Kansas : Safety by City
- Cottonwood Falls
- Council Grove
- Dodge City
- Fort Scott
- Garden City
- Great Bend
- Junction City
- La Crosse
- Overland Park
- Prairie Village
Off the interstate and nestled almost dead center in Kansas is the “Czech Capital of Kansas” in Wilson.
Even if you don’t stay a long time, it’s worth pulling off I-70 and stopping for a visit.
Wilson’s rich Czech heritage dates back to 1874 when immigrants came to work on the railroad.
It’s a culture and character that still runs thick in this community of less than 700 people.
You can see the World’s Largest Czech egg and a museum of mementos that escaped a tragic fire in 2009.
While you won’t find major hotel chains here, there are several bed and breakfast inns and a hotel built for railroad travelers in 1899 and still takes guests within its historic walls.
Outside Wilson, you have a rare opportunity to go underground and tour a ballistic missile silo (without the missile, of course) and see a piece of Cold War history.
You can also camp here and be able to say for the rest of your life “I camped at a thermonuclear warhead site.”
While there are a lot of bigger cities to visit in Kansas, it’s the uniqueness of these small towns that build the legs for the big cities to stand on.
This unique flair makes Kansas so much more than a “fly-over” state.
Warnings & Dangers in Wilson
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here. Crime is almost non-existent. It is a very small town, but it's also a tight-knit community.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
The city website does mention public transportation but only says it runs Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. There are no routes or information provided. Getting a taxi or rideshare in this small town is going to be challenging. You'll also need to GET to Wilson, so you'll likely need a car anyway. There's low risk with any option.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here with only four thefts reported in 2020 and three of them were car break-ins. Even in the safest small towns, you still need to practice vehicle safety steps.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
This is the only medium risk in the area. Kansas gets a wild mix of weather, and aside from snow in the summer, just about everything is on the table. Tornadoes ramp up in spring, and severe thunderstorms can happen throughout the year. Winter can bring crippling snow or ice storms. Wildfires and windstorms are possible too.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here with no robberies reported all the way back to 2010. I'm not sure I've ever seen that in all my research into cities.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Despite that whole "Nuclear Missile Silo" I mentioned earlier, there's a low risk here. The silo is empty and now a tourist attraction. There are no large cities nearby either, which makes the risk that much lower.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here of a tourist scam. Most of the reported scams are the common ones about car warranties, utility scams, and "YOU ARE A WINNER" from your Nigerian uncle.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk for women, but let me tell you one thing - of the six violent crimes reported in 2020, all of them were crimes committed by a man against a woman. They were all people who knew each other too, so there's not a real risk for a female traveler, but it was worth noting.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Annual Water Quality Report shows no violations and all water standards are met or exceeded. The water is safe to use with low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Wilson
The After Harvest Czech Fest is the highlight of the year in Wilson.
This is held in late July and thousands overrun the small town with Czech food, fun, and performances.
If you can visit during this time, you won’t regret it!
Any time of year, you can see the World’s Largest Czech Egg on display downtown.
Be sure to have your mobile device charged because you’ll definitely want some pictures next to a 20-foot tall egg.
The Historic Midland Railroad Hotel is a great place to visit even if you aren’t staying there.
This was once a lush stop on the railroad line between Denver and Kansas City, and the limestone building is still stunning more than a century later.
Be sure to visit “The Barn”, which is an elegant sampling room for liquor and good ole Kansas City-style barbecue.
The Wilson Heritage Museum is open by appointment only, and they would surely appreciate your visit.
The museum once held hundreds of artifacts in the basement of the Wilson Opera House, and many priceless items – including hand-written memories – were on display.
In 2009, a fire raged throughout this business block and many of those heirlooms were forever lost.
The ones that were salvaged and new items are now on display in the downtown business district location.
Atlas Ad Astra Adventure Resort is three miles east of Wilson.
Campers and boondockers are welcome as the owners continue to add “adventure” to the adventure resort.
You can go down 176 feet to the base of the missile chamber and the history of missile silos located throughout the country while the U.S. was preparing for nuclear potential during the Cold War.
Wilson State Park is 10 miles north.
The closest access point is Wilson State Park, but there are also Lucas Park Recreation Area and Minooka Park Recreation Area along the 9,000-acre shoreline.
What makes this park unique are the cliffs and outcrops of rocks along the shore and in the hiking areas.
Fishing, camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing are popular here.
Places to Avoid in Wilson
The whole city is just two miles wide and one mile long, so you won’t find bad neighborhoods here.
This is a small, safe town.
Wilson is much easier to write about than it is to showcase, as it’s not all hopped up on pomp and circumstance.
It’s a simple town with an extraordinary history.
Even Grandma’s Soda Shop could be more elaborate, but it’s the food and the people that truly make it special.
You do want to avoid being outdoors here if severe weather is imminent.
Kansas can have days that start sunny and warm and end up with tornadoes on the horizon.
This is also part of the Smoky Hills, which is not to be confused with the Smoky Mountains 1,000 miles away.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Wilson
- Sign up for email alerts from the city on its website. You can get great information about community events, road work, or other city-related issues.
- You can report issues like potholes in the roads on the city website too. The website was recently re-designed, but it’s a pretty simple site. The “Report a Concern” section is available at the top of the page.
- There isn’t a website for the Wilson Police Department, but there is a Facebook page. It’s @wilsonkspd.
- When traveling in the winter, there is a big difference between a winter weather warning and a blizzard. While you should avoid travelling in both of them, a blizzard is far more dangerous. This means winds have to be a certain speed (35 mph) for a certain period of time (3 hours) and visibility will be very limited.
- A tornado watch means conditions are possible for the development of tornadoes, and can be issued anywhere from 10 to two hours ahead of time. A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted or is radar indicated, and you should seek shelter immediately.
- Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can happen any time of year here, even though spring is considered “Tornado Season.” In December 2021, a storm with extremely high winds came through and ripped metal off buildings and knocked over brick walls in Wilson. You MUST take Kansas weather warnings seriously.
- Always keep your mobile devices fully charged if severe weather is coming. That December 2021 storm knocked out power to thousands of people. Since this is such a rural area, you might be without power for several days. A cordless battery charger would be a great tool to pack.
- For those visiting Wilson State Park, there’s a Facebook group with hundreds of people who have visited the park before. This is a great forum to ask questions about safety – from swimming to boating to fishing – and make some new friends.
- You do need a fishing license from the Department of Wildlife in Kansas if you want to fish in any public body of water. You can purchase that online and review the special stamps and permits you might need as well.
- Wilson is not in Wilson County, Kansas. They two are 200 miles apart. For countywide information, you’ll need to look at Ellsworth County website and social media sites.
So... How Safe Is Wilson Really?
Wilson is such a small town that it’s no surprise there are low crime rates.
There were just six violent crimes in 2020.
Four of those were sexual assaults involving people who knew each other.
Just four thefts were reported and, as I said earlier, three of them were car break-ins.
While you should always take proper safety steps and never let your guard down, Wilson is just historically safe.
The biggest threat here is the weather.
That 2021 storm tore down a wall of a historical building that will cost $200,000 to rebuild.
City leaders and community members are beside themselves with sadness over this loss, especially since that building has stood proudly in Kansas weather since 1883.
Wilson might not be the place to keep you entertained for days on end, but it’s a nice pit stop in Kansas to see a unique city while being safe, which can’t be said for every small Kansas town.
How Does Wilson Compare?
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- Visas - You won't need your U.S. Travel Visa to get around Kansas or the different cities. You'll need that when you go through Customs at the airport. After that, store it in a safe place until you return.
- Currency - In a small town like Wilson, you might find some cash-only locations, so you'll need currency in U.S. Dollar (USD). Do your currency exchange at the airport or in a much bigger city before you arrive.
- Weather - You'll want versatile layers throughout the year because the weather and temperatures can fluctuate. You should also bring any clothing that will help protect yourself against the wind. I re-purposed some COVID masks for when I'm outdoors and it's windy or dusty. For winter, bring a coat. You'll likely need one, but if you're lucky, a jacket will suffice.
- Airports - Salina is less than an hour east with limited flights and a very small airport. The largest airport close by is Wichita, and that's a 90-minute drive. It's worth the extra driving time to have more road options.
- Travel Insurance - With extreme weather and hazards possible here, you'll definitely want travel insurance. Make sure you know what kind of hail damage protection you'll have on your rental or personal car.
Wilson Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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