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My Nebraska Bucket List

Good ol’ Nebraska. It’s my home state, I’m pretty protective of it. Fly over it if you must, but you’re missing out. There’s a lot to do Nebraska. I’ve gathered all the things I still need to explore in the state to create this ultimate Nebraska Bucket List.

UPDATED: This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated in November 2019. To help keep this post current, please let me know if anything needs additional updates! This post may contain affiliate links.

Nebraska Bucket List - The most iconic things to see and do in Nebraska

1. See Nebraska’s Ultimate Landmark

Chimney Rock is Nebraska’ ultimate icon, our claim-to-fame in pioneer history. It’s probably time I see it in real life.

Chimney Rock, one of Nebraska's most recognizable landmarks. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

Related post: 101 Things To Do In Nebraska

2. Go Western

I’d like to do the whole Fort Robinson experience thing: Ride the Fort Robinson Express stagecoach, maybe go on a horseback trail ride, see the buffalo and longhorn cattle herds and take part in a campfire singalong.

A trail ride near Fort Robinson State Park in Nebraska
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

UPDATE: We visited! Here’s my review of the state park including one thing I didn’t know about: Off-road jeep tours!

The Fort Robinson Express. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

3. Stay at a ranch, maybe do some ranch things

I’m not sure what that would be – probably ride a horse and herd cattle. I should watch “City Slickers” again to refresh my memory. Here are a few guest ranches that I could see myself channeling my inner cowgirl: Ponderosa Ranch and Rowse’s 1 Plus 1 Ranch. And by channel, I mean, I do about 10 minutes of hard work and then relax the rest of my stay.

4. See a Native American pow wow

Long ago, I was an exchange student in Spain and my host family thought it was all pow wows in Nebraska. Not so much. But, I feel like I owe it to my host sister and her obsession with Native Americans and go to one of these finally.

Fort Robinson holds the Inter Tribal Pow Wow every year. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

Fort Robinson is known for a big one, the Intertribal Gathering and Pow Wow, in June. There’s one in north Omaha held each September, the Fort Omaha Intertribal Powow, on the same grounds here Ponca Chief Standing Bear was once imprisoned.

5. Walk along strange land

Ever since I saw a picture of Toadstool Geologic Park (the Oglala National Grassland), I’ve been fascinated by the strange rock formations. People say they look like toadstool mushrooms or the lunar surface.

Toadstool rock formations in western Nebraska should be on everybody's Nebraska bucket list.
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

UPDATE: We did it! You can see a picture of our visit in this Western Nebraska/South Dakota road trip recap post.

6. Watch paleontologists at work at Ashfalls Fossil Bed State Historical Park

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Ashfall is a working dig site in Nebraska.

Things to do in Nebraska - Visit Ashfalls Fossil Beds in Nebraska. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

7. See Nebraska’s archaeological hidden gem

Toadstool isn’t too far from the Hudson-Meng Research and Education Center where there’s an excavation of a 10,000-year-old bison bone bed going on.

8. Take an airboat tour

I’ve seen airboats glide along the Platte River and it just looks fun.

I’ve seen that river countless time from a car and the lookout tower at Mahoney State Park, so I want to see it from a different view now.

Sunset on the Platte River. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

Tip: Riding an airboat is one of the items included in the book “100 Things To Do In Nebraska Before You Die”

9. See the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island

I haven’t been to the state fair since I was child – back when it was in Lincoln. I don’t even remember it. It’s probably time I go back.

And I suppose I ought to bring the kids.

The Nebraska State Fair in 2011. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

10. See the Scottsbluffs National Monument

This part of Nebraska is iconic, but not exactly easy to get to from Omaha, so I’ve never made the trip.

Scotts Bluffs National Monument. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

The Nebraska Tourism Commision released a list of 10 of the state’s top attractions and events and this was one of two I haven’t been to (see #1 on this list for the other). So I must go there. I’m a completist.

11. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Omaha style

South Omaha has a large celebration every year, and every year I think I ought to check it out (former exchange student sense of duty).

Cinco de Mayo festivities in South Omaha. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

12. Enjoy a dinner paired with the right wine at the Boiler Room in Omaha’s Old Market

While this isn’t the new darling on the Omaha dining scene anymore, it’s one of those restaurants that I’ve been meaning to check out and never do. I’ve heard the wine list is divine.

13. See one of the College World Series championship game

I’ve been to many CWS games at Rosenblatt Stadium, never one of the championship ones, though.

The College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism
Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

For more ideas on where to go in Nebraska, consider a quirky book like Nebraska Off the Beaten Path®: A Guide To Unique Places or Nebraska Curiosities: Quirkly Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff .

Your turn: What’s on your Nebraska bucket list? And what’s missing from this list?

Plan a trip to Nebraska using the ultimate Nebraska bucket list! From outdoor adventures like horseback rides in Western Nebraska to airboat river tours, this post suggests a lot of things to make a Nebraska vacation memorable. #Nebraska #USA #Guide #Midwest #Outdoors

More things to do in Nebraska

So now you know the bucket list of things I want to do and see in my home state, Nebraska. I’ve already seen and done a lot in the state, so here are some of my top picks for you to consider for your own Nebraska Bucket List:

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Friday 9th of July 2021

Homestead National Monument near Beatrice is worth the trip. Brownville, Nebraska has a lot of offer. In the fall the foliage at Indian Cave is very pretty.


Sunday 30th of July 2017

High Plains Homestead in the same area as Toadstool and the bison site. Family friendly authentically recreated old town that is a bed n breakfast.


Thursday 3rd of August 2017

I wish we had made it over there during our trip!


Sunday 6th of September 2015

We just went to Chimney Rock and Scott's Bluff this summer with our kids! So glad we did, a great experience for sure!


Sunday 6th of September 2015

I'm kicking myself that we were the closest we've ever been to to those two areas, and just couldn't muster the energy to drive the extra miles to visit them while on our weeklong road trip. Too much time in the car by that point. Maybe next year we'll get there.

Stacy Witt

Tuesday 19th of August 2014

Lake Mac!!!


Wednesday 20th of August 2014

It seems lately I'm meeting (or working) with more and more people who love that lake!


Friday 11th of July 2014

Other than a few of these, I had no clue that any of this existed in Nebraska! What a great list!

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