As many Americans look for ways to counter the craziness of Black Friday, several states are offering free entrance to their state parks.
Across Kansas this year, admission to all state parks will again be free. It’s part of the national #OptOutside movement.
Kansas is one of many states that are hosting similar events this Friday. Across the state line, Missouri is also offering free programs on Black Friday. See that story separately.
And if you document your visit to one of Kansas’ 28 state parks with a selfie, you have a chance to win a free night’s stay at a state park cabin. To enter, post a selfie with the hashtags #OptOutside and #MyKSStatePark to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Though the daily vehicle fees will be waived, you’ll still have to pay for fishing, overnight camping and other such activities. Though with temperatures in the lower 30s and 20s, few will be wanting the camping experience.
Three state parks will be hosting free guided programs on Friday:
Kanopolis State Park, 200 Horsethief Road in Marquette, is hosting a seven-mile guided bike ride from 10 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Beachhouse Shelter office and provide your own bike.
Prairie Dog State Park, 13037 KS-261 in Norton, is hosting a two-mile “Turkey Trot” hike at 9 a.m. Gather at the park office.
Tuttle Creek State Park, 5800 River Pond Road in Manhattan, is hosting a seven-mile bike ride from 10 a.m. to noon. Meet at the park’s office.
The #OptOutside movement was started by outdoors retailer REI, to encourage alternatives to the crush of Black Friday shopping that typically occupies the day after Thanksgiving.
Here’s a list of Many of the State Parks across the Sunflower State:
The majority of Kansas State Parks offer camping, many have lodging facilities that include cabins, yurts etc. Please visit the links provided for Kansas State Park campground/camping information.
Cedar Bluff State Park is divided into two unique areas along the shorelines of Cedar Bluff Reservoir. To meet the outdoor enthusiasts needs The Bluffton Area on the north shore, provides nearly 350 acres for visitors and is more developed. The Page Creek Area on the south shore of the reservoir, is nearly 500 acres in size and more primitive. Cedar Bluff State Park is located in Ellis, KS.
Cheney State Park sits on the shoreline of Cheney Resorvior. Cheney State Park consists of 1,913 acres in three counties on the South end of the lake, both on the East shore and West Shore. Cheney State Park, is located in Cheney, KS.
Clinton State Park sits on the northeast shore of Clinton Reservoir. Clinton State Park offers 25 mile hike/bike trail, 5 mile cross country ski trail, 1 mile self-guided nature trail, archery range, swim beach, sand volleyball, 2 9-hole disc golf courses, 5 acre trout pond, 1 acre childrenç—´ fishing pond, and accessible shoreline use trail. Clinton State Park is located in Lawrence, KS.
Crawford State Park is rich in history. There are two recorded archaeological sites within the parkç—´ boundaries, including remnants of a 19th-century U.S. military outpost. Four hiking and biking trails, a swimming beach, and horse shoe pits offer more recreational opportunities in addition to fishing and boating. Crawford State Park is located near Farlington, KS.
Cross Timbers State Park provides numerous access points to the 2,800-acre Toronto Reservoir and provides visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in some of the most diverse flora and fauna in Kansas. Fishing in the river and on the reservoir can be excellent. Both are noted for excellent white crappie, white bass, channel catfish, and flathead catfish angling. Black bass, bluegill, and sunfish round. Cross Timbers State Park is located 12 miles west of Yates Center in Woodson County.
Eisenhower State Park is 1,785 acres of rolling hills with 18 miles of trails, miles of horseback riding trails, playground, beach, horse shoe pits, sand volley ball court, and basketball court for your family gatherings. Eisenhower State Park is located on the North shore of Melvern Lake.
El Dorado State Park sits on the shore of El Dorado Reservoir and consists of trails for horses, hiking, biking, and swim beaches. El Dorado State Park is located 3 miles east of El Dorado, KS.
Elk City State Park has numerous recreational oppurtunities. Elk City State Park is located approximately 5 miles northwest Independence, KS.
Fall River State Park is home to a remarkable diversity of plant and animal life. Six hiking trails offer visitors an up-close and personal perspective on this unique area. Fall River offers good fishing opportunities for channel catfish, white bass, crappie, flathead catfish, largemouth bass and walleye. Fall River State Park is located between the Cross Timbers region and the grasslands of the Flint Hills, near Toronto, KS.
Glen Elder State Park sits on the shores of Waconda Lake, one of Kansas’ largest lakes. Glen Elder State Park offers nearly unlimited recreational opportunities that include: boating, hiking, volleyball, softball and bike riding. Glen Elder State Park is located in Glen Elder, KS.
Hillsdale State Park has Hillsdale lake and this park offers outdoor recreational opportunities to fisherman, boaters, hunters, swimmers, horseback riders, model airplane fliers, hikers, naturalists, photographers and sightseers. Hillsdale State Park is located in Paola, KS.
Kanopolis State Park is situated in the Smoky Hills region of Kansas features beaches, 25 miles of trails for horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. Kanopolis State Park is located 33 miles southwest of Salina, KS
Lovewell State Park is a 1160 acre State Park located 4 miles East of Mankato, KS
Meade State Park rests in the High Plains of southwest Kansas with a 80 acre lake that provides excellent opportunities for the angler and there is a nature trail has been marked at the northwest corner of the lake. Meade State Park is located 5 miles West of Meade, KS.
Milford State Park is located near Junction City on the shores of the state’s largest lake, 16,000-acre Milford Reservoir. Milford State Park offers a multi-purpose trails system, great for nature lovers and back packers. Nearly all of the brushy and rocky coves contain crappie and largemouth bass, but coves in the Rolling Hills and Curtis Creek areas are traditional hot spots for crappie. Milford State Park is located in Milford, KS.
Mushroom Rock State Park is a 5 acre park, where Dakota formations are the remains of beach sands and sediments of the Cretaceous Period, 144 to 66 million years ago. The concreations that make up Mushroom Rocks. The largest rock measures 27 feet in diameter. Mushroom Rock State Park is located near Marquette, KS.
Perry State Park sits on the southwest portion of Perry Reservoir and features a sand beach, picnic areas, and Perry State Park offers 22 miles of biking and hiking trails in the Delaware Area, and 25 miles of equestrian trails in the Jefferson Point Area. Perry State Park is located near Ozawkie, KS.
Pomona State Park is located on the south shore of Pomona Reservoir, a 4,000 acre lake that features scenic beauty as well as an abundance of wildlife. Pomona state park consists of 490 acres. Recreational opportunities await you with 3 hiking trails, swim beach, day use picnic areas, volleyball and basketball courts, playgrounds, horseshoe pits and a nine-hole disc golf course. Pomona State Park is located 30 miles south of Topeka, KansasVassar KS
Prairie Dog State Park occupies 1,150 acres on the shores of Keith Sebelius Reservoir. Prairie Dog State Park is home to a thriving prairie dog colony and is the site of the last remaining adobe house in Kansas. The renovated adobe house was built on the site in the early 1890’s. Sebelius Reservoir is well known for its excellent fishing for for black bass, walleye, wiper, crappie, catfish and saugeye. Prairie Dog State Park is located near Norton, KS.
Prairie Spirit Trail State Park has a trail built upon a railroad Right-of Way which was the first north -south rail line in Kansas. The rail line was constructed in the1860’s. Portions of the trail are asphalted through Garnett and Ottawa. Prairie Spirit Trail State Park is located in Garnett, KS.
Sand Hills State Park is a 1,123 acre natural area, that has been preserved for its sand dunes, grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands. Popular activites at the park are hiking, horseback riding, hunting, bird watching and wildflower walks. There are 8 distinct trails within the park which are broken down into interpretive, hiking and horseback rinding trails. There are 14 miles of trails which weave in between 10 to 40 feet high sand dunes. Sand Hills State Park is located North of Hutchinson, KS.
Scott State Park provides an ideal setting for boating, swimming, hiking, hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation. Scott State Park is a startling oasis of natural springs, deep wooded canyons, and craggy bluffs. The 1,020-acre park surrounds the 100-acre, springfed Scott State Fishing Lake and nature trails accommodate hikers, horseback riders, and naturalists. The Steele home, the dwelling of the original settlers on the area, has been preserved much as it was 100 years ago. The park also boasts the northernmost pueblo in the U. S. – El Cuartelejo. Scott State Park is located near Scott City, KS.
Tuttle Creek State Park offers visitors a broad variety of outdoor recreation possibilities. Tuttle Creek Reservoir, the state’s second largest lake, offers 12,500 acres of water and approximately 100 miles of rugged, wooded shoreline to explore. Tuttle Creek State Park has numerous nature trails, a mountain biking trail, and a scenic equestrian trail offer explorers a variety of routes to explore the Flint Hills environment. There is an 18-hole disc golf course, volleyball courts, horse shoe pits and the state-of-the-art Fancy Creek Shooting Range. Excellent channel cat and flathead fishing is available in the lake and in the river above and below the lake. Tuttle Creek State Park is located in Manhattan KS
Webster State Park offers boaters ample launching facilities on a usually uncluttered lake at conservation level. Webster State Park is located in Stockton, KS/
Wilson State Park sits on the south side of Wilson Reservoir. Wilson State Park is divided into two areas: Hell Creek and Otoe. Wilson State Park is one of Kansa’s premier recreation hot spots to fish, hike, water-sk, and boasts to have one of the best Mountain bike trails in the Kansas. Wilson State Park is located in Wilson, KS.
–Dwight Widaman and wire services