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26 Experiences and Things To Do In Nebraska That Will Create the ULTIMATE Local Bucketlist


Travel is so much more than just crossing off places to see.

No, what makes travel so memorable is creating EXPERIENCES that can only be had in that one destination!

Shoot, you don’t even need to be a travel junkie to get on board with some of these things to do in Nebraska!  Whether you are a single traveler, have a family in tow or crave adventure around every corner, I bet you’ll quickly be adding some of these experiences to your bucketlist…and all while simultaneously getting to see some pretty stellar Nebraska attractions!

26 Experiences and Things To Do In Nebraska That Will Create the ULTIMATE Local Bucketlist

Sheepwagon Retreat

When traveling, I just love staying at quirky lodging, and this would rank right up there! In both Chadron and Scottsbluff, you can stay in an old Sheepwagon (literally where old sheep herders used to stay while out in the plains).

Pretend to Be a Rancher for the Day

There are several locations in Nebraska, such as the High Plains Homestead, where you can stay at a working ranch, or at least one that acts like it! A weekend of horseback riding, hiking and an opportunity to put my husband in “jail” for the day?  I don’t know who will have more fun- the kids or me!

Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride

During the Wakefield balloon days, the ground and sky alike are covered in hot air balloons!   I’m not sure what part appeals to me floating in the sky with just a piece of fabric above my head, but even over the Nebraskan Plains, I’m sure a hot air balloon ride would be stunning!

Tandem Skydive

Nebraska Skydiving

I am a serious adrenaline junky.  I bungee jumped off the first recreational bungee jumping bridge in New Zealand, I’ve paraglided over the German Alps above the “Cinderella” Neuschwanstein Castle and I finally got to go Skydiving near Omaha!

Safari at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo

Hear the lions roar as you sip on a sundowner…just like a legit African Safari! But this time without the cost and time to travel all the way to another continent!  If your heading to the Henry Doorly Zoo, check out our 10 Things Only The Locals Know About the Zoo Tips and Recommendations

Make My Own Apple Butter

I’m NO Betty Crocker.  I burn just about everything but I still attempt to make a lot of my own foods.
Since I just know a homemade apple pie would turn out to be a mess, why not something a little different, like the Apple Butter I grew up putting on English muffins for breakfast!?
And of course EVERYTHING tastes better from something you grew or picked yourself!  It’s a scientific fact! (ok, no it’s probably not, but it should be!)

Go Snowshoeing: Neale Woods, Fontenelle Forest, Hitchcock Nature Center or Indian Caves


We love hiking, even in Nebraska, so you know snowshoeing will be awesome!  We finally got to go snowshoeing at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue and it was truly a different take on the forest than any other season of hiking.  We loved it!! I can’t wait to find more locations to try it out at!

Cross Country Ski

Well, again, I’ve never been, but I HAVE downhill skied.  Does that earn me any points? (No, really….are they anything alike at all!?) 
Either way, what a fantastic way to get out in the winter months instead of having cabin fever!
There are numerous locations one can find to go cross country skiing in Nebraska, like at Zorinksy Lake right in Omaha.

See HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of Cranes Migrate

sandhill crane migration nebraska

The amazing annual crane migration is supposedly a magical experience that anyone- Nebraskan or not- needs to see for themselves.
Update:  We saw the Cranes in Kearney this Februrary and it was breath-taking!  Here is our Traveler’s Guide to The Sandhill Crane Migration, Top Tips and Where we Stayed.

Eat a Reuben

The Crescent Moon in Omaha claims to be the original (but others say it was at a hotel across the street in the Blackstone- no longer existing) but does it really matter if it’s delicious?

Attend a Pow Wow

Learn about the rich culture of Native Americans in Nebraska at any one of the many Pow Wows throughout the state http://calendar.powwows.com/events/categories/pow-wows/pow-wows-in-nebraska/

Attend the Annual Star Gazing Party

Each year, the Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area hosts their annual Star Party.  I can only imagine that tucked away in the openness of the expansive Nebraskan Plains would be the most amazing location to view the sparkling heavens above.

Build a Boat out of Koolaid Jammers

I’m not saying I’d win the contest at the Kool-Aid days in Hastings, but what a fun activity to do with the whole family!

Hike Through America’s Largest Manmade Forest

Chadron State Park is home to plenty of adventure, including day hikes through US’s largest man-planted forest!

Sleep in a Caboose

Two rivers campground Nebraska
Photo Courtesy Nebraska Tourism
Home of the Union Pacific Railroad, Nebraska has a strong love affair with trains, so why not sleep in one in Waterloo at the Two Rivers State Park?  If you have any boys under the age of 5, who love trains (and mine is!) then what a magical experience for them!?  Here’s our Guide to Two Rivers, including info on sleeping in the trains!

Be The #1 Pumpkin Carver In the State

I’m not artist, so I’ll leave this one to the kids at the annual Calamus Pumpkin Carving!

Take a Gondola Ride

No, I haven’t ditched you in Nebraska for a romantic trip to Venice.  Instead, I’ll just head to downtown Omaha’s Heartland of America Park in the summer for a romantic gondola ride under the luminescent fountain.  It may not be Italian Gelato, but some Ted and Walley’s will surely hit the spot for afterward as well.

Go Swimming in a Nebraska Shaped Pool

Ok, maybe not the most memorable experience in the world, but hilarious none the less.

Walk In the Underground Railroad

John Brown’s Cave and Secret Tunnels are a great reminder of how far our country has come….and how far it has yet to go for equality for all.

Float Down the Niobrara in a Horse Tank

I try to break stereotypes of “Nebraska Hick and Farmer” on this site, but floating down a river in a horse tank (Apparently, called “Tanking It”) sounds like too much fun (ok, you can also rent tubes)! Add a few beers and I may not want to come back to the real world!  Here’s your ultimate guide to staying at the beautiful Niobrara State Park, including info on tubing, tanking, rafting and more.

Cliff Dive

The first time I cliff dove was in Croatia, and by “Cliff DIVE” I mean, I jumped off a 10-15 foot ledge as I screamed like a little baby.  But, it is amazing what that small distance can give you in a huge adrenaline rush! So, when I found out that there are some awesome cliffs to jump off of in Gallagher Lake in Cozad as well as Lake McConaughy, I was stoked that there was still adventure to be found in Nebraska!

Drink Beer

I know, this one will be tough, right? Just Kidding.
Go on a bicycle Brew tour of Nebraska’s finest microbreweries.

And Wine

Get classy with a glass of wine at Nebraska’s underrated wineries.

Be in Two Locations At Once

Put your left foot in one state while my right stands in another as hover in both Nebraska and Iowa at the exact same time.

Do Yoga With Alpacas

I’ve been doing yoga now for almost 5 years…buuuut apparently it’s a thing in Fort Calhoun soooo uuuuh, WHY NOT!?
What’s on YOUR #NEBucketList?

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