You don’t have to be a true Cornhusker to enjoy the wholesome relaxed atmosphere that is Nebraska. This is a state that loves its land, whether crops are being grown or cattle are grazing. Urban amenities are not a selling point, it’s the quiet prairie and peaceful state parks where you can hike, bike, fish, or boat in solitude that draws outdoor lovers who know the score.
That’s not to say there isn’t anything fun to do in Nebraska. Its largest city Omaha is a fine example of Midwestern friendliness fused with great restaurants and relaxing bars in the Old Market district. This city is also where one of America’s top zoos is located. Outside Omaha, the attractions trend towards the natural. Between the state’s eight state parks there is plenty of space to enjoy your favorite outdoor recreation without any of the hype or the crowds common in more touted travel destinations like Colorado.
Most visitors choose a state park or two to explore. The bird watching in Nebraska is something special thanks to the half-million white cranes that stop over on their migration route each year. Wildlife sanctuaries make it easy to find the action and are rarely crowded. History buffs will find the Oregon Trail a real treat, as well as the living museums and ranches that showcase Nebraska’s pioneer life in the 1800s.
While Nebraska is admittedly a bit thin on culture, it overflows with Midwestern hospitality. This rural state is one of the friendliest you’ll ever visit. The locals love their land and savor their slow-paced lifestyle. The lack of tourism hype keeps the prices on everything refreshingly low from hotel rooms to filling meals at an Omaha steakhouse, your wallet won’t suffer any sticker shock in Nebraska.
To experience any of these unique highlights with any level of convenience a car will be necessary. Nebraska is simply too rural and unpopulated to support a statewide public transportation network. Everyone here drives, and you will too if you want to visit a state park or any of the historic sites scattered around. Rental cars are money well spent, however, because there isn’t much to do in the cities. The real adventure lies on the country roads skirting through endless prairie farmland.
- Enjoy every bite of a corn-fed Nebraska steak in one of Omaha’s legendary downtown steakhouses
- Watch droves of migrating cranes each season around the Kearny and Grand Island wildlife sanctuaries like Rowe and Crane Meadows
- Hike a section of the Oregon Trail near Scottsbluff and get a sense of what the first pioneers must have felt venturing west
- Experience prairie life in the 1800s at a living museum like Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer near Grand Island
- Check out Bellevue, the oldest town in the state, with its cool Olde Towne and wonderful Fontenelle Forest on the outskirts
- Take a daytrip down one of Nebraska’s many lazy rivers by kayak, canoe or floating inner tube
- See a zoo the way they all should be at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, a unique world-class institution
- Party with one of America’s liveliest university populations in Lincoln, home to the beloved Nebraska Cornhusker football team