Road trips from Omaha
Located on the Missouri River is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is famous for various historical spaces, museums, galleries, buildings, and particularly the Henry Doorly Zoo. Apart from Omaha if you want to explore the rest of Nebraska via road, you’ll have an experience of a lifetime. The city owing to its good area size makes for a great starting point to explore the state’s noteworthy cities and towns and road trips from Omaha a trendy activity. The best part is that you don’t have to go too far from Omaha to have a fun getaway.
So here is a list, containing both short and long road trips from Omaha.
1. Nebraska City, Nebraska
One of the best options for road trips from Omaha, Nebraska City is just an hour away from Omaha and is home to tons of attractions worth exploring. Here you can find lots of educational or historical attractions along with plenty of outdoor places to have some adventure at.
The Arbor Day Farm offers you wooded trails to enjoy nature’s simple pleasures and other fun activities like Tree Adventure, the Lied Lodge, Porter’s, the Apple House Market. The Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is the former home of the founder of Arbor Day, J. Sterling Morton. Its fifty-two rooms feature historical artifacts and authentic furnishings. Other features include over two hundred lilac varieties, walking trails, a log cabin, an Italian terraced garden, and an arboretum. To keep the kids busy there is a tree-themed playground.
To know in detail about the famous explorers Lewis and Clark do pay a visit to The Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Visitor Center. Here you can also climb aboard a 55-foot replica of Keelboat which was used more than two hundred years ago and enter a Plains Indian Earth Lodge. A number of different interactive exhibits, such as running with American Bison, burrowing with Prairie Dogs beautifully exhibit the adventures of Lewis and Clark.
The Kregel Windmill Museum is another great place to spend some time at. You can get an insight into the world of making windmills and their role as modern technology tools. The Nebraska City Museum of Firefighting displays the history of the 150-year-old Nebraska City Fire Department. It also has one of the oldest and largest fire equipment collections in the state. It’s a fun place for kids too as they can dress up in some of the fire gear and climb into a fire engine.
2. Altoona, IA
A lovely city in Iowa and just 2.5 hours and offers a relaxing vacation. If you’re looking for some outdoor fun or simply a relaxing stroll Haines Park is an ideal place for you. The park is home to a tennis and basketball court along with a well-equipped play area. Another place equipped with tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts is Village Park. The park also has a huge playground with attractive equipment for kids of all ages. Restrooms, drinking fountains, and parking areas are also available here.
If you love flowers, trees and basically being in nature’s company, head to Enabling Garden as it is packed with vibrant flowers and lovely trees. Other features of the garden include a miniature garden, bottle tree, wonderful public art, water area, and rain garden. Here you can also simply choose to relax and admire the colors of nature.
For golf enthusiasts, Terrace Hills Golf Course is an 18-hole, historic golf course. If you’re looking for baseball, soccer, and softball fields, head to Sam Wise Youth Complex. Then, for swimming and some relaxation in the company of water, the Altoona Aquatics Park is the place. It is surrounded by palm trees to give you a proper soothing beachy vibe. For some fun water activities, it has a zero-edge pool, slides, speed slide, loop-de-loop slide, diving boards. Certified lifeguards, dressing rooms, and a sand play area for kids are among the other facilities provided here.
Adventureland Park is a must-visit. It has over 100 exciting rides, interesting shows, and amusing attractions. Some fun water rides include raging river, Kokomo Kove, and sawmill splash. Several eateries are available inside the park so you don’t have to worry about carrying snacks. You can also attend their popular annual event known as Oktoberfest. A day can easily be spent here.
3. Kansas City
Situated at the junction of the Kansas River with the Missouri River, this double city makes for a perfect destination in the list of road trips from Omaha. The city was once filled with the sounds of jazz icons like Charlie “Bird” Parker and Big Joe Turner and hence is a must-visit for music lovers.
A visit to Kansas city is incomplete without visiting The American Jazz Museum. From the history of jazz to an exploration of the music itself, you’ll surely learn a lot here.
Being true to its nickname, the “Barbecue Capital”, it is a hub of steaks and barbecue.
The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art has impressive collections of North American, European, Asian, and African cultures. Some antiquities date as far back as the 2nd millennium BC. It has exhibits dedicated to both contemporary and modern art also. The museum is also home to a sculpture park, where you can go for a walk, enjoy a picnic, or take a guided audio tour.
The city’s top attraction is LEGOLAND. It’s not only an attraction for kids but also for adults as it makes you relive your childhood days. You will also be awestruck at the complete replica of the city, built with more than 1.5 million LEGO bricks. For kids, the Ninjago “training camp,” a laser maze with lots of physical challenges is a must-do.
For science enthusiasts, Science City, located in Union Station is a must-visit. There are a lot of interesting exhibits here. The Force and Motion, the Every Last Drop exhibit and the genetics lab are some of the most famous ones.
National World War I Museum is also worth some time as it includes a wide variety of artifacts, letters, films, and honors the men and women who served and died in the war. Its exhibits share compelling stories from those who experienced the war, both directly and indirectly.
4. Lincoln, NE
For weekend road trips from Omaha, Lincoln is a great option. Since it’s a university city, an active and vibrant atmosphere is guaranteed. Along with an exciting atmosphere, it is also a hub of museums and cultural attractions.
Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska and home to various museums and cultural attractions. The Historic Haymarket District is a hub of shops, galleries, and restaurants. Next, the University of Nebraska State Museum is home to the world’s largest articulated mammoth. It also has a well-regarded exhibit of fossilized elephants and hence the museum is nicknamed the Elephant Hall.
Trips are meant for relaxation and the beautiful Sunken Gardens is the epitome of ‘healing’. You can walk here and cover it in a small amount of time or stay for long and heal yourself in the lap of nature.
If you’re a fan of racing cars and engines, the Museum of American Speed has an extensive archive collection. Automobilia, Cars and Engines, and Toys and Models are three of its major exhibits. Guided tours are offered here but if you want to explore it on your own it is set up to be self-guided as well.
If you are a fan of college football, you can catch a game at Memorial Stadium. If it’s a no-game day, you can check out the Hall of Fame walk outside the arena and take the free self-guided tour. Guided tours are also available.
For some free outdoor fun, Pioneers Park Nature Center is a great place to spend some time in nature. Herds of bison, white-tailed deer, and elk are a common sight here. If you have an active eye, you can also spot red-tailed hawks, barred owls, and wild turkeys. For hiking enthusiasts, eight miles of hiking trails are available. You can also touch a turtle or a snake here. To keep the younger visitors busy a well-equipped children’s play area is also available.
5. Des Moines, Iowa
The vibrant cultural mecca of the Midwest is one of the best destinations for road trips from Omaha. Here you’ll find a bunch of sculpture parks, botanical gardens, museums, and fine dining restaurants.
The gold dome of the State Capitol is visible from various parts of the city and is hence unmissable. Not just the outside, it is also worth visiting from the inside. Its walls radiate the prestigious history of Iowa. Inside, you’ll find large works of art and a hand-carved design, and a glass floor that gives a great view of the gold dome interior. Both Guided and independent tours are available.
WaterWorks Park is a hub of activities like running, biking, bird-watching, fishing, and intramural athletics. Boat rentals are also available to spend some time in the water. It is also a popular place to cross-country ski or snowshoe. If you want to simply relax, then it’s the perfect spot.
Hoyt Sherman Place is an important aspect of the Des Moines community. Shows, performances, and special events are quite common at this historic venue. Next, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden has beautiful carefully planted collections. Salisbury House and Gardens is a hub of history. Guided tours are also available here.
Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines Art Center, and Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens are some of the other explore-worthy options in the city.
Located east of the Des Moines River in downtown, East Village is a hub of lively places to spend your evening at. Tacopocalypse and Zombie Burger are some of the most famous eateries here. You’ll also find several galleries and art displays here.
Lastly, if you’re visiting during August, you can be a part of the Iowa State Fair. It’s a nearly two-week celebration and you can experience the best of Iowa here. You’ll be entertained with trade shows, exhibits, art galleries, amusement rides, live music, delicious food, and much more
6. Yankton, South Dakota
Just two hours from downtown Omaha, this one is a perfect option for weekend road trips from Omaha. This little place has a lot of interesting things to see and do.
Beginning with the Meridian Highway Bridge. A drive across the double-decker bridge is one of the most popular activities here. Its pedestrian walkway connects both South Dakota and Nebraska and while walking you can learn about the history of the bridge. On the Nebraska side, you can find numerous hiking trails in the woods along the river’s shoreline. The upper levels of the bridge provide stunning views of the famous Missouri River.
Lewis and Clark Recreation Area is one of the most popular places to visit in all of Yankton. The area is home to 3 amazing campgrounds with a total of 418 campsites. You can simply choose to relax here in the company of nature. If you get a bit bored you can enjoy activities like biking, hiking, equestrian, walking, fishing, canoeing and many more.
To learn about the history and culture of the Dakota Territories, Dakota Territorial Museum is worth your time. Here you’ll find displays and exhibits that explore the lives of Native Americans, Lewis and Clark’s Expedition, Pioneer Life, and more. The section called “Heritage Park” is a famous one because with things like an old schoolhouse, railroad depot, blacksmith it makes you quite nostalgic.
7. St. Louis
Being the largest city in Missouri St. Louis so many things to do that you can easily spend a weekend here. It is home to the tallest monument in the United States, the Gateway Arch, a symbol of the city’s role as the “Gateway to the West.” There are many ways to enjoy it. You can either head to the observation platform on the highest point of the arch or via water by riverboat cruises or via air in a helicopter tour. Advance booking is recommended.
The beautiful Missouri Botanical Garden, also known as the Shaw Garden is home to various attractions. A beautiful rose garden and a Japanese Garden, an “aqua-tunnel” under a water-lily pool, and a herbarium are some of the major ones.
The Saint Louis Zoo is home to 12,000 animals across 500 species. This free attraction provides shelter to Asian elephants, hippos, gorillas, tree kangaroos, jaguars, and sea lions. The Sea Lion show is a favorite among the kids. Some fun rides, the miniature Zooline Railroad, and a 4D theatre will surely make for a fun day.
For a detailed article on this beautiful place read out the best things to do in St. Louis.