If you have never stopped in Kansas to do a little stargazing, you need to buy this state on your list. The Sunflower State is home to some pretty nice dark skies if you are looking for a campsite.
Based on Bortle levels and how obstructed the campsites are with trees at each campground, we have created a list. It will give you a rough idea of what to expect when planning your trip to each state park for stargazing and astrophotography. Hopefully this guide helps make your life a little easier if you have the same passion for the night skies as us. We have found it gives us a better idea as to which campgrounds we need to visit and revisit first. If you are looking for the perfect dark sky campground in Kansas and you love the stars, this might just be the best guide for you.
Where Can I See the Stars in Kansas?
Kansas has plenty of dark skies all over the state, but the absolute darkest skies are mainly found in the western part of the state. You will find plenty of Bortle 2 and 3 spots in the western half with the exception of a few little bright towns like Garden City, Dodge City, and Liberal in the southwest.
As you make your way east, you’ll find Wichita, Lawrence, and Topeka as some of the brighter places to avoid. The brightest city by far is Kansas City and all of its surrounding suburbs on the eastern border with Missouri. Luckily, there are still plenty of Bortle 3 skies just a relatively short drive to the southwest or northwest of the city for you to escape to and enjoy.
Throughout the state, Kansas has a good amount of dark sky state parks to pick from for your adventures. One of our favorites even has fireflies that also light up the ground in addition to the amazing stars in the night sky. With lots of great stargazing options to choose from, you’ll also be glad to know Kansas has ample state parks with a variety of water, electric, and sewer options. This makes the state parks perfect for both RVers and tent campers alike. Also, don’t forget to check with the park staff to see what astronomy lessons are offered in the park you are visiting.
Kansas is an awesome place to see the stars. So, make sure to plan a trip to one of their fantastic state parks either as a destination or the perfect stargazing stopover along your journey.
Kansas State Parks Dark Sky Guide
Our personal camping spreadsheet we have shared on this page can help you quickly find the best state park campground. If you enjoy the night skies, we hope you find it useful on your trips!
Listed below the Google Sheet, we share what each categories represents.
If you are on a mobile device, slide the graph left or right to see more data.
Name: This is the name of the state park.
Region: This is the general region of the state where the park is located.
Dark Sky: This is the approximate Bortle level. Read this article first if you aren’t sure what we mean. Typically avoid red, orange, and yellow for the best stargazing.
Obstruction: How many trees will block your view of the sky? “Open” gives you the best chance of having a clear view at almost all campsites. “Partial” means there are some sites with clear views and some without. “Obstructed” means most campsites have a blocked view of the sky.
Special Notes: Since we mainly camp in an RV, this column of the spreadsheet helps you see if it is a state park that only offers tent camping or if there is no camping. We have also used a strikethrough to cross out the parks currently where no camping is allowed.
About the Authors
We are avid stargazers Jason and Alison Takacs also known as “Roadtrippin’ with Takacs”. With our two boys Preston and Grayson, we seek out some of the darkest skies in the country while also going on many incredible hiking and other outdoor adventures. As part-time RVers, we try to see as much of this amazing world as possible in our spare time and hope you will join us through this blog and other forms of social media as we explore the night sky and other natural wonders as hardcore astrotourists.