Amateur Travel Guide to Nebraska: Dos and Don’ts of Visiting the Cornhusker State
There’s something adoringly unfathomable about the Nebraskan Great Plains and the people living around it. For most, it is a long, monotonous ride through corn fields and ranch lands, but not everyone’s a poet. Off the Interstate 80 corridor, the Cornhusker State is amiable, charming and exceptional in its own way.
The next time you’re driving across Platte River valley, turn your adventurous side on and get off the beaten track – Nebraska will welcome you with arms wide open.
Here are our dos and don’ts for amateur visitors to consider; once you return, we will be glad to say “we’ve told you so”.
Learn More about Nebraskan History
When in a country for the first time, always start your tour by learning about its roots. Head to The Archway, the museum honouring the legacy of travellers along the Platte River Road, and continue on to the Homestead National Monument of America to learn more about the Homestead Act and the pioneers. For history buffs, the Fossil Beds State Historical Park is a definite must-see, while the Fort Robinson State Park promises both adventure and excitement.
Capture the Wild Beauty
While in Omaha, pay a visit to the Henry Doorly Zoo, but don’t stop acquainting with the country’s wildlife there. If in Nebraska in spring, unpack your wildlife photo lenses for professional photo editing and capture sandhill cranes as they throw quite a spectacle over the Platte River, or visit bears, muskrats and beavers while they cosily dream in the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge.
With Nebraska National Forest being the largest American forest planted by hand, it’s no wonder Nebraskans are such a devoted tree huggers. In addition to joining them in such an unusual habit, take some time to feed the raccoons.
Get Whimsical, Statewide
Now, when it comes to adventurous and whimsical, Nebraska is an absolute winner. In Alliance, there’s a reproduction of Stonehenge made entirely out of old cars and appropriately named Carhenge. Lincoln houses Johnson Museum of the Odd, Boys Town takes pride in the world’s largest ball of stamps, while Monowi is the smallest American town governed by a bartender.
And yes, Nebraska is where the Chimney Rock is, so don’t forget to visit this curious creation of nature while on the spot.
Don’t Avoid Strangers
It’s the Midwestern way, to greet everyone with a smile, and no one does it better than a Nebraskan. Don’t get confused by their friendly demeanour, but enjoy the kindness of strangers instead. Most of them will have no problem talking to you in the middle of the street for hours at a time and invite you for a Husker’s game as a family guest. Always except, since that kind of warm-heartedness is hard to find anywhere else.
Don’t Refuse a Runza
Apart from being humble and down to earth, Nebraskans are a brilliant munching company as well. Stacked with delicious steak meat, the traditional menu offers a couple of indigenous sorts of fare and beverages as well.
Order as much cinnamon rolls and chilli as you can eat, water them down with Nebraskans’ favourite red beer. Be well prepared to devour a couple of hot dogs for desert and never, and I mean never, refuse a Runza.
Don’t Get Surprised by Its Comeliness
Quite surprisingly, the Cornhusker State is a country of lovely contradictions, which means plenty of Nebraskan fun facts for all. It’s a country of simple beauty and magnificent skylines, but also a homeland of the talented, brave and kind.
Marlon Brando was born here, so was Johnny Carson and Fred Astaire. If into soulful and alternative, you’ll find almost all Saddle Creek musicians here, including Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst. Share a corn lemonade or a corn ice-cream with the first stranger to raise you a finger from the steering wheel (it means hey, before you ask), and enjoy the spontaneity while it lasts.
And never, ever be surprised by how much fun you’re actually having.