Quirky Attraction: The exact geographic center of the United States

geographic center

The geographic center of the continental United States
Location: Near Lebanon, Kansas
When to visit: During daylight hours
Cost: Free
Time needed to enjoy: 5 minutes
Website: Wikipedia site (unofficial)

If you took a cardboard cutout of the lower 48 states and balanced it on top of a narrow object, where would the exact geographic center be? Turns out it’s near Route 281 and the town of Lebanon, Kansas.

I found this historical marker near Route 281 not far from the Nebraska-Kansas border. The marker itself is not the exact center of the U.S. As the sign notes, that spot is a few miles away. But even if you go there, you still won’t be able to reach the “exact” center, because it’s on private property. Another marker has been set up in a public park, which as close as you can get to the true center of the U.S.

This is surely not something you’d drive miles out of your way to see. It’s not within 100 miles of anything but small farm communities. But if you find yourself driving through northern Kansas (I passed through while taking a purposely circuitous route from Denver to Omaha), you should at least pull over to the side of the road to get a photo. It’s pretty cool to say you’ve been at the (almost) exact center of the continental United States.

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

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