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12 Best Places In Nebraska You Must Visit – Hand Luggage Only


If you love pork tenderloin sandwiches, rocky mountain oysters, mouth-watering steak and of course corn, then Nebraska is the place for you.  It’s a foodie state, for sure, but it’s also absolutely gorgeous to explore. This all being said, it can be tough to decide on which of the best places in Nebraska to visit once you arrive. 

Whether you’re visiting on a dedicated trip, or as part of a wider road trip across the US, Nebraska is well worth spending some time exploring. Even if you’re driving through on Highway 80, you can still see quite a few of the top places in Nebraska that are relatively close by.

So, to help you get the most out of your trip to Nebraska, I’m sharing our top places you don’t want to miss. Have an amazing time visiting the US. 

1.) Scotts Bluff National Monument 

Around 800 feet in height, Scotts Bluff is one of the best places in Nebraska you have to visit. In fact, it’s one of the state’s most iconic natural sights and a stunning place to see. 

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Scotts Bluff National Monument Mitchell pass Eagle Rock

Now, it’s best to explore Scotts Bluff National Monument as we venture west, over to Wyoming. You see, it’s relatively close to the western border of Nebraska and easy to visit whilst on a longer drive. 

The site is well worth visiting, especially as it’s served as a landmark for emigrants heading west across the Great Plains of Nebraska.

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Courthouse Jail Rocks

Once here, make sure to follow the trails to spot Eagle Rock and see some of the iconic Conestoga Wagons on the prairie itself. It’s a wonderful place to explore and well worth visiting for an hour or two. 

Read more: Best places to see in Colorado

2.) Alliance

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Alliance Theater

Nestled within the Great Plains of Nebraska, Alliance is a relatively small city that’s perfect for an afternoon trip.

Now, like I said, the city of Alliance is small but you can easily stay overnight to explore this eclectic little city and use it as a base to explore the wider Great Plains area of Nebraska.

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Alliance

Once in the city, make sure to visit the Alliance Knight Museum which shares the history of settlers and American Indian histories from around the area. It’s free to enter and a visit will take around 30 minutes. 

For lunch, be sure to grab a table at Ken and Dale’s. They serve up a tasty brisket and creamy mashed potatoes that are so yummy. 

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Carhenge Alliance

Also, don’t forget you’ve got one of Nebraska’s most iconic art installations closely, entitled ‘Carhenge‘. Think of it as a modern take on Stonehenge in England. It’s a wonderful place to see, just out of Alliance, located in the Sandhills.

Honestly, it’s in the middle of a wide-open field, making it very hard to miss.

3.) Cowboy Trail

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Wauneta Outdoors

The Cowboy Trail is one of the longest trails in Nebraska, spanning around 195 miles between Valentine and Norfolk. It’s one of the best places in Nebraska to visit if you want to hike or ramble in this beautiful state.

Now, don’t get too daunted, you don’t have to walk the whole 195 miles! Choose parts of the trails and take sections during your trip to Nebraska. This way, you can see everything you want, without wasting lots of time on spots you’re not too bothered about. 

One thing to note, there are very few restrooms along the trail, especially in some sections. So plan your pee breaks wisely. Now, we love the newer sections between Valentine and Norfolk. However, like I said, choose the sections you like most. 

Read more: Best places to see in Colorado

4.) Omaha

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Omaha

Not too far from the Iowa state border, Omaha is one of the best places in Nebraska to visit when driving Highway 80. It’s one of the largest cities in Nebraska and you can easily spend a few days exploring the city itself. 

After arriving, make sure to stop by the Old Market neighbourhood. Contrary to its ‘old’ name, this area is as young as it gets. The neighbourhood surrounding is filled with heaps to see and do. Make sure to take a stroll around Gene Leahy Mall or Conagra Lake. It’s a stunning park in the city and well worth visiting on a sunny day.

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Marjorie K Daugherty Conservatory Omaha

Afterwards, head over to Lauritzen Gardens for the gorgeous botanic gardens and make a stop at the Durham Museum, too. The latter is built within a former railroad station that has been renovated into a museum which you can visit all year round. Once inside, you’ll be able to explore heaps of exhibitions including; Pulitzer Prize photographs, the Trans Mississippi Exposition and so much more.

For a tasty brew, head over to Upstream Brewing Company which serves local ales and some proper pub grub, too. Their pork chops are delicious. Alternatively, if you prefer seafood for dinner, then head over to Plank Seafood Provisions. Their lobster rolls are so good.

Read more: Best things to do in Denver

5.) Lincoln

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit State Capitol of Nebraska Lincoln

The capital of Nebraska, Lincoln is well worth visiting as you head further west beyond Omaha. You see, it’s perfectly situated on Highway 80 and a great spot for an overnight stay.

Once here, make sure to check out the State Capitol that’s almost 100 years old. Best of all, you can join free guided tours that start at the North Entrance of the State Capitol (on the second floor). There are tours, on the hour on most days.

Afterwards, head over to the Museum of American Speed which is on the fringes of Lincoln. It’s an incredible museum to visit if you’re a fan of automotive history. Visits will take around 90 minutes and it’s so incredible. 

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Lincoln Memorial Stadium Football

If you love American Football, head over to the Memorial Stadium that’s been around for over 100 years. The energy is incredible and it’s well worth getting tickets if you’re staying in Lincoln for a few days. 

Getting hungry? Head over to Yia Yia’s for one of their yummy pizza slices. Their buffalo pizza is everything. 

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6.) Court and Jail house Rock

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Jail Rock Nebraska Panhandle

Not too far from the town of Bridgeport, Court and Jailhouse Rock is a lovely area to visit as you want to stretch your legs and head out hiking in Nebraska. 

You see, for hundreds of years, these rocks acted as a landmark for pioneers who would cross the Great Plains. Nowadays, the area has a heap of different trails 

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Courthouse Jail Rocks

However, one thing to remember; take plenty of water, sunblock and snacks with you. There is very little in terms of facilities once you arrive. 

7.) Ashland

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Holy Family Shrine

Ashland is one of the best places in Nebraska to visit when driving between Omaha and Lincoln. You see, you’ll be able to stop off at the Holy Family Shrine (just outside Ashland) to see one of the most unique churches in the state. It’s beautiful and well worth visiting for a peaceful stroll. 

Afterwards, head on over to the Strategic Air and Space Museum. It is home to some of the most extensive collections of Cold War aircraft and artefacts. It was first opened in 1959 and was just a strategic air command. Nowadays, the museum has flourished in size and you can see so many incredible pieces of history here.

Just make sure to give yourself at least two hours to see it all. 

8.) McConaughy Lake

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Lake McConaughy

Just off Highway 80, McConaughy Lake is a great stopping place for an afternoon trip in Nebraska. 

Now, McConaughy Lake is perfect if you fancy a little chilled time while visiting Nebraska. After arriving, you’ll be able to head out boating or on jet skis (from Big Mac Marina) that are so much fun. Not only that, it’s the perfect place to camp or park your RV if you’re planning on spending more time in the wider area. 

Just make sure to arrive with a picnic and snacks; there’s not too much in terms of restaurants once you arrive.

Read more: Cheapest cities in the US to visit

9.) Smith Falls State Park

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Smith Falls

Home to the tallest waterfall in Nebraska, Smith Falls is one stunning spot you have to visit when exploring the northerly fringes of Nebraska. 

You can easily spend a few hours walking around, and the views of Smith Falls are just beautiful. Best of all, lots of the paths are accessible. This makes it easier to visit, even if you have reduced mobility. 

It’s so worth visiting; though make sure to pack some bug spray in the summer months. You will get bitten. 

10.) Nebraska National Forest

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Nebraska Sandhills Nebraska National Forest

Not too far from the town of Chadron, Nebraska National Forest is incredible to visit if you love the great outdoors. You see, it encompasses well over 200 square miles of forest, with heaps of trails to hike. 

Not only that, you can easily visit Chadron State Park that’s right next door to the Nebraska National Forest area. 

Just be sure to give yourself at least a few days to truly slow down and explore this unspoilt natural region of Nebraska. The landscapes are stunning. 

Read more: Best places to see in Wyoming

11.) Fort Kearny State Historical Park

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Fort Kearny

If you’re interested in pioneer history, then you’ll want to visit Fort Kearny State Historical Park. Once here, you’ll get to learn all about the Oregon Trail and how many settlers passed through this area on their journey west. 

Visits will take around 50 minutes and it’s so easy to stop as you drive along Highway 80. 

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12.) North Platte

Best Places In Nebraska To Visit Historic Canteen District North Platte

For a great day trip in Nebraska, head over to the city of North Platte. Although relatively small, you’ll get to explore the Buffalo Bill Ranch. This was the very ranch where Buffalo Bill owned. Nowadays, you can head inside and explore which is well worth doing if you’re interested in the life of Buffalo Bill. 

Afterwards, head over to the historic Canteen District. From here, you’ll be able to hop into some of the local cafes, bars and independent stores that line the streets. We loved Good Life on the Bricks, which is something of an institution in Nebraska.

It’s a totally unfussy spot for lunch and they serve up the tastiest brisket and mac and cheese around. 

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