We’ve all felt it: the frustration with everyday life, the digital overload, the need to get away and just relax for a little while. There are about a thousand places you could go in Nebraska for a quick, restorative getaway, but we’re focusing on one today: a weekend in Valentine. Take out an old-fashioned paper map, mark down your route, and then put away your phone and computer. You’re going offline for a couple of days.
Arrive in Valentine on Friday evening so you have the entire weekend to enjoy the sights and activities.
Check in at your chosen accommodations.
There are a ton of fantastic hotels, motels, lodges, and campgrounds in and around Valentine. The cabins at
Niobrara River Ranch
are a highly rated favorite of frequent visitors.
If you want to completely disconnect,
Heartland Elk Guest Ranch
is a good choice. With no TVs and no wifi in the cabins, you'll be able to relax with no distractions.
Get a good night's sleep, then get up and explore the town.
There are a few very nice shops in town, including
Plains Trading Company Booksellers
on Main Street. The independently-owned bookstore is a rarity these days, and shopping here will take you back in time. Pick up a good book to read later while you're unwinding.
Head to the
Prairie Club for lunch in the Caprock Room.
Overlooking the gorgeous grounds of this golf club, the restaurant serves "meat and potatoes, with a little flair."
If you're a golfer, stick around to play on one of three courses. But if you aren't into golfing, head back to your cabin for some reading and a nice, luxurious nap. You deserve it.
Grab dinner at the Peppermill.
This Valentine institution serves some of Nebraska's most beloved steaks and burgers. Eat, drink, and be merry - you're on vacation.
Then it's back to your cabin for some rest before your second day.
Sleep in a bit, but then get ready for adventure.
Tubing, tanking, canoeing, or kayaking on the Niobrara is definitely the highlight of staying in Valentine.
Depending on where you're staying, your hosts may provide the equipment and transportation needed to set off on an all-day river adventure. (Both accommodations mentioned above provide this service.) If you stay somewhere that isn't a licensed outfitter, the staff will definitely be able to recommend an outfitter. Tip: plan this part of your trip in advance and book your river tour ahead of time. Some days can fill up fast, particularly in the summer.
Enjoy a leisurely float down the river.
The Niobrara is shallow and peaceful, letting you enjoy the breathtaking scenery no matter which type of vessel you chose to travel in.
Depending on the company and tour you choose, you can see wildlife at the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge...
...And Nebraska's tallest waterfall, Smith Falls.
After your journey, your tour guides will pick you up and take you back to your car.
By this time you'll probably be exhausted, so it's time to check out of your cabin, go home, and take one more nice long nap before the real world starts to grab hold of you again.
Although Valentine isn’t convenient enough for everyone in the state to make it there for a weekend, we highly recommend making the time to visit. It’s a charming mix of small town and untamed Nebraska wilderness – and there’s plenty more to do there than we’ve mentioned here. Tell us – what would you add to this trip to make it even more special?