Nebraska:: The Ultimate Day Trip Guide

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 Nebraska—honestly, it’s not for everyone. But, you’re gonna love it!

Travel and adventures are my two favorite things! But when I don’t have the time or cash for a long hiatus, I love to explore my home state! Outside of the major cities of Omaha and Lincoln, there are adventures to seek and day trips galore. Here are some highlights from my past trips and some of my to-dos.

State Parks

Indian Cave State Park

This is located near Schubert by the Missouri Border. You’ll find hiking, biking, and prehistoric petroglyphs!  This park is a treasure that I can’t wait to take my boys to explore after winter. For more info visit the state website.

Fort Robinson State Park

Complete with buffalo and longhorn herds, this park looks insanely beautiful!  This historic park was the death place of Chief Crazy Horse and an outpost from the the Indian War until World War II

Toadstool Park

This is known as the “Badlands of Nebraska”. It’s on my must-see list of hikes!

Kearney

Fort Kearney

Along with the fort, there are a few monuments, museum, a preserved blacksmith shop, and a covered wagon. My boys liked playing and climbing in the fort and the cannons while I enjoyed learning about the history.

The Archway Museum

This is free of charge! Older kids and adults would enjoy the museum which has a self-guided tour with headphones. The lobby has a unique local Nebraskan gift shop! The replica forts in the parking lot have a maze and an adobe hut that my kids enjoyed. Worth the stop!

Pioneer Village

The entire town is a 2 block radius! I recommend spending a half day here!

Flipping Sweet Pizza Joint

I recommend this place to everyone I know. You have to try the s’mores pizza at least once! My brother calls this pizza life changing and I couldn’t agree more!

North Platte

Fort Cody

This is a classic Americana road stop located off I-80. The historic fort is a gift emporium for old west toys. There’s an open play area in the center with a teepee and wagon! Best of all, if you can escape the gift shop,  it’s free!

Cody Park

The park offers carnival rides for little ones as well as places to camp, playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, concessions, retired engines and rail cars with memorabilia, and native wildlife like buffalo and antelope. My kids loved this place! It kept them busy for the evening at an affordable price tag since admission is free!

Golden Spike Tower

I recommend this for adults and older children. The museum had some interesting old railroad logs, maps, history, and a panoramic view of the impressive Bailey rail yard.

Buffalo Bill’s Ranch

Next on my list to visit!

Gothenburg 

Pony Express Station

This is a free museum located in the the city park/arboretum that is open to visitors in the warmer months.

Lake Maccaughaney

We love Lake Mac! The lake had its beginnings as an irrigation project, and is now the largest reservoir  in the state! It’s ranked as one of the best kale destinations in the nation.  And check out The Most Unlikely Place for coffee or a bite in Lewellen. You’ll be glad you did!

Paxton

Ole’s

This is a classic and a must-see! The Big Game Steakhouse and Lounge is massive, always busy, and nostalgic. Fun for the whole family!

Valentine

The Cowboy Trail

an old abandoned railroad track turned trails-runs nearby offering a unique experience for those hoofing it, or on two wheels, and is said to have incredible views.

Niobrara and Snake Rivers

There are plenty of hiking opportunities and parks with waterfalls as well as tanking and tubing.

Valentine also has vineyards, a game preserve, and several museums. A perfect little weekend getaway!   

Northwest

Chimney Rock

A stop on the Oregon, Mormon, Lewis And Clark trails, travelers can carve their names into it as a right of passage. The museum and the cemetery at the foot of the hill were both interesting! On display are drawings, journals, and early photos that show the site’s significance and change over time
 

The Sandhills, Courthouse, and Jailhouse Rock 

The other formations, buttes, and bluffs were breathtaking and unique! I was delighted to get my first glimpse of wild antelope grazing on the hillside of Jailhouse Rock!
 

Alliance

Carhenge

If you’re unfamiliar with this monument, it is an homage to the mysterious Stonehenge! It is constructed 
entirely out of old cars. There are other fun sculptures as well, but the novelty of this stop made my day! And it’s free!
 

I hope you enjoyed my list of Nebraska must-sees. Tell us yours—we’d love to hear them!

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Hello Omaha! My name is Mary Mahowald. I am an Omaha native and have lived here most of my life, and I know it’s such a wonderful place to raise a family! I am a single, hard working momma to two little crazies, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sebastian is a 6 year old, whom is heading into 1st grade, and Noah, 4, is preschool bound! Mom works full time as an Customer Support and Rental specialist at our local Freightliner dealership, works a couple of side hustles to support these little dudes, and is also attending the Business Management program through Metro Community College. In my “spare time,” I am pursuing a writing career, and am excited to reach our local community through the Omaha Moms Blog! Happy reading!