You don’t have to go far from Omaha for a getaway with friends. I recently spent two days with four friends at one of the state parks in eastern Nebraska. It provided a great home base to explore the area, and kept us close to home (just in case families had any emergencies).
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Where to stay near Omaha for an easy girls trip
Our basecamp was a two-bedroom cabin at Platte River State Park in Louisville, Neb. Located in the Owen cabin area, our basic but well-equipped cabin had a view of the lake. It had air-conditioning, a kitchen, two sets of bunkbeds and a queen-size bed, and WiFi.
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If you plan far enough in advance, you can book a more spacious and modern cabin at nearby Mahoney State Park in Ashland. The older cabins at Mahoney are about on par for the cabins at Platte River State Park. Read this post to know more about state park cabins around Nebraska.
Or if you feel fancy, try a glamping cabin at Kimberly Creek Retreat in nearby Gretna. Like Mahoney, don’t wait to book one of their glamping tents or cabins.
Things to do near Omaha on a friends trip
My group of friends is pretty outdoorsy, so our first priority was a lengthy hike around Platte River State Park. Of the state parks in the area, it’s my favorite for trails. You could also find some nice hiking trails at Schramm Park in Gretna.
Platte River State Park had a few activities we wanted to do but time ran out and operation hours didn’t cooperate. We wanted to go to the archery range but it’s only open on the weekends in the summer, not while we were there.
If your friend group is into it, there’s also horseback riding and kayak rentals at Platte River.
If your group is looking for a pool or a place to cool off, I recommend the aquatic center at Mahoney State Park (though truth be told, it will be packed with a lot oof kids, which may or may not be desirable during your getaway).
If you want to cool off and get a crazy workout, try the inflatable obstacle course at Louisville State Recreation Area in Louisville.
Our getaway also included a wine tasting afternoon. We opted for the flights at Cellar 426 Winery, which had a covered deck with a lovely view. Another winery option is Soaring Wings Vineyard in Springfield. Both wineries usually have live music on at least one weekend night.
I recommend going into Ashland to try a flight of ciders at Glacial Till Cidery, as well.
We weren’t in the mood for shopping, but if you and your girlfriends are, I have to places to direct you. Ashland is a small town with two fantastic shops: Salt Creek Mercantile and Postscript.
There’s also the Nebraska Crossing Outlets in Gretna, with several high-end and mid-range outlet stores. You could spend a few hours there.
Good places to eat near Omaha
The dining options are scarce in the area, though they’re improving. Both Platte River and Mahoney State Parks have a restaurant, though Platte River’s is only open on the weekends. My friends and I opted to bring all of our food to cook at the cabin.
For restaurant options, there’s Around the Bend Steakhouse in South Bend (it’s home to the Testicle Festival, just FYI). Glacial Till Cidery in Ashland has a pretty full menu, though I can only vouch for the tastiness of its charcuterie board. And for smaller appetizer options, you can get food at 426 Winery in Ashland.
Springfield is a bit of a drive but there’s a great breakfast spot called Wicked Hen Farmhouse. And for dessert, the old school Springfield Pharmacy serves up ice cream treats at their charming old fashioned soda fountain. And for appetizers with some great wine and beer, Soaring Wings Vineyard is in the area.
More girlfriend trip ideas in the Midwest
If you’re looking for a getaway that’s a bit further away, I highly recommend the Elms Hotel & Spa in Excelsior Springs, Mo. My friends and I have already decided this will be our next girlfriends getaway spot.
The spa is fabulous, especially its relaxing Grotto. The food at the hotel is also wonderful.
Further afield, I recommend Decorah, Iowa, as an option for you and your friends. I went there one summer with my sister and a friend, and we enjoyed bike riding, moonlight kayaking, pizza at a farm, and local beers.