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Winter Day Trips From Omaha

There’s only one thing to do when cabin fever strikes: Bundle up and get out of the house. I recently shared a list of 30+ things to do this winter in Omaha. But if you’ve done it all here, or at least it feels like it, then maybe it’s time to get out of town. Here are some ideas to inspire your next winter day trips from Omaha!

Update: This post was written in 2018 and updated in December 2019 with new businesses.

Quick getaways from Omaha to cure the winter blues. Here are a few of my favorite day trips including nearby Iowa and Nebraska cities, with tips on where to take kids and where to eat. #Midwest #Winter #roadtrips #Nebraska #Iowa #familytravel

Things To Do In Council Bluffs in the winter

You don’t have to go far for your next day trip. Council Bluffs, Iowa, has enough to keep you busy for the day. Visit Union Pacific Railroad Museum for free, or pay a few dollars to see the nearby Squirrel Cage Jail. The city also has Joe’s Carting, for go-carts.

Council Bluffs also has one of my favorite putt-putt golf centers – it’s pirate-themed.

Related post: Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities Near Council Bluffs

Interior of Squirrel Cage Jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Photo courtesy Iowa Tourism Office

Where to eat? 712 is great food but not necessarily a place you’d necessarily want to bring little kids to. Pizza King is an iconic pizza joint (though the other C.B. favorite, Pizza Counter, nearly won the entire Great Pizza Tournament this year).

Quaker Steak & Lube is a chain restaurant, but the decor gives you plenty to look at while you’re there. 

If you’re a breakfast kind of day tripper, I’ve got some great restaurants for you to check out in Council Bluffs.

Winter fun in Honey Creek

Bundle up and hit the trails at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa. The nature center is just north of Council Bluffs.

You can rent snowshoes at the visitor’s center at Hitchcock. If you’re feeling adventurous, bring a sled and try tackling the Chute Trail. It’s a speedy ride!

Snowshoe hike at Hitchcock Nature Center

Plan on spending some time in the visitor’s center. It’s full of fun things for kids.

Where to eat? When the weather’s nice, I usually pack a picnic for Hitchcock outings. However, I don’t picnic in the winter.

Crescent, Iowa, is the closest city to Honey Creek with restaurants. My favorite restaurant is closed now, so I guess I’ll just recommend the iconic Crescent restaurant, Pink Poodle. I haven’t eaten there in, oh, about 20 years, though, so I can’t tell you if it’s still great or not.

Truthfully? I drive into Council Bluffs if I’m looking for a restaurant near there. 

Things to do in Crescent

The area’s only skiing is at Mt. Crescent in Crescent, Iowa. In addition to ski slopes, there are tubes to rent. Best part? You don’t have to walk up the hill each time with the big tubes; Mt. Crescent has a lift for the tube trail, too.

Where to eat? Mt. Crescent has a small lodge that may have some food. It’s near Crescent, Iowa, so see the above suggestion.

A Lincoln day trip

There are so many things to do in Lincoln, but in the winter, two of our favorites are the Lincoln Children’s Museum and Morrill Hall. We also enjoyed Lost In Fun!, but it is out of the way of most everything.

Lincoln is an even better overnight trip.

The hall of mammoths at Morrill Hall on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Where to eat? We always end up eating at Lazlo’s with the kids in the Hay Market. Fora good dessert, I recommend The Rabbit Hole Bakery, an Alice in Wonderland-themed café.

Related post: 20+ Awesome Day Trips From Omaha

A day in Ashland

Sled hill at Mahoney State Park in eastern Nebraska

Mahoney State Park in Ashland, Neb. is a destination in itself, but you can combine a stop there with a few hours at Strategic Air and Space Museum. Outdoor activities at Mahoney include sledding, hiking and ice skating. We’ve even attempted to ice fish there.

Indoor activity center at Mahoney State Park

We usually spend all of our time at the Activity Center, which has a huge indoor playground and climbing walls.

Where to eat? – You could eat at the Activity Center, but I wouldn’t recommend it beyond getting a snack (Valentino’s pizza is served there, though).

Head into Ashland for Cherri’s, which has some good sandwiches and ice cream, or just get a pizza to go from Casey’s.

If you’re traveling without kids, there’s winery and tasting room to check out, too. Visit Cellar 426 or Glacial Till Tasting Room.

Winter fun in Nebraska City

OK, I’ll be the first to tell you Nebraska City is better at any other time of the year, but don’t dismiss it. For older kids, explore some of the historic sites including Arbor Lodge and Wildwood Historic Center.

If you’re ambitious and hearty in the winter, hit the trails at the Arbor Lodge Tree Adventure.

Related Post: Visiting Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure

Going off the trail at the Arbor Lodge Tree Adventure in Nebraska City, Neb.

Where to eat? We enjoyed barbeque at Apple House Market next door to the Tree Adventure. For a little nicer sit-down restaurant, head to Lied Lodge & Conference Center and try a meal at Timbers.

The Keeping Room in downtown Nebraska City looks charming and comes highly recommended by readers, but I’ve yet to try it…yet.

Your turn: Tell me a great winter day trip from Omaha!

Great, family-friendly day trip from Omaha - Things to see and do in nearby towns like Lincoln, Ashland and Honey Creek #Nebraska #Lincoln #Midwest

Get more day trip ideas by following my Pinterest board dedicated to traveling with kids through Nebraska:

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