The United States is a diverse and fascinating country, comprised of 50 states, each with its own distinct history, culture, and geography. In this article, we will delve into the states that start with the letter K. While there are only two states that fit this criteria – Kansas and Kentucky – they each offer a wealth of unique experiences and attractions. Join us as we explore the rich heritage, natural beauty, and vibrant communities of these two remarkable states.

The States That Start with K

States That Start with K

Kansas: The Sunflower State

Located in the Midwestern region of the United States, Kansas is affectionately known as the “Sunflower State.” Its name is derived from the Kansas River, which flows through the state. Kansas is renowned for its picturesque prairies, grasslands, and the bustling city of Wichita.

Kentucky: The Bluegrass State

Situated in the southeastern part of the country, Kentucky is often referred to as the “Bluegrass State.” It takes its name from the Kentucky River, which traverses the state. Kentucky is famous for its vibrant bluegrass music, world-class horse racing, and the renowned Kentucky Derby. Visitors can also immerse themselves in the state’s rich history and explore its numerous parks and museums.

Why Kansas Starts with K

Kansas owes its name to the Kansas River, which was named after the Kansa Native American tribe. The Kansa tribe resided in the region alongside the river, which is now known as Kansas. The term “Kansas” is believed to have originated from the tribe’s name for the river, “kanza.” However, it is also possible that the word “Kansas” comes from the Sioux word “kansa,” meaning “people of the south wind.”

The Kansas River played a vital role in the lives of the Kansa tribe. It served as a crucial waterway for transportation, fishing, hunting, and trade with other Native American tribes. The river’s significance was further highlighted by early European explorers, such as Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and the famous American expedition of Lewis and Clark.

Why Kentucky Starts with K

Kentucky, admitted as the 15th state on June 1, 1792, was named after the Kentucky River. Early explorers bestowed this name upon the river based on the Iroquois word meaning “meadowland.” Kentucky’s rich history dates back to the American Indian settlements and the subsequent arrival of British explorers in the 1600s.

The state’s first European settlement, Harrod’s Town, was established in 1774 by James Harrod. Kentucky witnessed significant battles during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Its natural beauty, highlighted by rolling hills, lush forests, and picturesque waterways like the Cumberland River, has contributed to its reputation as an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

States That Start with K

The Charms of Kansas

Contrary to popular misconceptions, Kansas offers a diverse array of attractions and natural beauty. The state boasts stunning prairies, vibrant sunflower fields, and captivating landscapes. Visitors can explore the world’s largest ball of twine, visit the birthplace of aviation, and discover mesmerizing underground caves.

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a must-visit destination in Kansas. Spanning over 10,000 acres, it showcases a diverse range of flora and fauna. Nature enthusiasts can participate in ranger-led programs, embark on scenic hikes, and even camp overnight within the preserve.

For space enthusiasts, the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson is a must-see. This renowned museum houses the largest collection of space artifacts in the world, including a moon rock brought back by Apollo astronauts. The Cosmosphere also features a planetarium and an IMAX theater, providing an immersive educational experience.

The Allure of Kentucky

Kentucky’s charm lies in its breathtaking scenery, rich history, and vibrant culture. The state’s rolling hills, lush forests, and picturesque waterways create a captivating backdrop for outdoor adventures. Kentucky’s most famous event, the Kentucky Derby, attracts visitors from around the globe, showcasing the state’s deep-rooted horse racing tradition.

History enthusiasts can explore Kentucky’s pivotal role in the Civil War and visit significant historical sites, including the Kentucky History Museum in Frankfort. The state is also home to the Daniel Boone National Forest, a paradise for hikers, campers, and fishing enthusiasts. Additionally, the Mammoth Cave National Park offers unparalleled underground exploration opportunities.


Kansas and Kentucky, the two states that start with the letter K, may be geographically distinct, but they share a common thread of rich history, natural beauty, and vibrant communities. From the boundless prairies of Kansas to the rolling hills and bluegrass of Kentucky, these states offer an array of experiences that are sure to captivate visitors.

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural immersion, or a glimpse into the past, Kansas and Kentucky have something for everyone. Embrace the allure of the Sunflower State and the Bluegrass State, and embark on a journey that will leave you with cherished memories and a deeper appreciation for the diverse tapestry of the United States.