15 Day Trips From Omaha

Omaha is Nebraska’s largest city and is located on the Missouri River border with Iowa. There are many day trips that you can take from Omaha where you can see nature, history, and cultural experiences.

Explore cities like Lincoln, Des Moines, and St. Joseph or explore the many museums and zoos that the state has to offer.

Let us explore some of the best day trips from Omaha which you can take with your friends and family.

Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln

Nebraska’s capital city of Lincoln is nestled between two portions of the Lincoln Edge and offers several attractions that are friendly. Located just ten minutes away there are plenty of family attractions and history to explore.

Start by visiting the capitol building built between 1922 and 1932. You can learn interesting facts here like how Nebraska became home to the only unicameral in the United States.

Also check out the historic Haymarket District and Railroad Entertainment District for shopping, dining, and nightlife. 

History buffs can explore plenty of museums like Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed and the International Quilting Museum. There are several art galleries as well which art aficionados can explore like Sheldon Museum of Art and the Great Plains Art Museum.

Distance: 10 minutes

Ideal for: History buffs

Nebraska City, Nebraska

Nebraska City

Nebraska City is located an hour south of Omaha and is home to several of the state’s historical attractions. It is also home to the founder of Arbour Day,  J. Sterling Morton.

You can check out his home which is a 52 room mansion furnished with authentic period artifacts. There are many unique features in this house including a bowling alley.

Also visit the Arbour Day Farm which is a 260-acre campus that includes the park, which also has Discovery Ride, Tree Adventure, and Apple House Market. The farm grows several types of apples and is a popular attraction in the fall.

Distance: 1 hour

Ideal for: History buffs

Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines

The Iowa state capital of Des Moines is midwest’s fastest-growing metro area and offers a variety of things to do from nightlife to dining and sports.

Visit the unique Pappajohn Sculpture Park several unique pieces of art, including one that showcases a color prism as the sunlight sparkles off the piece. There are many Annual Fairs as well which include the legendary Iowa State Fair, held every summer since 1854.

Other festivals include the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in March, Drake Relays in April, and many track field events as well.

If you have a family, visit the Blank Park Zoo. Though it is smaller than Omaha Zoo, the Blank Park Zoo offers interesting experiences, including a sea lion demonstration. There is a water play area invites children to come and play.

Distance: 2 hours

Ideal for: Art lovers

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City

Kansas is located 164 miles from Omaha and is the third-largest city in the state. This is a large metropolitan area offering a variety of neighborhoods and things to do. 

If you are interested in the history of this city, then this is a beautiful city to visit. Visit the neighborhood of  18th and Vine for some of the best jazz clubs. 

There are some great museums in the neighborhood like the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum

Distance: 2 hours and 44 minutes

Ideal for: History and jazz lovers

Lauritzen Gardens, Nebraska

Lauritzen Gardens

Lauritzen Gardens is Omaha’s botanical center and offers natural beauty. For anyone with interest in floral displays, this place makes for an excellent day trip to Omaha.

The gardens were founded in 1982, and its construction started in 1995. Located just a short drive away from Omaha, these gardens are the perfect place to rediscover nature.

This living museum has four seasons of plantings and is home to a 32,000 square foot educational and visitor center. The gardens are also home to an education center, a spring-flowering walk, a parking garden, and a sanctuary for birds.

Distance: 5 minutes

Ideal for: Nature lovers

Platte River State Park, Nebraska

platte river

Located between Omaha and Lincoln, Platte River State Park, it covers an area of 210 hectares. The park’s main draw is the luxurious vintage cabins and there is plenty to do on a day trip.

The state park boasts of an observatory, a shooting range, a swimming pool, an amphitheater, and many hiking trails. Visit the Crawdad Creek which will be fun for children as they will find interactive displays that encourage them to explore the water for tiny creatures. 

Distance: 2 hours and 9 minutes

Ideal for: Nature lovers

Ponca State Park, Nebraska

Ponca

Located on the picturesque stretch of the Missouri National Recreational River, Ponca State Park is one of the most visited parks in Nebraska and is just two hours away from Omaha. 

This park is known for its wildlife watching, scenic views, and wooded hills. Bird-watching is an extremely popular activity in this State Park. The park’s wetlands are an important resting grounds for migrating birds.

There are over 22 miles of backcountry hiking and cycling trails that outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of. If you visit in summer, then swimming is also available in the aquatic center.

You can also do a picnic here at the Historic shelter houses built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Distance: 1 hour and 51 minutes

Ideal for: Nature lovers

Willow Lake, Nebraska

Willow Lake

Willow Lake Creation Area is a 220-acre outdoor recreationists’ paradise and is located about one hour away from Omaha. The park also includes a Nature Encounter Centre where visitors can view live snakes and turtles as they learn about the area’s natural history.

The lake has a beautiful recreational area as well which is a 700-acre land managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

If you have kids, then they will have a fantastic time at Willow Lake. Indulge in wildlife viewing, birdwatching, fishing, and much more.

Distance: 14 minutes

Ideal for: Nature lovers

Columbus, Nebraska

Columbus

Columbus is where the history of the west originates as it was once the main outfitting headquarters for pioneers between 1860 and the 1870s.

Visit the Platte County Museum which does a great job of preserving the city’s heritage. Tourists here travel can explore history as they visit the museum.

Distance: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Ideal for: History buffs 

Minden, Nebraska

Minden

Minden grew around the 1870s when it became the site of the county courthouse. After that, railroads came to this town and it grew.

Minden makes for a great day trip from Omaha. Today this town is nicknamed the Christmas City for their lighting of the courthouse. 

Visit the Audubon Centre to watch the world’s largest sandhill crane migration.

Distance: 33 minutes

Ideal for: Fun getaway

Lee Simmons Wildlife Safari and Conservation Park, Nebraska

Lee Simmons

Lee Simmons Wildlife Safari and Conservation Park is a four-mile-long safari-style drive through a 440- acre wildlife habitat. Visitors can get up close and personal to animals from the safety of their car.

You can see white-tailed deer, bison, elk, and pronghorn antelope. There is a Prairie Dog Town as well which lies outside of the visitor center.

Visit the 10-acre Pelican Habitat which is home to rehabilitated American white pelicans that cannot be released into the wild.

Distance: 31 minutes

Ideal for: Wildlife lovers

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Council Bluffs

Located in Iowa, east of the Missouri River, Council Bluffs makes for a great day trip from Omaha. Visit the River Edge’s Park which includes a pedestrian bridge over the river, splash pad, sand area, 5-acre lawn, public art and so much more.

History and museum buffs can head to Union Pacific Railroad Museum, the RailsWest Railroad Museum, or the Historic General Dodge House.

There are lots of outdoor activities which you can do as well at Western Historic Trails Center, Lake Manawa State Park.

Distance: 10 minutes

Ideal for: quick getaway

Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge, Nebraska

Bob Kerry

The 910-meter long bridge was opened on 28th September 2008, and it is the only footbridge that connects two states. The Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge is named after a former Nebraska Senator who secured $18 million of federal funding for the bridge back in 2000. 

Take a stroll on the bridge and enjoy the skyline. 

Distance: 5 minutes

Ideal for: Scenic Getaway

Freedom Park Navy Museum, Nebraska

Freedom Park

This museum is an outdoor one which is located on the banks of the Missouri River, at the Greater Omaha Marina. Some of the items that visitors can see are a host of historical military aircraft and artillery pieces, lots of rocket launchers, and jets. 

Distance: 5 minutes

Ideal for: Museum lovers

Mormon Trail Centre, Nebraska

Mormon Trail Centre

Located at Historic Winter Quarters, Mormon Trail Centre is a museum dedicated to the history of the 90,000 Mormon pioneers. There are many permanent displays here which include interactive exhibits, a covered wagon, a handcart, and a full-sized log cabin. 

Distance: 13 minutes

Ideal for: History lovers

Conclusion

There are many interesting day trips that you can take from Omaha which will keep you entertained. From the lovely city of Nebraska to Willow Lake there are lots to see. 

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