While Nebraska is definitely a picturesque place and a photographer’s dream, there are some wonders that you just have to see in person to get the full effect. These beautiful places are too spectacular to capture properly in photographs.
1. Snake River Falls
It may not be the tallest waterfall in Nebraska, but it's the largest by volume. You don't really understand how powerful this place can be until you're standing there, hearing the water rush.
2. State capitol building
This marvelous piece of architecture is pretty in pictures, but absolutely breathtaking in person. I've been there plenty of times and I still get a little chill when looking at all of the amazing art and architectural details built into the interior.
3. Nebraska National Forest
Affectionately known to Nebraskans as the only national forest where you can get a sunburn even in the most heavily-wooded area, this place is lovely and unique. It's also the largest hand-planted forest in the U.S., so there's some interesting history to go along with the beautiful sights.
4. The bluffs, buttes, and rock formations of western Nebraska
It would have felt wrong to list only the big names like Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff Monument. Truly, this entire area is full of incredible geological wonders that most people would never expect to see in Nebraska.
5. Toadstool Geologic Park
One place that
does get its own mention is Toadstool Geologic Park. No matter how many pictures of this place you pore over, there's no way to prepare yourself for its stunning otherworldly beauty.
6. Ashfall Fossil Beds
Visiting Ashfall is an experience you'll never forget. You're actually looking back through history at a moment that's been frozen in time forever. These animals all perished after a huge volcanic eruption in Idaho more than 12 million years ago, and they lay here now in exactly the places they were when they died.
7. Homestead National Monument
It's one thing to learn about homesteaders and pioneers in history books; it's another to actually visit this monument in its pristine setting. The 100-acre tallgrass prairie restoration is something you really must see; it provides a real sense of connection to many previous generations of Nebraskans.
Beloved by some and reviled by others, Carhenge is one of Nebraska's most recognizable attractions. This Stonehenge replica built entirely of cars is neat to look at in pictures but, like the actual Stonehenge, is much better when seen in person.
9. Holy Family Shrine
If you've seen this little shrine lit up from the highway near Gretna, you know how magical it looks from a distance. Seeing it up close and in person is an experience you'll never forget.
10. Lake McConaughy
Nebraska's largest lake happens to be exceptionally lovely. Whether it's in the middle of the day with the sun glinting brilliantly off of the water or at sunset when the lake is painted with golden reflections, this is a place you need to see.
11. Nebraska Star Party
This annual gathering at Merritt Reservoir (near Valentine) shows off Nebraska's night sky in all its glory. Amateur and experienced astronomy enthusiasts are welcome. Getting away from light pollution and seeing the stars as they were meant to be seen is a singularly amazing experience.
Whether natural or man-made, Nebraska is overflowing with spectacular sights. If you need even more inspiration for things to do and see in the Cornhusker State, check out our
ultimate bucket list for everyone in Nebraska.