Everyone needs a vacation once in a while, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money – or even leave the state! There are plenty of fun, unique vacations to take right here in Nebraska. From scenic road trips to tubing excursions, here are 11 vacations that everyone from Nebraska should take at least once in their lives.
1. The Nebraska Sandhills
This ecologically unique area is unlike any other place in Nebraska. Take the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway (Hwy 2) for a truly beautiful ride through the area.
2. Toadstool Geologic Park, near Crawford
This total gem of a natural attraction features rock formations that look like they belong on another planet.
3. Lake McConaughy, near Ogallala
Nebraska's largest lake features more than 100 miles of sandy shoreline. The man-made lake is surrounded by some serious natural beauty, and there's nothing quite like a sunset over this water.
4. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, near Harrison
This monument is known as the site of some pretty major fossil finds. Today, there are displays of fossils as well as Native American artifacts. But even if you aren't interested in history, the landscape is simply lovely.
5. Indian Cave State Park, Shubert
The name can be misleading, since the cave is far from the only thing to see here. The park's wild woods are exceptional for hiking or horseback riding, but what you'll always remember is the breathtaking view.
6. Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha
Omaha's zoo was voted the best in the world, and after you've spent a day there it's easy to see why. It's definitely worth the trip from anywhere in the state!
7. Niobrara National Scenic River, north-central Nebraska
Everyone knows that the Niobrara is the place to be for tubing, tanking, and other river fun, but it also happens to be exceptionally beautiful. How can you not be impressed by that view?!
8. Smith Falls State Park, near Valentine
While you're enjoying the Niobrara, stop by this pristine park to view Nebraska's tallest waterfall. It's a hike in/hike out or boat in/boat out park with some of the best hiking in the state.
9. Ashfall Fossil Beds, near Royal
Some 12 million years ago, a volcano erupted in Idaho - an event that dumped one to two feet of ash in Nebraska. Animals here breathed in the harmful ash and died off. Today, UNL keeps Ashfall open to the public for education and entertainment. Lucky us!
10. The Nebraska State Capitol Building, Lincoln
This marvelous building is impressive on the outside but incredible on the inside. The interior is so opulently appointed that it's almost impossible to walk out unimpressed.
11. Sunken Gardens, Lincoln
Does a park in the middle of the city really deserve a spot on your bucket list? This one does. It's hard to explain the feeling of serenity you feel while walking through the gardens, but maybe it has something to do with this being a decades-old community-supported project that so many people have poured their love into.
Now the hard part is choosing where to go first! What are some of your favorite vacation destinations in Nebraska?