and small mouth bass. There’s also plenty of opportunities to spot and snap a photo of different wildlife on the 19,00-acre wildlife area located on the west side of the reservoir. If you come during the winter, you might be lucky enough to see the large influx of bald eagles.

9. Cedar Bluff State Park

grounds at the bluff
Source: Flickr / Nancy Witthuhn

The Bluffton Area on the north shore of Cedar Bluff Reservoir provides nearly 350 acres for all your outdoor needs. You’ll find two boat ramp facilities, 96 utility campsites, two community shelters, a reservable group utility campground, two large shower houses and dump stations; five modern rental cabins and numerous undesignated primitive campsites and picnic areas. Play some beach volleyball, horseshoes, shore side basketball, or go bicycling on the BMX track or swimming on the beach. The Page Creek Area, on the south shore of the reservoir, is not as developed but provides some fine primitive camping along with large shade trees and sandy shorelines. Head there if you’re looking for a more quiet getaway.

10. Clinton State Park

waterfront
Source: Flickr / freeblue_kostas

Clinton Lake is located only four miles west of Lawrence and the University of Kansas. With 383 campsites, a sandy beach, and water sporting opportunities galore, this park meets all your needs for the best summer ever. Not only is there a popular swimming beach, but it also has one of the largest marinas in the state. If you don’t want to go fishing or boating, there are also trails, archery, disc golf courses, four playgrounds and sand volleyball courts!

 
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