Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.
Considered the “Air Capital of the World,” the birthplace of Pizza Hut, and home to everyone’s favorite soccer coach, Ted Lasso, Wichita has a lot going for it. That hasn’t stopped the south-central Kansas city from also being home to some of the best lakes in the Sunflower state.
From the lush greenery of Fall River Lake to the fishing paradise of Marion Reservoir, join us as we take a look at the 12 most beautiful lakes near Wichita!
Santa Fe Lake
If you’re looking for adventure just a stone’s throw from Wichita, then Santa Fe Lake is for you! Immerse yourself in the year-round offerings from biking to paddleboarding and disc golf to fishing. This historical destination, once a pit stop on the Santa Fe trail, now serves as the perfect outdoor playground just 20 miles from downtown Wichita.
Discover Kanopolis Lake in the heart of Kansas’ Smoky Hills, a tranquil reservoir surrounded by parks and set against the backdrop of the Kanopolis Dam. From enjoying the beach and boat ramp at Venango Park to hiking, horseback riding, and cycling on the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway in Kanopolis State Park, there’s plenty to explore.
A short journey from Wichita leads you to Augusta Lake, a lively recreational hub sprawling over 190 acres. Residents and visitors enjoy boating, kayaking, and biking, or head to Shryock Park for its large playground and splash pad. Garvin Park hosts regular events, while the Fourth of July sees a grand fireworks display, making the lake a go-to spot for the celebrations.
Wellington Lake, a 674-acre body of water near Wichita, is a haven for outdoor activities. The lake, which teems with a variety of fish species, offers excellent opportunities for angling from a handicapped-accessible pier or boating from several ramps. With close to 200 campsites, both equipped and primitive, and a designated swimming area, Wellington Lake is a great outdoor destination just 45 miles south of Wichita.
Fall River Lake
Perched in Greenwood County and 80 miles east of Wichita, Fall River Lake invites outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy its lush greenery and recreational fun. From swimming and water skiing to boating and picnicking, the lake caters to visitors of all ages. Anglers will love its rich stocks of white bass, crappie, and bluegill. With camping facilities and six hiking trails at the Fall River State Park, this destination makes for a well-rounded outdoor retreat.
Winfield City Lake
Winfield City Lake, nestled in South Central Kansas’s scenic Flint Hills, is an excellent destination for a range of outdoor activities. Enjoy a refreshing swim at the northern beach area, set up camp on equipped pads, or embrace primitive camping anywhere around the lake. Known as one of the best fishing spots in Kansas, Winfield City Lake’s abundant game fish promise a rewarding experience for anglers.
Timber Creek Lake
Timber Creek Lake offers a diverse set of outdoor activities over its expansive 979-acre area. The lake and its surrounding 33,000 acres of public, protected land provide ample space for hiking, swimming, hunting, and off-roading. With the option for primitive camping and proximity to a rustic town, Timber Creek Lake promises a distinct blend of wilderness and comfort.
Harvey County Lake
Spanning 314 acres with tree-lined shores, Harvey County Lake near Wichita is a prime spot for outdoor activities. The lake offers diverse fishing options, boating activities like water skiing, and a designated ski route. The site also features a beach, volleyball courts, playgrounds, shelters, a nature trail, and a bait shop, with free entry to the park and moderate fees for certain activities.
El Dorado Lake
Carved into the Kansas Flint Hills, El Dorado Lake, a thriving reservoir near El Dorado city is a haven for outdoor activities. The lake’s shoreline is adorned by El Dorado State Park, divided into four distinct areas, each equipped with facilities for boating, camping, and hiking. With hunting opportunities, sport fishing, and amenities like a bait shop, marina, and an amphitheater, El Dorado Lake is the perfect spot for those looking to get back to nature
Cheney Reservoir, located near Wichita and adjacent to Cheney State Park, boasts 9,537 surface acres of water teeming with various fish species. Known for its jig fishing and two distinct hiking trails – the award-winning Spring Creek Nature Trail and the wildlife-rich Geifer Nature Trail – the reservoir offers an array of activities for all ages. With its 67-mile shoreline, there’s endless room for family-friendly summer fun.
About 60 miles north of Wichita lies Marion Reservoir, a 6,200-acre water body surrounded by 6,000 acres of public lands. Completed in 1968, it offers 253 campsites across four parks, numerous fishing opportunities for species like walleye and crappie, and a picturesque 1-mile Willow Walk Nature Trail. With boat ramps at each campground, including multiple courtesy docks at Cottonwood Point, Marion Reservoir is an ideal spot for water-based adventure.
Located a short drive from Wichita, Lake Afton, a man-made gem set the 720-acre Lake Afton Park, promises a perfect day trip of leisure and adventure. The lake is a favorite amongst Kansans and visitors alike, offering a perfect setting for boating, swimming, and picnics.
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