Nebraska March 26, 2017
The 14 Places You Absolutely Must Visit In Nebraska This Spring
Nebraska is a special place to be all year, but it’s especially magical in spring when everything is quickly coming back to life. Some years it seems like someone just flips a switch; one day everything is brown and quiet and the next, there are splotches of bright green and tiny flower buds as far as you can see. To make the most of spring this year, get out and explore some of these special Nebraska places, listed here in no particular order.
1. Visit a rolling prairie.
Our restored and virgin prairies are particularly wonderful to see in the spring and summer. The Prairie Plains Resource Institute manages seven of Nebraska's beautiful prairies -
read more about them here
and plan out which one to visit first.
2. Take one of the best springtime hikes in the country.
In 2015, USA Today named Nebraska's Bison Trail one of the top 10 trails in the country for a spring hike. The trail runs between Toadstool Geologic Park and Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed and is three miles one-way.
Read more about it here
- and don't forget to visit the wonderful attractions on both ends of the hike, too!
3. Visit Victoria Springs, a natural oasis.
Victoria Springs State Recreation Area, near Anselmo, is a gorgeous oasis in the middle of the Sandhills. It's one of the oldest recreation areas in the state parks system, but it's been delighting visitors since long before Nebraska became a state.
Read more about this special oasis here.
4. Visit the magical little town of Fairbury.
The history, architecture, and beautiful natural scenery in Fairbury are so sweet and lovely that it can almost seem like a fairy tale town. It's a fantastic place to visit all year, but the parks are all leaping back to life now.
Read more here.
5. Go on a tree climbing adventure.
You may have never heard of "recreational tree climbing" before - at least not in this sense - but it turns out that it's a pretty popular activity. You can take part at Camp Fontanelle in eastern Nebraska.
Read more about this fun activity here.
6. Have a spiritual experience.
Many Nebraskans aren't familiar with Hinduism, so visiting this temple in Omaha could be an exercise in expanding the mind. The temple is stunning both inside and out, so it's worth a visit even if only for the aesthetics.
Read more about the temple here.
7. Visit the site of America's very first Homestead Act farm.
The Homestead Act of 1862 brought forth hardy pioneers who were willing to brave the vast, untamed expanses of Nebraska and try their hand at making a living here. The first of these brave souls to claim his free 160 acres was Daniel Freeman. Part of his homestead is now dedicated to the Homestead National Monument. Spring is a beautiful time to visit and observe the beautifully restored prairie land.
Read more about the monument and its history here.
8. Visit with the birds and the trees.
D. Lefevers/Only In Your State
The new Raptor Woodland Refuge at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue is a fun complex consisting of several lofted treehouse-type enclosures with a suspended walkway running between them all. You can walk around the path to see all of the raptors and then, if you want more adventure, go out into the forest for a day of strolling or hiking.
Find out more here.
9. Discover a secret garden in the city.
The gorgeous Garden of the Zodiac hasn't reached its full lush green magnificence yet, but spring is the perfect time to get a closer look at the statues. Later in the year, all of those beautiful, thick plants can obscure the unique sculptures.
Read more about the garden here.
10. Indulge your sweet tooth.
Walking around with a bag of sweets, watching people and enjoying the warmer weather, is such a great springtime experience. Licorice International, the fun and unique candy store in Lincoln, is the perfect place to grab your favorite treat before heading out for a day in the Haymarket.
Read more about the store here.
11. Visit a breathtaking nature preserve.
The Niobrara Valley Nature Preserve is one of Nebraska's most scenic and biologically diverse areas, and you can visit year-round. It's a special place in the spring as you get to see nature renewing itself and bringing fresh beauty to life.
Read more about it here.
12. Learn about cheese, then indulge your sweet tooth.
The UNL Dairy Store offers tours where you can watch their delicious cheese being made. You can buy a block or two to take home, but don't forget to stop off at the ice cream counter before you leave for your discounted "tour rate" cone. Their ever-changing menu of homemade flavors is the perfect treat for a sunny spring day.
Read more about the cheese tour here.
13. Drink in the scenery...and the wine.
SchillingBridge Winery and Microbrewery is located in southeastern Nebraska in a positively beautiful location. Go out for a visit, try some libations, and take a walk around the stunning, historic grounds for a special treat. Or go on a nice warm day and simply sit in the outdoor seating area and watch nature wake up.
Find more information here.
14. Visit this little town that's surrounded by natural beauty.
Whitney, between Crawford and Chadron on northwest Nebraska, is a tiny place with fewer than 80 residents. But it's got a big personality and even bigger natural beauty. The town itself is totally charming, and it also happens to be in an area that is completely surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty.
Read more about Whitney and its lovely surroundings here.
This is just a small selection of the endless adventures you can have in Nebraska this spring – there are lots and lots of springtime activities that aren’t mentioned here. What’s your go-to springtime activity? Share your ideas in the comments.