Nebraska is often the butt of many jokes, characterized as a state in the middle of nowhere with little to offer tourists. The state’s tourism department is fighting back against this unfortunate—and untrue—reputation with a new ad slogan that admits it “isn’t for everyone.” That said, one of the most common reasons you’d want to visit Nebraska is for its sights and natural beauty. Whether you’re driving through it on the way to another destination or planning a trip to the Cornhusker State, here are the most beautiful places in Nebraska you won’t want to miss.
Marvel at the Sights at Scotts Bluff National Monument
Top of most tourists’ lists is Scotts Bluff National Monument, located in Gering, NE. Spanning thousands of acres, this park’s beautiful bluffs and rock formations are the perfect stop for sightseers. Driving up to the top of the bluffs, you’ll come to appreciate the beauty that comes from much of Nebraska’s flat lands as you stare out across acres of lush grass and clear, blue skies. Plus, if you’re a history buff, Scotts Bluff National Monument even offers remnants of the Oregon Trail flagged for you to see. You can learn more about Scotts Bluff in a small museum located at the park, too.
Experience Modern Art at Carhenge
Another, quite different, photo opportunity in Nebraska is a work of modern art known as “Carhenge.” Located in Alliance, Nebraska, “Carhenge” is the creation of artist Jim Reinders, who was inspired to recreate England’s Stonehenge out of junked automobiles after a trip to visit the original. Perhaps one of the stranger attractions Nebraska has to offer, the site is still quite popular for photographers and a great place to have a picnic. “Carhenge” even gained more notoriety when it was located in part of the 2017 eclipse path of totality.
Take a Photo at Chimney Rock
Perhaps one of Nebraska’s most iconic sightseeing destinations, Chimney Rock is a beautiful geological wonder just asking to be photographed. Towering 300 feet above the surrounding valleys of Bayard, Nebraska, the rock formation gets its name from the way its spire resembles a chimney sticking out of a wider base. Famed as a landmark for pioneers as they traveled westward, Chimney Rock now offers tourists a breathtaking location to look at while hiking nearby or visiting the formation’s accompanying museum.
Camp Out at the Agate Fossil Beds
Harrison, Nebraska is home to the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, another great chance for you to get an outdoorsy experience that showcases the state’s beauty. Known as one of the most prolific sites for fossils, these plains once contained an impressive number of fossils from the Miocene Era. Both the University Hill and Carnegie Hill fossil beds are thus quite important to archeological history and our understanding of a variety of mammals from millions of years ago. Campgrounds to the north and south of the park offer you a convenient place to stay during your visit to the site.
Before You Go
It’s essential to make sure you’re prepared for both the beautiful and banal parts of your trip. You need to be ready to snap photos and also navigate (or find the nearest exit with a bathroom). Make sure your phone is ready to go. There are tons of AT&T stores in Nebraska if you’re looking for somewhere to upgrade your phone to something with more options or space before your trip. Even if you’re happy with your current phone, it can never hurt to purchase accessories like protective cases or an extra charger, just to make sure you’re prepared for anything that might happen while you’re in nature.
Despite its reputation, Nebraska has a host of sites to offer you if you’re a fan of nature and the outdoors. From historic fossil beds to stunning geological formations, the state is ripe for tourists looking to take in natural history and snap a few photos. With plenty of camping possibilities, too, Nebraska is a great fit for campers and nature enthusiasts.