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 on the cob, Nebraska is the place for you. It's a foodie kingdom, to be sure, but it's also absolutely gorgeous to explore. All of this being said, it can be difficult to decide what are the best places to visit in Nebraska once you arrive.

Whether you're visiting on a dedicated trip, or as part of a larger road trip across the US, Nebraska is worth spending some time exploring. Even if you're driving down Highway 80, you can still see some of Nebraska's top spots relatively close.

So, to help you get the most out of your trip to Nebraska, I'm sharing our top spots you won't want to miss. Have a wonderful time visiting the US.

1.) Scotts Bluff National Monument

At an elevation of around 800 feet, Scotts Bluff is one of the best places to visit in Nebraska. In fact, it is one of the most iconic natural spots in the state and a spectacular sight to behold.

Now, it's best to explore Scotts Bluff National Monument We head west, to Wyoming. You see, it's relatively close to the western border of Nebraska and easy to visit while on a long drive.

The site is worth a visit, especially since it served as a landmark for emigrants heading west from the Great Plains of Nebraska.

Once here, be sure to follow the trails to see Eagle Rock and see some of the iconic Conestoga wagons right on the prairie. It is a wonderful place to explore and worth visiting for an hour or two.

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2.) Attachment

Located in the Great Plains of Nebraska, Alliance is a relatively small town that is perfect for an afternoon excursion.

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

Once in town, be sure to visit Alliance Night Museum which shares the history of settlers in the surrounding area and American Indian history. It is free to enter and the visit will take about 30 minutes.

For lunch, be sure to grab a table at Kane and Delany. They serve delicious brisket and creamy mashed potatoes that are very tasty.

Plus, don't forget you have one of Nebraska's most iconic art installations, titledCarhenge' Think of it as a modern take on Stonehenge in England. It is a wonderful place to visit, located in the Sandhills, just outside Alliance.

Honestly, it's in the middle of a wide-open field, which makes it pretty hard to miss.

3.) Cowboy Trail

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

Now, fear not, you don't have to walk the entire 195 miles! Pick and choose sections of trails during your trip to Nebraska. That way, you can see everything you want without wasting too much time on places you don't really care about.

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

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4.) Omaha

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

Upon arrival, make sure to stop by the Old Market neighborhood. Contrary to its 'old' name, this area is as young as it gets. The surrounding area is full of heaps to see and do. Be sure to take a stroll around Jean Leahy Mall Or Lake Conagra. It is a fantastic park in the city and worth a visit on a sunny day.

Afterwards, head to the Lauritzen Gardens for the gorgeous Botanic Gardens and also stop at the Durham Museum. The latter is built inside a former railroad station that has been renovated into a museum that you can visit all year round. Once inside, you will be able to explore heaps of exhibits which include; Pulitzer Prize photographs, the Trans Mississippi Exposition and more.

For a delicious brew, head over Upstream Brewing Company Which also serves local ales and some decent pub grub. Their pork chops are delicious. Alternatively, if you prefer seafood for dinner, then go ahead Plank Seafood Provisions. Their lobster rolls are very good.

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5.) Lincoln

Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska, is worth a visit as you head west beyond Omaha. You see, it's perfectly situated on Highway 80 and a great place for an overnight stay.

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

Afterwards, go up Museum of American Speed which is on the edge of Lincoln. This is a fantastic museum to visit if you are a fan of automotive history. The visit will take about 90 minutes and is incredible.

If you love American football, head to the Memorial Stadium which has been around for over 100 years. The energy is amazing and it's worth getting a ticket if you're staying in Lincoln for a few days.

Hungry? Head on Yia Yiani For one of their delicious pizza slices. Their buffalo pizza is everything.

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6.) Court and Jail House Rock

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

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

However, remember one thing; Take plenty of water, sunblock and snacks with you. Once you arrive there is very little in terms of amenities.

7.) Ashland

Ashland is a great place to visit in Nebraska when driving between Omaha and Lincoln. You see, you can close on this Holy Family Temple (outside of Ashland) to see one of the most unique churches in the state. It is worth visiting for a beautiful and peaceful stroll.

Afterwards, go up Strategic Air and Space Museum. It is home to some of the most extensive collections of Cold War aircraft and artifacts. It was first opened in 1959 and was only a tactical air command. Nowadays, the museum has grown in size and you can see many incredible pieces of history here.

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

8.) Lake McConaughey

McConaughey Lake is a great stopping point for an afternoon tour of Nebraska, just off Highway 80.

Now, Lake McConaughey is perfect if you prefer some cool weather while visiting Nebraska. Upon arrival, you can go sailing or jet skis (from Big Mac Marina) which are great fun. Not only that, it is a perfect place to camp or park your RV if you are planning to spend more time in the wide area.

Just be sure to bring a picnic and snacks; Once you arrive there isn't much in terms of restaurants.

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9.) Smith Falls State Park

Home to the tallest waterfall in Nebraska, Smith Falls is a spectacular place you must visit while exploring Nebraska's northern coast.

You can easily spend a few hours hiking around, and the views of Smith Falls are simply beautiful. Best of all, many trails are accessible. This makes visiting easy even if you have reduced mobility.

It is well worth a visit; Be sure to pack some bug spray in the summer months though. You will be bitten.

10.) Nebraska National Forest

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

Not only that, you can visit easily Chadron State Park It is adjacent to a Nebraska National Forest area.

Be sure to give yourself at least a few days to really slow down and explore this unspoiled natural region of Nebraska. The landscapes are stunning.

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11.) Fort Kearney State Historical Park

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

Visits take about 50 minutes and are easy enough to stop by as you drive along Highway 80.

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12.) North Plate

For a great day trip to Nebraska, head to North Platte City. Although relatively small, you will be able to explore the Buffalo Bill Ranch. This was the same ranch that Buffalo Bill owned. Nowadays, you can dive in and explore what's worth doing if you're interested in the life of a Buffalo Bill.

Afterwards, head to the historic Canteen District. From here, you'll be able to hop into some of the local cafes, bars and independent stores lining the streets. we loved A good life on bricksWhich is something of an institution in Nebraska.

It's a totally unfussy spot for lunch and serves the tastiest brisket and mac and cheese around.

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