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Welcome to Nebraska

If you’ve driven Interstate 80 across Nebraska, you’ll know exactly why this region is called the Great Plains. Surrounded by endless fields of green, it’s easy to imagine the pioneers’ prairie schooners trundling across the broad expanse. Venture off the interstate to discover the hidden gems of the Cornhusker State, from the natural beauty of the pine forests to the rugged majesty of the badlands and surreal sand hills found in the western region. To the east, friendly Midwestern cities welcome visitors.

Great Outdoors

In north-central Nebraska, Smith Falls State Park is home to the state’s largest waterfall. Drive to the cascades, or better yet, take a ride down the Niobrara River in a tube or canoe. This pristine ribbon of water has been designated a National Scenic Riverway. Another way to explore the great outdoors of the Great Plains is a walk or ride on the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail.


Cities and Towns

Glittering skyscrapers might seem like an unexpected sight in the midst of the Great Plains, but the sprawling city of Omaha on the state’s eastern border is home to several towering corporate headquarters. Stroll across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, which crosses the Missouri River, for views of the city.

Omaha is home to the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, which transports passengers along a sky tram for a bird’s-eye view of the animals. The centerpiece is a geodesic dome housing a desert habitat.

States of Fun

In the early 1800s, the Lewis and Clark Expedition traversed the region on its way toward the Pacific. Visit a reconstruction of Fort Atkinson — built at the explorers’ recommendation — near Omaha and enjoy living history demonstrations.

In the mid-1800s, pioneers headed west across the state along the Oregon Trail. Gain insight into this arduous journey with a stop at Chimney Rock National Historic Site, a massive rock spire rising high above the prairie near the western border. This served as a vital landmark to westward trekkers.