Nebraska Road Trips

By Tim and Lisa Trudell

Nebraska is an amazing state, founded in 1867. “The Cornhusker State” is home to roughly 1.9 million people.  

Many people view Nebraska as a flat state with little to offer visitors. If you drive through the state along Interstate 80, it might seem that way—nothing but cornfields and cow pastures. But the view from that particular stretch of asphalt doesn’t even begin to tell the full story. Nebraska is home to nine scenic byways and highways that beckon you to get off the interstate and travel the backroads—over rolling hills, deep gorges, amazing river valleys, and something you’ll find nowhere else in the United States—the Sandhills of central Nebraska. Formed as part of a prehistoric sea, the Sandhills echo those ancient the plesiosaurus to a half bear/half bison, the prehistoric side of Nebraska has some stories to tell.  

The state has been home to several Native American tribes, who roamed the state, as well as set up permanent communities along the major rivers and creeks. From the Ponca in the north to the Otoe in the south, Indigenous people called Nebraska—which the Omaha tribe called Flat Water—home long before European settlers traveled cross country along the Mormon, California, and Oregon Trails. Key Nebraska landmarks—including Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff—played a role as nineteenth-century GPS apps for the pioneers on their westward adventures. Today, those monuments stand as reminders of the state’s past as a key player in the country’s westward expansion.  

Each of Nebraska’s scenic highways and byways has a story to tell. From the days of Jesse James and other outlaws using the state’s northern border as hideouts, to the Lewis and Clark expedition exploring the Missouri River en route to their destination where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean in Oregon, Nebraska’s byways have their compelling tales, told by attractions, unique shops, and restaurants preparing delicious food.

Nebraska Road Trips Map

Nebraska Road Trips

  1. Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway
  2. Lincoln Highway Historical Scenic Byway
  3. Heritage Highway 136
  4. Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway

Nebraska Websites

Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway  

  • Old Market, 
  • Tannenbaum Christmas Shop, 
  • Old Market Sundries Shop, 
  • Hollywood Candy, 
  • M’s Pub, 
  • Le Bouillon, 
  • Trini’s, 
  • V. Mertz, 
  • Omaha Prime, 
  • Durham Museum, 
  • The Riverfront, 
  • River City Star, 
  • Magnolia Hotel Omaha, 
  • Fort Atkinson, 
  • Black Elk Neihardt Park, 
  • Master’s Hand, 
  • Chatter Box, 
  • Burt County Museum, 
  • Swedish Heritage Center, 
  • Neihardt Center, 
  • Decatur Museum, 
  • Omaha Tribe, 
  • Winnebago Tribe, 
  • Angel DeCora Memorial Museum and Research Center, 
  • Siouxland’s Freedom Park, 
  • The Koffie Knechtion, 
  • Kottage Knechtion, 

Lincoln Highway 

  • Lincoln Highway Nebraska Byway, 
  • DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, 
  • Fremont, 
  • Milady CoffeeHouse, 
  • Five-0-Five Brewing,  
  • Columbus, NE, 
  • Andrew Higgins Memorial, 
  • Glurs Tavern, 
  • Dusters Restaurant, 
  • Dorothy Lynch, 
  • Grand Island, 
  • Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, 
  • Railside, 
  • The Chocolate Bar, 
  • Sin City Grill, 
  • Wave Pizza, 
  • Nebraska State Fair, 
  • Crane Trust, 
  • Kearney, 
  • The Archway, 
  • Classic Car Collection, 
  • Museum of Nebraska Art, 
  • Rowe Sanctuary,  
  • Fort Kearny State Historical Park, 
  • North Platte, 
  • Buffalo Bill Ranch, 
  • Cody Park, 
  • Fort Cody Trading Post, 
  • Lincoln County Historical Museum, 
  • 20th Century Veterans Memorial, 
  • Fort McPherson National Cemetery, 
  • Grain Bin Antique Town, 
  • Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse, and Lounge, 
  • Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area, 
  • Ogallala Front Street, Front Street Steakhouse and Cyrstal Palace Saloon, 
  • Sidney, 
  • Fort Sidney Museum, 

Heritage Highway 136 

  • Brownville, 
  • Whiskey Run Creek Winery and Distillery, 
  • Peru State College, 
  • Homestead National Historical Park, 
  • Gage County Historical Society and Museum, 
  • World’s Largest Porch Swing, 
  • Red Cloud, 
  • The National Willa Cather Center, 
  • Harlan County Reservoir, 

Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway 

  • Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway, 
  • Jackson Windmills, 
  • Ponca State Park,  
  • Ionia Volcano, 
  • Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, 
  • The Historical Argo Hotel, 
  • Ohiya Casino, 
  • Santee Dakota, 
  • Niobrara State Park, 
  • Niobrara Historical Society Museum,  
  • Sportsmen’s Bar and Grill, 
  • Country Cafe, 
  • Niobrara Trading Post,  
  • Ponca Tribe, 
  • Monowi Tavern, 
  • Valentine, 
  • Smith Falls,  
  • Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, 
  • Young’s Western Wear, 
  • The Plains Trading Company Booksellers, 
  • Bunkhouse Restaurant and Saloon, 
  • Peppermill Restaurant,