Nebraska is an absolutely fantastic state, and one we definitely recommend visiting. Whether you prefer museums, historic sites, or outdoor recreation, there is something for you in this wonderful place. In fact, there’s so much to see and do, you might even feel a bit overwhelmed when trying to sort through it all. This is why we recommend creating a Nebraska bucket list.
A bucket list allows you to sort through ideas and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. It also helps ensure you see and do those things that are most important to you.
What is a Bucket List?
If you’re curious about making a Nebraska bucket list but aren’t quite sure yet what that means, let’s clear it up for you now: A bucket list is simply a collection of things you want to do before you pass away. A travel bucket list for a specific state is exactly the same thing, but focuses only on places to visit and things to do in that state.
In today’s article we will show you our Nebraska bucket list. Hopefully this will give you some bucket list ideas to add to your own collection. From there, you can expand upon your Nebraska travel list to ensure you include everything that is important to you.
— Bucket List Vacations: Nebraska’s National Parks —
National parks and other sites run by the National Parks Service always make it onto our bucket lists. The NPS sites in Nebraska are some good ones, so you’ll definitely want to consider adding a few to your Nebraska bucket list.
#1. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Fossils are fascinating things, and the fossils found at Agate Fossil Beds are some of the most fascinating of all.
In the early 1900s, full skeletons of extinct Miocene mammals were found here. Before this, these animals were only known through bits and pieces of skeletons, so you can imagine what an incredible discovery this was.
See the amazing fossils found here and learn about the animals of the past.
#2. Homestead National Historical Park
In 1862, the Homestead Act changed the history of America forever. Families, immigrants, single women, and even freed slaves were invited to file claims and create homesteads of their own. Unfortunately, this was land that was inhabited by Native Americans and it was snatched from them, interrupting their way of life.
Learn about the good and the bad that came from the changes the Homestead Act put into effect at Homestead National Historical Park.
#3. Missouri National Recreational River
There’s nothing quite so beautiful and majestic as a strong and powerful river cutting through the land. Witness this for yourself when you visit Missouri National Recreational River. Whether you choose to fish, swim, or kayak, you’re sure to appreciate the beauty of this amazing place.
#4. Niobrara National Scenic River
Possibly even more beautiful than the Missouri National Recreational River is the Niobrara National Scenic River. Enjoy the power and beauty of this amazing Nebraskan beauty as you float the river, go canoeing, head out for a hike, or just sit and watch the local wildlife.
Whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to have a magical time!
#5. Scotts Bluff National Monument
For hundreds of years, Scotts Bluff has served as a landmark for people traveling through what is now known as Nebraska. This beautiful rock formation towers 800 feet above the North Platte River, and in addition to playing a big role in human history, it is also rich in geological and paleontological history.
#6. National Historic Trails
We mustn’t forget to mention the amazing historical trails that meander and criss-cross throughout the state. Use the visitor centers and landmarks along these trails to learn more about our country’s amazing history:
- Lewis and Clark
- Mormon Pioneer
- Pony Express
— More Nebraska Bucket List Experiences —
Looking for more awesome experiences in Nebraska? Not to worry, we’ve collected several for you in the section below. Check out these options, choose your favorites, and start building that list right away!
#7. Stroll the Sunken Gardens
An absolutely beautiful garden with lovely fragrances to boot, the Sunken Gardens were built in 1930 as a project for unemployed men. Today, the place is maintained by an army of volunteers and serves as a gorgeous escape for those looking to take a stroll surrounded by the beauty of nature.
#8. Explore the Lauritzen Gardens
Another amazing garden, the Lauritzen Gardens is well worth visiting. Here you’ll find over 100 acres of beautifully manicured hills and gardens, including a four-season botanical garden and an arboretum. Be sure to check out the children’s garden and the model railroad garden if you have little ones in tow!
#9. Visit the Henry Doorly Zoo
The Henry Doorly Zoo is widely known as one of the world’s biggest and best zoos. The attraction houses over 950 amazing animal species in some of the largest exhibits out there. The “Lied Jungle” building is especially spectacular, covering 1.5 acres.
That said, we are particularly fond of the incredible “Desert Dome” building, as well as the aquarium.
#10. Dine at Runza
No trip to Nebraska is complete without at least one meal at Runza. Fortunately, this local fast food chain can be found in almost every town in the state, meaning it won’t be too hard to locate one.
We recommend trying the classic Runza sandwich with a side of onion rings—or if you have a hard time choosing, a side of “frings,” which combines those onion rings with some crinkle-cut fries. You won’t regret it!
#11. Catch a Game at Memorial Stadium
Memorial Stadium is the place where some of the most exciting college football game day experiences in the country go down. It holds the NCAA record of 349 consecutive sellouts since 1962, an astounding feat that you will fully understand when you attend a game there.
#12. Discover the Platte River Road Archway Monument
Honoring the role that Nebraska and the Platte River played in America’s expansion to the west, the Platte River Road Archway is an excellent road trip stop. The archway is about 300 feet wide and set above the busy I-80 highway. Inside, visitors will be taken on an engaging journey through our country’s history.
#13. Admire Art at the Joslyn Art Museum
The main focus at the Joslyn Art Museum is 19th- and 20th-century American and European art. That said, the museum also features Greek pottery, American Western art, traveling exhibits, and a beautiful sculpture garden. Art enthusiasts will want to make sure to add this stop to their to-do list.
#14. Try a “Cheese Frenchee” Sandwich
Another Nebraskan food that all visitors should try is the cheese frenchee. This is a delicious and melty grilled cheese sandwich that is battered and deep fried. No, it isn’t the healthiest thing in the world, but it is 100% yummy.
#15. Learn at the Durham Museum
Located in the former Union Station in downtown Omaha, the Durham Museum is a wonderful place to wander, explore, and learn something new. The exhibits preserve and present the story of our country’s past and include some amazing artifacts such as restored train cars, reconstructed 1940s storefronts, and one of the world’s rarest coins.
#16. Go Wild at the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari
The Henry Doorly Zoo we mentioned earlier is fantastic, but those looking for a drive-through experience might prefer the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari. Here, you can drive through four miles of park, checking out native North American animals such as bison, elk, and white tailed deer as you go.
#17. Have a Slice of Raisin Pie
Ever heard of raisin pie? We hadn’t either until we visited Nebraska. This pie is apparently popular in the midwest, and although it sounds a bit odd, it is well worth trying, especially if you can get a slice that was baked by a loving grandma.
#18. See Animals at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo
Yes, we are adding another zoo to our list. This one is especially good for families with small children. It is smaller than the zoo mentioned above, meaning less walking for little legs, and attractions such as a train and animal encounter shows make visiting an exciting experience for children.
#19. Wander at Pioneer Courage Park
Go for a walk and admire bronze sculptures representing the pioneer history of the area at Pioneer Courage Park. You’ll see bison, geese, and many more, and all of the sculptures offer perfect photo opportunities.
#20. Gaze at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral
An absolutely gorgeous place, St. Cecilia’s Cathedral should be visited whether you’re religious or not. The building was designed in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style and is very unique, especially considering when it was built.
#21. Enjoy Chili and Cinnamon Rolls
Yes, combining chili and cinnamon rolls does seem absolutely bizarre. It’s surprisingly good though, so don’t knock it until you try it. The way the cinnamon flavor mixes with the chili is just perfect, making it the ideal warming meal on a cold day.
#22. Time Travel at Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park
Colonel William F. Cody first opened a show that was similar to a rodeo in north Platte in 1882. He called this show Old Glory Blowout, and this was the beginning of the famous Buffalo Bill. Visit Cody’s ranch, which is now a state park that is open for the public to come learn about the man and his work.
#23. Blast Off at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum
See the largest collection of Cold War artifacts and aircraft in the US as you wander the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum. Check out iconic airplanes as well as the Apollo Command Space Module, along with a collection of artifacts belonging to a local astronaut.
#24. Get Hands-On at Lincoln Children’s Museum
Traveling with kids? We highly recommend a stop at the Lincoln Children’s Museum. Here your little ones can play, build, and climb, all while learning about the world. Kids adore the mini theater, the prairie dog tunnels, and the tiny town where they can pretend to be adults.
#25. Have Fun at the Omaha Children’s Museum
Another fantastic museum for kids can be found in Omaha. The Omaha Children’s Museum is filled to the brim with hands-on activities that encourage kids to get creative, think outside of the box, and problem-solve. Your kids will love creating art at the community sculpture and art island, and playing with wind, air, and water in the Super Gravitron.
#26. See the Omaha Old Market
Shopping local is one of the very best things you can do to get a feel for a place while visiting. The Omaha Old Market allows you to do just that. Visit local shops, galleries, pubs, and eateries in this lively neighborhood. Be sure to stop and admire the work of street artists and musicians along the way!
#27. Step Back in Time at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer
If you’ve ever wanted to go back in time, now is your chance. The Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer features a whole pioneer village that is just waiting to be explored. Don your best pioneer garb (or don’t) and chat with costumed interpreters who are happy to share everything they know about the time period.
It’s pretty clear that Nebraska is a wonderful place. The biggest issue is going to be finding places to stay near all of the amazing sites you’ve added to your Nebraska bucket list. For this, we recommend a Nebraska RV rental.
Staying in an RV allows you to easily hop from one place to another, giving you freedom and comfort no matter where you roam. Why not check out our Nebraska RV rental units today to find one that suits your needs and style?