Camping Gems - Nebraska
With more than 100 miles of shoreline, Nebraska's largest lake offers tremendous fishing, boating, swimming, and other water sports. Set just north of Ogallala, the 30,000-acre lake has plenty of white sandy beaches for relaxation, terrific boating, and some of the best trout fishing in western Nebraska.
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, Omaha
Led by Brigham Young, roughly 70,000 Mormons traveled along the Mormon Trail from 1846 to 1869 in order to escape religious persecution. The Pioneer Company of 1846-1847 established a route from Illinois to Salt Lake City, covering about 1,300 miles. You can explore the trail by visiting one of Nebraska's sites:the Omaha Winter Quarters Complex, the Alda Murdock Site, the Sutherland Sand Hill Ruts, and the Broadwater Ancient Bluff Ruins.
Mormon Island State Recreation Area
Located just south of Grand Island, this is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to experience Nebraskan natural beauty. The Mormon Island State Recreation Area is part of what is called the "Chain of Lakes." Three lakes (ranging from 19 to 42 acres) make up this area, offering fabulous bass and bluegill fishing, boating, and hiking.
Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historic Park, North Platte
Visiting Buffalo Bill's home, Scout's Rest, will give you a chance to learn more about his colorful history, and view some of the family's original furniture, the Ice House, and Cob House. Also on the grounds is the restored barn which now serves as the museum with exhibits of Cody's Wild West exhibition posters, saddles, and memorabilia.(2921 Scouts Rest Ranch Rd, 308-535-8035, open April 1-Oct 31)
Joslyn Castle, Omaha
Get a taste of how George and Sarah Joslyn lived during the 1920s in their Scotch-Baronial castle. The tour of this lavish home includes a mosaic-lined vestibule, a wrought-iron door that weighs a ton, and a carved Spanish mahogany staircase. (3902 Davenport St, 402-595-2199)
Fort Atkinson State Historic Park, Fort Calhoun
A trip to Fort Atkinson will give you a chance to see a reconstructed 1820s military fort near where Lewis and Clark first met with local Native American tribes. On the grounds are a visitor's center where you can view artifacts and a historical film. (East of Hwy. 75, 402-468-5611)
Harold Warp Pioneer Village, Minden
Here you will find 10 historic buildings and 20 more buildings stuffed full of neat items like a 1822 New York-made ox cart, a 1857 Studebaker freight wagon, a 1880 buckboard, and a 1867 Otto. The village contains an amazing 22,400-square-foot building full of neat antique cars. (246 E Highway 6, 308-832-1550; 800-445-4447)
Since its founding in 1882, Gothenburg has been proud of its strong Swedish heritage. This is an excellent place to enjoy Swedish pastries, ice skating on the lake or a trip to see a real sod house. You can stop by the Pony Express Station, see the Swedish crosses in the historic cemetery, or head to Lake Helen for a day of boating and sand volleyball.
War Axe State Recreation Area
Set in Nebraska's southern Frontier Trails region (near the is Shelton I-80 exchange), this 14-acre lake is a great place to get away from it all. Head there for bass fishing, canoeing, boating, and wildlife viewing.
This slow, gentle river meanders through Nebraska's scenic Sandhill region. Watch for river otters, beavers, muskrats, kingfishers, blue and green herons, waterfowl, long-billed curlews, and deer. You can also go fishing for catfish, pike, carp, and bass.
Camping Gems - Places to Eat in Nebraska
Zio's New York Style Pizzeria
Johnny's Italian Steakhouse
Mahogany of Omaha
Mia's Bongo Room
Nonnas Palazzo Restaurant
Thunderhead Brewing Company and Chicken Coop Bar
Camping Gems - Places to Go in Nebraska
Sandhill cranes call Grand Island their home for a brief time from mid-February through about the first week in April as they make their annual trip to northern nesting grounds. If you are traveling to Grand Island around the middle of March, you'll want to take one of the many Wings Over The Platte tours to see the more than 500,000 sandhill cranes and millions of other water fowl that migrate to the Platte River and adjoining wetlands.
Niobrara National Scenic River, Valentine
The Niobrara River drains over 12,000 square miles of the Sandhills, one of the largest stabilized dunefields in the world. Take a leisurely float on this outstanding Great Plains river in north-central Nebraska. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see pine-clad hills and prairie, numerous waterfalls, tall sandstone cliffs and wildlife like deer, bison, elk, beaver, mink, herons and kingfishers.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Harrison
The main attractions for most visitors include the dramatic displays in the Visitor Center showcasing ancient mammals that once roamed the American Plains, and the unique Cook Collection of American Indian artifacts. Short hikes from one to three miles let you explore the natural history of the Niobrara River Valley and its current and past wildlife.
Pony Express National Historic Trail
The Pony Express Trail was used by young men on fast horses to carry the nation's mail from Missouri to California in just ten days. The relay system played a vital role in aligning California with the Union in the years just before the Civil War. Learn more about the Pony Express with a visit to the Rock Creek Station in Fairbury or the Fort Churchill stop in Silver Springs.
Fort Kearny State Historical Park
The interpretive center, blacksmith-carpenter shop, powder magazine, and split log stockade will whisk you back to the 1800s. A visit to the Frank House will give you the chance to tour a 3- story mansion with a 5' by 10' Tiffany stained glass window, hand carved oak woodwork, and titled fireplaces. (308-234-9513)
Neale Woods Nature Center, Omaha
You'll find 7 miles of trails, an observatory, live animal exhibits, and nature displays at this Omaha nature center. Head there for the hiking and walking, but don't forget your camera! The area is open from August 30 to November 2 each year. (14323 Edith Marie Ave, 402-453-5615)
Chadron State Park
This 972-acre park sits at the heart of the Nebraska National Forest. This is a fabulous place to enjoy outdoor sports like swimming (in the pool) hiking and horseback riding on the trails, tennis, beach volleyball, crafts, mountain biking, fishing, and paddle boating on the lagoon.
Scotts Bluff National Monument, Gering
Towering eight hundred feet above the North Platte River, Scotts Bluff has been a natural landmark for many peoples, and it served as the path marker for those on the Oregon, California, Mormon, and Pony Express Trails. Explore the 3,000 acres of unusual land formations on foot or by car.
Nebraska National Forest
Explore Ponderosa pine forests, endless grasslands, and the gorgeous Nebraska Sandhills in the Nebraska National Forest. Look for wildflowers in the prairies, deer in the woods, and prairie dogs in the sandhills.
Bassway Strip Wildlife Management Area, Minden
Known to have some of the best fishing in the state, this area is a water lover's paradise. Set your line for bass or bluegill, both of which grow to incredible sizes here. Enjoy a picnic lunch, do some boating, or hike one of the many trails.
Camping Gems - Things to Do in Nebraska
Watch for Sandhill Cranes on Grand Island in the Platte River.
Fish from the white sand beaches of Lake McConaughy.
Hunt for fossilized treasures and bones at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument.
Head to the Pony Express National Historic Trail and see what it was like to be one of these heroic mail carriers.
Watch the blacksmith work at the Fort Kearny State Historical Park.
Step inside an authentic sod house in Gothenburg.
Go fishing for bass at Mormon Island.
Take a step back in time at Minden's Harold Warp Pioneer Village.
Tour the home of Buffalo Bill Cody at the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historic Park.
See the birds and animals at the Crane Meadows Nature Center.