The 5 Most Charming River Towns in Kansas – Update Kansas

The Midwestern US state of Kansas is known for its oil wells, wheat, and homage to the timeless classic The Wizard of Oz. In addition, several American rivers flow through the Sunflower State, including the Kansas River and the vast Missouri River. In addition to supplying fresh water and being home to an abundance of wildlife, many charming Kansas towns are located along these rivers.


Aerial view of downtown Atchison Kansas in the morning light
Aerial view of downtown Atchison, Kansas

Located in Atchison County, Atchison overlooks the Missouri River in northeastern Kansas, bordering Missouri. Home to more than 10,800 residents, Atchison is known as the birthplace of Amelia Earhart. In fact, Atchison pays tribute to the American aviator by hosting an annual Amelia Earhart Festival. Otherwise, Atchison is a popular destination among paranormal enthusiasts thanks to its reputation as one of the “spookiest” towns in Kansas, thanks to its collection of mysterious landmarks and inexplicable urban legends.


colorful orange autumn leaves in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA
Beautiful fall foliage in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Leavenworth is located on the west bank of the Missouri River and is the most populous city in all of Leavenworth County. Dubbed the “First City of Kansas,” Leavenworth was the state’s first city, founded in 1854. Today, its tourism industry centers around its illustrious past, offering historic attractions such as the Caroll Mansion, the early 20th-century Parker Carousel Museum, and the Veterans Chapel . Leavenworth also boasts a variety of shopping boutiques and attractions for children.


Windmill at Wamego City Park
Windmill at Wamego City Park

Overlooking the Kansas River, Pottawatomie County’s Wamego is a “small town with big experiences.” Home to more than 4,800 residents, Wamego prides itself as a quaint town filled with attractions dedicated to the Wizard of Oz.. Visitors can easily follow the Yellow Brick Road at the entrance, which takes them directly into the city. Plus, fans of the timeless film will love exploring Wamega, which is home to the Oz Museum, an Oz-themed winery, and 18 Toto statues (which are scattered throughout the city). Alternatively, other attractions that make this small town so charming include the Columbian Theater, hiking trails on the Oregon Trail, and the Swogger Art Gallery.

Clay center

Clay County Courthouse
Clay County Courthouse

Located between US Highway 24 and Kansas Highway 15, Clay Center is also crossed by the Republican River. Upon entering the city, visitors are greeted by an intricate sculpture of the “Spirit of the Wild” geese. In addition, visitors will also notice several murals installed in the Clay Center that depict local artistic talent and the economic importance of agriculture to the city. Otherwise, Clay Center boasts an expansive golf course and country club, a city zoo, a water park, and the historic County Clay Museum.


The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas is now home to City Hall and is painted bright red.
The original Farmers State Bank building in Lindsborg, Kansas is now home to City Hall and is painted bright red.

Nicknamed “Little Sweden”, Lindsborg was originally founded in 1869 by settlers from Värmland, Sweden. This charming town still pays homage to its Swedish roots today, with local attractions such as the Swedish Pavilion from 1904 or the Lindsborg Old Mill and Swedish Heritage Museum. In addition, Lindsborg hosts notable events such as Våffeldagen (International Waffle Day) and Svensk Hyllingsfest, an autumn festival that only takes place during odd-numbered years. However, visitors to Lindsborg often admire their Wild Dalas, which are carved wooden sculptures of tailless horses, resplendent in a rainbow of colors!

These river towns are worth a visit, each with their own unique features while exuding the welcoming charm of Kansas. From the city of Lindsborg to the streets of Atchison, these river towns are just as diverse and legendary as their bustling urban counterparts.


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