Visit This Midwest State Park For Fun-Filled Water Adventures

Across the U.S., travelers looking for a unique adventure will find a multitude of state parks just waiting to be explored in good company. According to the National Association of State Park Directors, there are nearly 10,000 state parks to discover sprawling across all 50 states. If your travel plans have you visiting the Midwest on your next vacation, and you're looking for a place to enjoy that comes with built-in water adventures, Wilson State Park checks every box on the list.

Located in the state of Kansas on the Post Rock Scenic Byway near Sylvan Grove, Wilson State Park can be found in the scenic Smoky Hills. This state park is home to sandstone bluffs and a variety of exciting nature trails, but it's usually the Wilson Reservoir that acts as the centerpiece of a visit. Whether you're one for swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, or boating, there's no shortage of options for on-the-water fun when you're here. The upper end of the reservoir is even home to a designated wildlife area giving park guests options to connect further with the nature they've come to enjoy.

Boat or paddle your way through a visit

A great activity for visitors during the warm weather months of the year is boating. With a 9,000-acre reservoir at your fingertips, there's plenty of room to enjoy time on the water with family and friends. While you're free to bring your boat, Lake Wilson Marina is also the top spot for rentals.

The marina claims a hilltop location, so it's easy to spot and access during your park visit. Here, you'll find everything from boat accessories and supplies to bait, fuel, and even groceries, too. Once you've stocked up on all of the essentials, it's time to browse your rental options. The Lake Wilson Marina has an inventory made up of quality pontoon boats easily available to guests, so you can spend a comfortable day on the water.

If you prefer to slow things down and paddle rather than power your way through the afternoon, Wilson State Park provides opportunities for guests to get out on the lake using a paddleboard, kayak, or canoe. If you don't have your own, make your way to Knotheads Baitshop, which is a premier supplier of water sport rentals for Wilson State Park visitors. Their offerings includes single and tandem kayaks, as well as canoes, fishing kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and more. You can reserve gear ahead of time to pick up or feel free to simply walk in and select your rentals on-site.

Add swimming and fishing fun to the lineup

When temperatures rise in Kansas each summer, the reservoir at Wilson State Park has designated swimming areas for visitors to cool off. If you are more in the mood to just dip your toes and take advantage of the sandy shoreline, that's an option as well. Wilson State Park is divided into two sections known as Otoe (on the western side) and Hell Creek (on the eastern side). There are RV and traditional campgrounds in both locations for those travelers who are looking for a lakeside stay.

If you happen to be an avid angler heading to Wilson State Park, you'll find plenty to keep you entertained out on the water. The reservoir here is a great place to cast a line in every season. Some of the species you just might reel in include walleye, striped bass, blue and channel catfish, black bass, white bass, and white perch.

Even if you're not spending time directly on the water, lakeside fun is within easy reach at Wilson State Park. There are three trails to choose from on-site that run alongside the water and showcase great views while you hike. For a leisurely stroll, you can enjoy the 1-mile loop or elevate the challenge on the Dakota Trail, which spans 2 miles of terrain. The Switchgrass hiking and biking path is an impressive 24.5 miles long and is designed for those looking to put their trekking skills to the test.