When assessing the sheer amount and variety of things to do in Nebraska, it becomes somewhat of a surprise that the state is still considered one of America’s less exciting places. The farmland stereotype is patently unfair, and is probably perpetuated only by those who travel across the state on I-80 without bothering to stop and explore. For those who do take time to enjoy the attractions in Nebraska, this is one of the more rewarding places in North America, with a diverse geography that fosters a range of Nebraska activities, and cities that make for excellent urban vacations.
For families vacationing in the state, a visit to a Nebraskan zoo is always ideal. The Henry Doorly Zoo in particular is worth seeking out, as it is often ranked as one of the best things to do in Nebraska (and, for that matter, America as a whole), the zoo includes a number of world-record breaking features. There’s the world’s largest man-made jungle, for example; a vast indoor sweatbox that’s home to leopards, monkeys, and pygmy hippopotamuses, amongst other species. Then there’s the Kingdoms of the Night attraction, which is considered the world’s largest nocturnal zoo exhibition (it’s housed in the world’s largest geodesic dome and includes the world’s largest indoor swamp, by the way).
The top urban attractions in Nebraska include the various museums waiting to be explored. The Museum of Nebraska History, for example, is considered a must-see attraction by many. As its name suggests, the museum charts the state’s rich history, with artifacts and anecdotes illustrating the stories of those who have made Nebraska their home over the years. Permanent exhibitions focus on the birth of the state, and on those consequently tasked with its political and infrastructural construction. Other noteworthy museums in Nebraska include the Joslyn Art Museum, and the space museum in Omaha.
The Old Market in Omaha is one of Nebraska’s most iconic and evocative places. A living museum by day, its cobbled streets and covered sidewalks become the home to Nebraska’s best nightlife hub come sundown. Many of the best hotels in Omaha are nearby, and you’ll also find plenty of cheap hotels and other such budget accommodation options dotted around, making Omaha and its Old Market high on the list of things to do for vacation goers to the state.
As anyone who has enjoyed travel in Nebraska will know, there are plenty of outdoor Nebraska activities that await the vacationer. The state’s historic trails are near legendary, having carried early explorers and adventures alike. Today they have been mainly subsumed into wonderful state parks, which offer a range of pursuits such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is often considered the best of these parks, with its 700 acres offering typical Nebraska activities such as fishing, swimming, and, during the winter, ice skating and cross-country skiing. Situated on the Platte River, the park offers camping facilities for those who want to stay longer than a day. Such facilities can also be found in the majority of the state parks in Nebraska, making it a mainstay for happy campers.
Golfing in Nebraska is a popular attraction during the summer months, during which time beautifully warm weather graces the state's many well-maintained golf courses. Omaha is probably Nebraska's golfing capital, although you'll likely find courses where ever you travel here. Serious players will be well served by the many elite clubhouses, while those looking for a more relaxed day out are advised to try places such as the Fontenelle Park Golf Course, which is a 9-hole public course in Omaha that offers good golfing without breaking the budget.
With Nebraska supposedly boasting more miles of river than any other state, it shouldn't come as a surprise that fishing ranks high when it comes to things to do in Nebraska. Crappie, bass and walleye are all inhabitants of these waters, while certain lakes are also home to salmon, trout and stripers. For the anyone looking to fish, Nebraska has a number of facilities that sell and rent equipment, and offer all-important friendly advice. One thing to remember is that you need to obtain a permit before fishing in Nebraska.
There are many different types of tours available to help you see Nebraska, from city sightseeing tours to activity-based tours. For example, a tour of Omaha may well take in top Nebraska attractions such as the Joslyn Art Museum, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, the Omaha Children's Museum and the city's evocative Old Market. Activity-based tours, meanwhile, offer a combination of outdoor fun and arranged accommodation. Activity tours here often focus on fishing, golfing, and hiking. For something a little less active, although no less fun, a wine-tasting tour to the Nebraska wineries is always a winner!