I was born in Nebraska and left home at 18 to attend college and nursing school. After I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and became a Registered Nurse, I moved to Kansas City to work as a NICU Nurse. I then jumped into travel nursing where my love of travel blossomed.
As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to take unlimited time off work – no questions asked. I’ve made it a priority every year to take 4-6 months off work to see the world. This is when I started to get into photography.
I bought a Canon camera and set off on my first solo trip which lasted 17-weeks through Europe and Southeast Asia. While I shot on automatic in the beginning, I’ve since taken classes and had mentors teach me how to up my photography game, allowing me to shoot on manual now.
Why you Should Visit Nebraska
The one word I would use to describe Nebraska as a destination is – underrated. I love that when I tell people I’m from Nebraska and they look at me funny and ask, “what is there to do there?”, I can give them a list of some of the cool things that this midwestern state has to offer.
While it’s certainly no California or NYC, Nebraska is cool in a different, more discrete and down to earth way. When you visit I recommend coming with an open mind and an open heart. I’m sure that you will leave happy.
The land of Nebraska is so beautiful to me. When you’re driving through the state you can see for miles and miles – all open roads and rolling green hills. When I see an empty field and hay barrels, I’m always inspired to get out and photograph it. I guess that really shows my midwestern side!
10 Best Things To Do in Nebraska
Nebraska is known as the Cornhusker State and is home to beautiful river valleys and great big plains. There are some cute little towns to visit as well as the two main cities of Omaha and Lincoln. The things that are unique to Nebraska that I would recommend if someone wanted to visit would be:
1. Drive the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway
The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway from Grand Island to Alliance is one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever been on. Cruise through the gentle rolling Nebraska Sandhills and take in the ever-changing landscape. Not only is the scenery amazing but the towns and wildlife are fantastic too.
2. Stop at the Weird Roadside Attractions of Nebraska
Nebraska has some bizarre roadside attractions to stop off at on your road trip. For example, Carhenge located near Alliance is a replica of England’s Stonehenge but made from a collection of 38 different cars. Then there’s the “fake town” of Gering which is another weird and wonderful place.
3. See Animals at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best zoos. When you get here it’s easy to see why. It’s the ultimate interactive zoo experience home to the world’s largest indoor desert and rainforest. Discover thousands of animals in the most exotic locations.
4. Meet the One Resident of Monowi Town
Monowi is a ghost town in the middle of nowhere and has an official population of one. The town used to have a population of 150. You can meet the only inhabitant here named Elsie Eiler – an 84-year-old who holds mayoral elections (voting for herself) and raises taxes from herself too!
5. Explore Scotts Bluff National Monument
Scotts Bluff National Monument rises 800 feet above the North Platte River and has been a Native American landmark for years. There are plenty of geological wonders to discover – over 3,000 acres of land to explore. Visitors can walk in the footsteps of pioneers on remnants of the Oregon Trail.
6. Discover Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Chimney Rock is one of the coolest natural landscapes of Nebraska. As the name suggests, it’s shaped like a chimney. The rock is located four miles south of Bayard at the southern edge of the North Platte River Valley. The chimney peak stands 300 feet above the surrounding river valley.
7. Visit Pioneer Village in Minden
See what life was like for pioneers in the incredibly realistic Pioneer Village in Minden. This is one of America’s best planned and most comprehensive collections of Americana. There are over 50,000 objects in 26 buildings. You can easily spend the whole day here taking in all the collections.
8. Spend Time in the Neighborhoods of Omaha
I definitely recommend spending some quality time in Omaha, the largest city in the state of Nebraska. Explore the different neighborhoods like the historic Blackstone District, Benson and Dundee areas. If you visit all these different spots you will get a good feel for what Omaha is like.
9. Try a Delicious Omaha Steak & Runza
Nebraska is known for steak – particularly “Omaha Steaks” which are shipped across the US. My favorite places for steak are in Omaha at The Drover and The Boiler Room. You also can’t miss the fast-food chain Runza.
A Runza is a yeast dough bread pocket stuffed with beef, cabbage, onions, and cheese if you prefer – it’s a quintessential meal of Nebraska. Yum!
10. Immerse Yourself in the Friendly Midwest Culture
The people in Nebraska are so incredibly friendly and kind. In general, I believe that the midwest is known for their friendliness and hospitality but people in Nebraska take it to a whole new level. There’s always someone willing to help out whether you need directions or recommendations.
Favourite Memory of Nebraska
My favorite memory in Nebraska was driving to Chimney Rock. It’s essentially just a rock formation in the middle of nowhere near Wyoming but the significance of it is huge. It’s one of the most recognized landmarks for pioneers who were traveling along the Oregon Trail.
Chimney Rock signified that people were moving in the right direction. It makes me think how far we’ve come and how incredible it is that people would pack up their families and belongings and cross the country to find new land. No streets to guide them, just natural landmarks.
Tips for your Visit to Nebraska
The capital city of Nebraska is Lincoln, a college town that draws in people who want to see the Huskers play football. Instead of visiting Lincoln, I’d highly recommend basing yourself in Omaha and exploring from there.
You’ll also want to make sure you bring a car with you or rent one. Rideshares are few and far between, and the city isn’t walkable unless you’re planning on staying downtown. Omaha has some nice hotels. My favourite is Magnolia Hotel – a 4-star boutique style hotel.
From Omaha you can visit towns like Ashland or head west to drive the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway, see Carhenge in Alliance, hike Scotts Bluff National Monument, and visit Chimney Rock. It’s totally up to you 🙂