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Photograph by Scott Bean

Kansas: Experience Life on the Prairie

Spend the night at the Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge.

What Is It? Explore the Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge, a private, 220-acre tract located in the Flint Hills and preserved by prairie devotees. Here you can wander at will—splash in creeks, bushwhack through hills where blue-eyed grass and blue indigo bloom, and scope wild turkeys and bobcats. At night, settle onto a private deck and turn that scope skyward, stargazing to the tune of bullfrogs croaking and coyotes howling.

Why Do It? Spend time standing amid unbroken miles of prairie, taking in the beauty of endless vistas, hawks soaring high overhead, and wildflowers and tall grasses swaying in the breeze. Few places preserve the feel of this landscape better than the Flint Hills of central Kansas. Too rocky for plowing, the terrain avoided the fate that befell most of the country’s original 140 million acres of grassland. The Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge is one of the last unsullied swaths left. And there are three different types of accommodations—a stone house, a cabin, and a guest house—to meet your needs.

Make It Happen: Permission for a day visit and/or accommodations for overnight stays must be secured in advance at the Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge website.

50 Best Summer Weekend Adventures: Great adventures are all around us—and summer is the ideal time to seek them. To give you some ideas and inspiration, every weekday we will be sharing a different U.S. summer weekend adventure, state-by-state from A to Z. We invite you to share your favorite summer weekend adventures in the comments section below when your favorite state is featured. Report back after the weekend to tell us about the outdoor adventures you had.