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Nebraska

Nebraska

Great Destination:

3.5

Value for Money:

3.5

Total Stars:

7.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Most appropriate for Centric-Venturers; all other groups measure lower, with Authentics least appreciative

Did You Know…?

  • Nebraska has more lakes than any state except Minnesota.
  • The largest mammoth fossil ever found was unearthed near Wellfleet (1922).
  • Red Cloud claims it is the subject of more books than any other town in literature.
  • Congress admitted Nebraska to the union in 1867, overriding a presidential veto.
  • Farms account for a higher percentage of Nebraska land (95%) than in any other state.

Fly-over state?

Although known as a largely drive-through state in the pioneer era (and maybe the fly-over state now), Nebraska offers a rich menu of activities, from attending rodeos, powwows, ethnic festivals and urban cultural events to kicking back — or pitching in — at a working ranch, or enjoying open spaces on foot, on a bike or on a horse.

Like any state in the path of westward-marching settlers, runaways or wealth-seekers, it recalls the birthing of America and opens doors on traditions from the settlement period and from the Native Americans who found North America first.

While it is not a copy of other states, it is like any American destination in many ways, with the added benefit of having welcoming locals in a place that is safe at night. Also, the population density is relatively low, something people at both ends of the personality spectrum like for their own reasons.

Nebraska was first taken by arriving Europeans to be something of a desert, but those early settlers, eager to succeed with the free land offered by the government, made the area into a land of ranches and farms. Willa Cather immortalized her hometown Red Cloud in six books and, in the process, recorded the Nebraska pioneer experience.

Working with Mother Nature, Nebraskans have created both a crucial piece of America’s breadbasket and a civilized place with a beauty of its own. In an exceptional move, they literally created forestland. America’s largest planted forest, about 22,000 acres of pine trees, is part of the Nebraska National Forest (which includes naturally occurring trees, too).

These virtues have not sent tourists flocking to Nebraska. Many a settler traveled straight across the state along the Mormon and Oregon trails. Today, in a seeming reenactment, tourists pass through on highways that follow the old trails. Wagon ruts left by those earlier drive-through visitors can still be seen alongside the roads.

Nebraska doesn’t obviously belong to any specific personality type. As with other states, it has something for every visitor. Summers are hot and winters are cold. Spring and autumn are very nice.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Adopt a wild horse or burro. Or, at least, see the Nebraska Wild Horse and Burro Facility in Elm Creek where up to 500 needy animals are held; they are available for adoption nationwide.
  • Go on a multiday wagon train trek and experience chuck wagon dining, cookouts, campfire singing.
  • Devote two days to learning skills that were vital to the Plains Indians: fire making, flint knapping, making cordage and determining medicinal uses for indigenous plants. You will camp at Beaver Creek Canyon Camp near Stuart.
  • Tour the state in an RV. Or make that a motorcycle and come to the Iron Horse Biker Bash in August in Lewellen.
  • Enjoy a 1940s dinner event on the Fremont Dinner Train, which operates on weekends out of Fremont. Sign on for a Murder Mystery dinner and work with your tablemates to solve a murder based on clues dropped by a team of actors. Other specialty dinner trips are offered, too.
  • Go mushroom hunting, if weather is conducive, in and around the towns of Auburn, Brownville and Peru. Then enjoy your finds as part of dinner.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Go bird-watching in Valentine National Wildlife Refuge or the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, both in Cherry County.
  • Learn to cook on a wood stove in one-day classes at Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island.
  • See ancient Native American petroglyphs and hike the trails at Indian Cave State Park. Or, hike the rails-to-trails route along the Missouri River that links Brownville, Peru and Nebraska City.
  • Attend a blues festival in Pierce. The event includes tasting of Nebraska wines and trolley rides through local vineyards.  Or, make that a bluegrass festival in North Platte.
  • Attend Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell for events that include Canadian chuck wagon racing, wild horse racing, chariot races and the antics of motorcycle daredevils.
  • Get a better understanding of why Nebraska is the Cornhusker State. Attend a cornhusking competition. Also, attend a tractor pulling competition. There are several of both to choose from.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Get to the Kreycik Riverview Elk Ranch near Niobrara where you can take a covered wagon ride and hand-feed bison and elk.
  • Customize a golf tour encompassing courses found on the Nebraska Golf Trail.
  • Float down the Cedar River from Ericson on an eight-foot plastic stock tank with a picnic table and space for six passengers.
  • Find an unexpected display, at least based on the name, at the Nebraska Prairie Museum in Holdrege. One exhibit is a scale replica of the original World War II German POW Camp Atlanta, which was located five miles outside Holdrege. This is in addition to displays that center on prairie history.
  • From late February to early April, watch sandhill cranes gather along the Platte River valley. Nearly 500,000 show up each year.
  • Attend regional repertory dinner theater at the Theatre of the American West in Republican City.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Nebraska Tourism at http://visitnebraska.com