We all know that spending time outdoors is pretty much required when you live in Nebraska – why wouldn’t you want to be outside in all this natural beauty? But getting out and being active can be a challenge when you’ve got little ones in tow or have limited mobility. These are some of the many outdoorsy adventures that people with varying ability levels can have in Nebraska.
1. Enjoy wildlife from the car.
The Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari in Ashland lets you scope out some fascinating animals without ever leaving your car. Of course, if you do want to get out, there are some special sections of the park that you can only get to on foot.
2. Plant yourself on a park bench and watch the world go by.
Or bring a great book and get your daily dose of vitamin D while you read.
3. Go tubing or tanking on a river.
For the most part, you can just plop down in a tube or climb into a tank and then simply relax for the next couple of hours as the current takes you on a river tour. It's a great way to see the surroundings without actually putting in a lot of effort.
4. Watch a rushing river.
Even if you can't get out onto the water, just watching it is so soothing and peaceful. Sit on the banks and think about all of the places that water has been and all of the places it's going. It's a very calming activity.
5. Have a laid-back zoo day.
Can't handle the huge crowds and the hours and hours of walking at the Omaha zoo? The Lincoln Children's Zoo is another amazing place to see a variety of animals, but it's small enough that you can actually see it all in a day. Be sure to take a ride on the train - The Iron Horse - for the full experience.
6. Have a sweet little picnic.
Is there anything nicer than sitting outside on a blanket with your littles and your love, noshing on a meal and watching nature? We don't think so.
7. Go birdwatching.
If you want to get fancy, you can bring along some binoculars or a camera with a good telephoto lens. But all you really need for birdwatching in Nebraska is your eyes - birds are everywhere, and they're all so fun to watch.
8. Watch a brewing storm.
Nebraska storms are the absolute best. This is a picture from the same storm we featured in
You may not get to see one this epic very often, but any Nebraska storm is fun to watch.
9. Take a short walk in nature.
We have thousands of miles of walking trails in Nebraska, and there's nothing saying you have to walk the WHOLE trail. The boardwalk at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue is one of the many great places to take a nature stroll in Nebraska that won't put too much of a physical strain on you.
10. Watch a stunning sunset.
Or sunrise, if you're inclined to be up at that hour. Either way, Nebraska is blessed with some of the finest dusks and dawns in the country.
11. Walk through pre-history.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is an outstanding place to visit, and while you're there you have your pick of two short and easy trails to walk. There's the Daemonelix Trail which is 1.6 miles, or the paved Fossil Hills Trail which is 2.7 miles and wheelchair accessible.
12. Drive one of our many scenic byways.
If we're being liberal with the term "outdoorsy" and use it to mean "being out of the house and looking at the outdoors," driving a scenic byway is the perfect easy activity. Check out
this great list
of scenic drives in Nebraska.
13. Hop on the Discovery Ride at Arbor Day Farm.
Don't get us wrong - walking the Tree Adventure trail is amazing. But if you need something a little less strenuous, buy a ticket for the Discovery Ride, which will take you through some stunning places. A knowledgeable tour guide will fill you in on tons of nature information. In season, you'll even get to stop off and pick an apple to eat on the ride back.
14. Rent a paddle boat.
This is a great activity to do with kids - just make them do all the paddling. You can find paddle boats at many recreation lakes throughout Nebraska, including Mahoney State Park in Ashland (pictured), Cottonmill Lake in Kearney, and Chadron State Park, among others.
15. Stroll through a public park or garden.
There is the perfect place for a short, lovely walk in almost every town and city in the state. Pictured is the War Memorial - Legion Park & Memorial Gardens in Sidney.
Obviously, there will be some people who aren’t able to do some of these activities, but there are a lot of options for people of all levels of fitness and mobility. You never have to look far in Nebraska for something wonderful to fill up your day.