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Known as T-Town by its residents, Topeka is the capital of Kansas, and one of its largest cities. It is said that the name Topeka came from the Osage sentence meaning “good place to dig potatoes.” The city was first settled in the mid 19th century, but there were, of course, indigenous people inhabiting the plains of Kansas for centuries before the arrival of American settlers. These first pioneers reached Topeka on the way out to the Pacific Ocean on the Oregon Trail, only to set up a town and ferry service catering to migrants moving out west. When Kansas was finally voted in as a state during the onset of the Civil War, Topeka was chosen as the capital of Kansas. It would take a few decades to actually build the capitol building out of fear that the Confederate forces may attack it.
Topeka is an extremely unique and vibrant city now, in the heart of Kansas, around an hour's drive west of Kansas City. It is conveniently located near several interstate highways, including Interstate 335 which connects Topeka with one of the other large cities in the state, Wichita. When you book an RV in Topeka, you can do some city sightseeing and walk among old buildings and fabulous state monuments. Or, you can set off and enjoy some of the state’s best state parks and recreation areas. Between its historic neighborhoods, rich heritage, and welcoming atmosphere, it’s no wonder why Topeka is becoming a top tourist destination.
From the highways, the Kansas landscape can certainly look flat and barren, but if you look hard enough, you will find some gorgeous exceptions to these open plains. Shawnee County State Park is a short ride outside of Topeka when you rent an RV and a fabulous place to make use of your home on wheels. The park is situated around a human-made lake that is mostly used for swimming and fishing. Hunting and boating are also allowed in the park, and there are even campsites situated along the water’s edge.
Perry Lake is a massive body of water northeast of Topeka and a popular summertime hangout for city residents hoping to escape urban life for the weekend. Perry State Park is one of the best places to relax and enjoy fantastic views of the water, and there are several places you can camp with your Topeka RV rental by owner. Here you can find fishing spots, boat ramps, swimming areas, sandy beaches, and private campsites.
Clinton Lake is another place to consider visiting, especially if you are already heading out towards the neighboring city of Lawrence. Clinton State Park sits on the shores of Clinton Lake and hosts numerous activities and amenities. There are large fields of sunflowers standing taller than the average person, and a bevy of incredible animals and plants in this protected area, making for great nature photography and birdwatching. There are events held in the park each year, like an Ironman Triathlon, and several outdoors concerts hosted by the nearby University of Kansas.
Topeka has its fair share of camping spots and RV parks, so you and your Topeka RV rental should be in good hands when you arrive in the city. Forbes Landing RV Park enables you to explore the city, with lots to do within walking distance of the park. There is a clubhouse that guests may use, as well as full hookup camping sites, restrooms, and hot showers.
Topeka/Capital City KOA has a refreshing pool, a fitness center, a working area, a recreation room, and a general store where you can purchase food, firewood, and more.
Lake Shawnee is another public space set aside for camping, on the shores of Lake Shawnee. There are playgrounds, swimming areas, beaches, hiking trails, picnic spots, and divine views when you opt to camp at the Lake Shawnee Campground.
You can go anywhere when you pick up your Topeka motorhome rental, but sometimes staying in the city and checking out some of its high-end eateries and lively bars is fun too. Topeka is a cultured city with a diverse mix of interests. Layered on top of that is a complicated history that makes for some great learning opportunities. One of the most prominent attractions to look out for is the Kansas State Capitol Building, a lovely ornate structure built in 1866. The building features a gigantic dome and spire on top and jaw-dropping Greek architectural style. You can tour this living work of art and see the different chambers of the state legislature, as well as a collection of stunning murals adorning the walls.
There are lots of fun museums to check out when you rent an RV in Topeka. The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site is an important spot, as it was once a segregated school until the groundbreaking Supreme Court decision made segregation illegal. The school is now a testament to the struggle that people endured to ensure equality in the eyes of the law, and you can learn lots from detailed exhibits and explanations of the Civil Rights movement.
The Kansas Museum of History is a must-visit destination for all who love learning about history. Kid-friendly hands-on exhibits detail the lives of the settlers of Kansas, and an extraordinary collection of prairie artifacts carried west or created by settlers. A large white buffalo sculpture greets visitors in the front of the building, and you can take guided tours learning about relations with the native population, the Oregon Trail, and even some of the natural history of the land.