Nebraskans have gotten used to being called “cornhuskers” or “tree planters”–-just don’t call them boring. A mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, the state helps American’s rediscover their pioneering spirit by offering up up hiking, fishing, camping, and even rock-climbing opportunities. And while the bulk of Nebraska is rural, urban adventurers can find plenty to do––or see, or eat, or shop––in cultural centers such as Omaha or Lincoln, the state’s capital.
History enthusiasts can follow in the footsteps of the nation’s most famous explorers on the Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway, which runs from Omaha to Sioux City and past such sites as the Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge and Fort Atkinson State Historical Park. From Sioux City west to Valentine, travelers find themselves traversing the Outlaw Trail, a 231-mile stretch that once housed the rumored hideout of Jessie James. One of the best things to do along the way is to stop for canoeing, kayaking, or tubing along the Niobrara River, where rafters can spot mink, beaver, and white-tailed deer. Of course, no guide to Nebraska’s natural wonders would be complete without recommending a stop at Smith Falls, famous for the waterfall that cascades 70 feet down it’s sandstone cliff.
Back in civilization, residents of Lincoln satisfy their need for speed year-round at the Museum of American Speed, which houses the largest collection of racing engines and vintage speed equipment in the world. While in town, learn to skeet-shoot at the Lincoln Trap & Skeet Club or take a tour of the antique stores and art galleries lining the city’s Historic Haymarket District. Families will find plenty to do in Omaha including a visit to the Henry Doorly Zoo, known for its work breeding endangered species, or a show at the Omaha Community Playhouse, the largest community theater in the country.