Nebraska has wonders in every direction: vast prairies in the east, majestic cliffs and peaks in the west and sand dunes in between, making for a trip as scenic as it is fun. The state is also rich in history, with many opportunities to explore its heritage. After listening to the stories, create your own. Tour Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park, venture along the Lewis and Clark Trail or explore a historic military fort. No matter where you go—or where you’re from—you’ll always be welcomed with a warm smile.
- Nebraska Junk Jaunt is a 300-mile ‘perpetual yard sale’ held in late September. More than 500 sellers set up in approximately 40 communities along Highways 11, 91 and 2
- Fremont is known as eastern Nebraska’s antiques capital, with six antiques shops on the cobblestone streets of the historic downtown district.
Don't leave without tasting...
- Originally brought to Nebraska by German immigrants, the Runza became an official Nebraska sandwich when the first Runza restaurant opened in 1945
- Home-made dough is stuffed with ground beef, onions and spices. You can enjoy the sandwiches at nearly 70 Runza restaurants statewide
- You’ll find some of the tastiest steaks in a state where cows outnumber people. Popular options include the Steel Grill (Gering); the Peppermill & EK Valentine Lounge, Jordan’s and Cedar Canyon Steakhouse (Valentine); Gorat’s and Piccolo Pete’s (Omaha); Misty’s (Lincoln).
Don't overlook this...
- Petrified Wood Gallery in Ogallala showcases ancient woods and fossils, as well as American Indian artefacts
- In the state’s westernmost corner, an Old West cow town comes alive among rugged badlands at High Plains Homestead. Try the hearty cowboy cooking at Drifter Cookshack
- Toadstool Geologic Park boasts unusual lunar-like terrain.
For those who simply want to indulge
- Jones Bros. Cupcakes in Omaha
- Whether you’re in the mood for cake, breads, pastries or brownies, Alotta Brownies in Fremont has the perfect thing
- Potter Sundry, the old-fashioned soda fountain and ice cream counter in Potter, is famous for its Tin Roof Sundae, a tasty concoction of ice cream, syrups and nuts
- The Strategic Air & Space Museum near Ashland houses a collection of legendary aircraft, missiles and spacecraft
- The Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer preserves the inspiring stories of Nebraska’s pioneering past
- Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art in David City explores visual art inspired by lands and fields
- At Homestead National Monument of America, visitors explore the hopes and hardships of early pioneers through interactive exhibits, trails and a preserved homesteader cabin, originally built in 1867.
Notable roadside attractions
- Carhenge is a replica of Stonehenge made from old cars
- Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse, near Paxton, is a safari and restaurant wrapped into one, as diners enjoy comfort food, like chicken fried steak, surrounded by hunting trophies, including a full-size polar bear
- The Great Platte River Road Archway over Interstate 80 tells the story of the nation’s westward migration.
Top photo opportunities
- Sandhills sunsets: rich reds, oranges and violets as the sun sets among the undulating sand dunes
- Chimney Rock National Historic Site: the most recognised landmark along the Oregon Trail
- Carhenge: a replica of Stonehenge built out of cars
- Sandhill Crane Spring Migration: one of the great spectacles of the natural world, with half a million sandhill cranes.
Want to stay up late?
- By day, Omaha’s turn-of-the century Old Market features quaint restaurants, shops and art galleries, but by night, it’s one of the state’s go-to spots for nighttime entertainment
- Omaha’s famous independent music label, Saddle Creek Records, has expanded its brand of no-rules rock to a full city block with the creation of Slowdown, the record company’s rock club and bar.
Where locals go to relax
- Lincoln’s award-winning wineries—James Arthur Vineyards, Mac’s Creek and Slattery Vintage Estates—make the perfect place to sit back, sip and relax
- One uniquely Nebraskan experience is tanking: livestock tanks are fitted with comfortable seating and become water vessels perfect for groups of friends and families. As they float down the river, the tanks bob and rotate
- Canoe enthusiasts will enjoy meandering along the Niobrara National Scenic River, which snakes through north-central Nebraska, flowing gently through a deep valley shaded by dense aspen and pine.
You might be surprised by...
Upon viewing miles of seemingly endless prairies, you may be surprised to find the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey. Covering more than 90,000 acres, the largest hand-planted forest in the USA is a favourite spot for camping, hiking and picnicking.